Jan Leow's Press Blog

Dreamweaver web building software or content management system (CMS)?

I’m never a fan of bloated web building software like Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage. Sure they are very easy to use for designing a web page. Very much like using Microsoft Word or Powerpoint, just create a box here and there and add in your content, pictures and whatever you need to create your web page. Where simplicity began is also where your nightmare to do something more complicated began.

For those who don’t know anything much about HTML/CSS coding, then using Dreamweaver and Frontpage seems like a logical choice. Sure it is very easy to layout the webpage by just point and click. That’s ok if your web page is just a simple one without requiring the addition of JavaScript, Flash, Forms or other embedded objects. When you try to insert these bits of codes, that’s where you get into trouble. What’s more when you have several web pages which you want to make them into the same look and feel.

Entering the raw HTML coding, the Dreamweaver way of coding was a total mess. The way it was done to get an object positioned was by way of using tables. A whole lot of them. Mind you, using many tables for positioning and aligning is the hallmark of bad programming skill. Robots being an automaton, Dreamweaver will just happily create any table space to make the aligning work for you. When it came time to insert some code for making forms, I entered into the code editing mode and had to scrutinize very hard to figure out where I should insert the codes. After inserting the code, all the alignment started to run helter-skelter. Which meant more head scratching trying to sort out which part of the HTML code should be eliminated to make the web page work. In addition, Dreamweaver and Frontpage has a bad habit of inserting CSS code for every paragraph of content even though they are of similar style, making the web page full of extra code where none was necessary in the first place. More code meant slower load times when visitors drop by to view your page. Netizens don’t have the patience to wait for a page to load; if it takes too long to load, then it’s au revoir. Though faster bandwidth, this may not be an issue in the future, still it is good to keep your code as compact as possible.

Creating linkage was just as bad, Dreamweaver has a tendency to point back to your own hard disk. If you didn’t check carefully, it seemed like the website worked when it is local in your hard disk, but the link broke after you have uploaded to your website proper because the linkages are still pointing to your local hard disk.

And that’s not all; you have to upload the entire website even after making some small changes to a web page. That’s a total waste of time. If your website is graphic heavy, a 50-100MB website will take several hours to upload.

No, I rather stick back to using CMS software like WordPress, Joomla, Mambo or Drupal, for building a website. I can add articles and content as it comes by, links are created automatically, and I can rest easy after the initial installation and custom configuration of the website template and concentrate on article writing and traffic building. Unlike using web building software, I don’t need to contend with HTML/CSS coding, no need to have intimate knowledge of the coding process. And that’s not all, if I decided to change the look and feel of the website template; I could easily upload another template and switch to it without loss of website navigation and functionality.

Using CMS software initially seems rather confusing, with its various settings, customization, and categorization of content and linkages. Thank goodness, the programmers have been improving the software making the CMS easier to use and with new added functionality as time goes by. More and more website are using content management software in one way or another. With so many CMS software around to choose from, each with its pros and cons, webmaster is spoilt for choice in trying to pick a suitable version for setting up a website. Only way to find out which one is to your taste is to install some of them in your own website and try it out. Having tried out a few CMS, I liked the Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress software as they are very sleek in their design and functionality and of course, being the most popular ones also meant there are many templates and plug-ins available.

By using CMS, I now could easily build a website easily and quickly. So say goodbye to Dreamweaver and Frontpage. If I ever needed to edit a webpage, I’ll use a simpler web building software or perhaps just use NotePad or Wordpad to make a webpage.

1 thought on “Dreamweaver web building software or content management system (CMS)?”

  1. hmmmm…….i understand the situation here……

    my school taught html when i wuz in form 1 and they taught us by using notepad.
    actually, most word processing programs like microsoft word can do html.

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