Why I still use Dreamweaver despite all the cool kids using something else
I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for some time about my web design and development workflow and the tools/software I use. So, this post is part of that and ‘in reply’ to many tweets I see every day (it seems) about other web development tools. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a healthy marketplace of web design and development software, in fact I heartily support a wider choice. This post is not intended to be criticism of other software either. It’s just that I feel that Dreamweaver sometimes gets a bit of a ‘bad press’ or is perceived as not ‘cool’ – when, in my opinion, it’s still a great web development environment.
Just a quick background, I’m mainly a front end developer but I’m a freelancer so I tend to cover a wider skillset as well. I’m Windows-based which may influence my opinion here (there don’t seem to be as many alternative web development tools for Windows as Mac?).
Reasons I like Dreamweaver
Dreamweaver’s multi-task and multi-window approach is the main thing that I really like. I can code something in Code View, check the web page’s Live View, preview the page in a Multiscreen Preview mode (for quick checking of responsive sites), validate my HTML, and see what CSS rules apply to specific elements quickly and easily, without leaving the programme. These things tick all the right boxes for me.
Additionally, Dreamweaver has some great site management tools that make common tasks very easy. Want to update the page layout in a large site? Just edit the master template file (.dwt file) for the site and click “update all pages”. Do you have common HTML patterns on some pages? Just create a Library item1 for that piece of HTML. As soon as you update the item, all pages that use it will be updated. Do you have common code snippets? Just add them to the Snippets panel and insert a snippet where and when you want. Of course, you have to set-up these things in the first place but that’s quick and routine for me now.
1 Yes, I realise that I can do these things in other ways, for example with PHP includes.
I could go on and there are many other things that I like about Dreamweaver. I guess I’ve used it for about 12 years now and it feels very easy and comfortable for me. No, it’s not perfect. It’s expensive and it’s a big piece of software with its Creative Suite partners. However, I’ve yet to find anything that matches it for my web design and development workflow.