Dreamweaver, your time could be now

Dreamweaver, your time could be now

Summary: Rather than using WYSIWYG editors to build websites, they could be put to better use as rapid prototyping tools.


I have a confession to make. There was a time in my graphical youth when I quaked at the sight of HTML and CSS. It all looked like computer gibberish code to me. For my first ever website, I used Adobe G-Olive, a one-time competitor to Dreamweaver — affectionately known as Dreamweevil. It had graphics and circles and lots of things wrong with it.

Then I learnt to hand-code, using Allaire HomeSite. Oooh, playing with the big boys I was. And since that day, I eschewed WYSIWYG editing tools such as Dreamweaver with professional aplomb.

However, with some serious wrangling on Adobe's part, that could all change. I will still lovingly hand-craft every piece of CSS that I touch but Dreamweaver could be a tool for rapid prototyping.

In the latest version, it offers a Fluid Grid Layout feature, to enable swift designing for different devices. Along the lines of James Meller's Responsive Wireframes, it could enable Dreamweaver to become a wireframing or prototyping tool of choice.

More than that, if there was decent support for features including box shadow, border radius, and colour gradients, plus support for object-oriented and modular CSS and the CSS preprocessor of your choice, and all that could output clean code, well, Dreamweaver could become a visualising tool of choice. Heck, if they threw in some rudimentary Photoshop editing tools, I'd be at the front of the queue.

As CSS wizard Jonathan Snook said recently:

I was asked once what the next big thing was for CSS and I said tooling. Most tools up until now have missed the mark on allowing for quick prototyping that can easily spill over into quicker production.

He's specifically talking about CSS and the quick Bootstrap prototyping web GUI JetStrap but the same principle could be applied to visual design tools as well: quick prototyping that easily spills into quicker production.

Jetstrap - The Bootstrap Interface Builder
Is Jetstrap a possible contender for visual rapid prototyping? Photo: Jetstrap

Rest assured though, if Adobe doesn't manage it with Dreamweaver, I bet my bottom dollar that there'll be a web-based app doing it sometime very soon.

Topic: Software Development

Jake Rayson

About Jake Rayson

A web designer since the 20th century, I am a pragmatic advocate of Free Software and I use proprietary software when appropriate. I made the full-time switch to Linux back in 2007, and my desktop tools of choice are Linux Mint, Inkscape, GIMP and Sublime Text.

As a Front End Developer, my core skills are HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery, and my working life reflects my commitment to open standards and accessible websites (ie accessible by everyone, regardless of browser, platform, ability or technology).

For web publishing platforms, I use WordPress for ease of use and Drupal for more complex solutions.

I am also learning about Ruby, Rails, Sinatra and CoffeeScript. I like the minimalist Ruby Way. To this end, my personal portfolio website is built with NestaCMS.

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  • Ever Try SketchFlow

    They might want to take note of SketchFlow. It is part of Microsoft's Expression studio but is a very nice tool including user feedback capabilities.

  • Go Live?

    I have never heard of an Adobe product called G-Olive :-P
    • G-Olive? I meant to say Go Live

      Thanks for picking up on the intentional typo ;) I blame Nick Livingstone for popping the meme in my mind.
      Jake Rayson
  • No-One Uses Proprietary Tools For Building Websites Any More

    Look at the huge number of sites using WordPress, Django and other CMSes. That’s the way to throw together a site, using Free software thta doesn’t come from Adobe or any other proprietary company.
    • Yes you can tell ....

      ... by how pathetically rubbish most sites are these days.

      Also there used to be a word for hand coded websites ... If I remember correctly I think the word was crap.
      • The Bile Is Strong In This One

        Ex-Microsoft FrontPage user, by any chance?
    • What about .NET, TextMate, Sublime Text etc?

      @ldo17 for people starting out building a website, I actually do recommend WordPress/Drupal etc. (and @Pastabake, there may be a lot of rubbish websites but not everyone can afford an artisan, hand crafted website!)

      But this isn't to say that there are a whole slew of proprietary tools out there: TextMate, Sublime Text, the whole Microsoft .NET caboodle and plenty of others I'm sure.
      Jake Rayson
      • Re: But this isn't to say that there are a whole slew of proprietary tools

        My point exactly. There aren’t—not any more.