What is Dreamweaver?
I began my technical career in an environment where every website task was done in code. If you wanted to switch out a paragraph of text, or correct a misspelling, you had to open the code, read the code, find where the text was in the code and make the change. Dreamweaver was an amazing tool because you could open the page and not see the code if your task was related to content. Or, you could look at the code, if your task was related to coding.
Dreamweaver could also create the code for you. If you wanted a list, you highlighed text, clicked on the list tool and you had a coded list. It was a great idea, but in reality, sometimes the code was good, and sometimes it wasn’t.
Is Dreamweaver Still in Use?
Many years ago, while teaching a Dreamweaver class, I had a student who wanted to argue with me that FrontPage was better. The point of the class was for students to learn how to use Dreamweaver, not to argue its relative merits, but even at that time, FrontPage was no longer being supported by Microsoft. And, many times, I told my students not to get too comfortable with any one technology, because each of them goes through its cycle from being the new thing, to being the best thing, to being the old thing.
Now, Dreamweaver is the old thing, but I still occasionally find sites that haven’t been rebuilt in a newer technology.
How to Tell if a Site is Built with Dreamweaver
In a recent trip to Portland, I was surprised to find out that the website for the TriMet Max is built in Dreamweaver. This is a static website. The site provided the information I needed, so I have no complaints. But, it was a surprise, and a good lesson that the tool used for development is less important than the planning and design. In my opinion, the choice of tools should be dependent on the needs of staffing and security, not which technology is currently the most cutting edge or popular.
Part of the “staffing” issue is the availability of people to replace the current developer. For quite some time, Dreamweaver was a de facto technology of choice. One of my students even told me that she could not find a web development job because they all required Dreamweaver. At that point, I realized that, additionally, my students needed to understand that at some point, Dreamweaver would go away, along with Dreamweaver, frames, and every other technology in the continuum. But that also means that there are a lot of people out there who learned Dreamweaver. And, that means that, if you have a Dreamweaver site, there is someone who can work on your site. The downside of using this system, is that there is no dashboard for easy content entry.
The way that I could tell the site was built in Dreamweaver was to go to View -> Source in the browser and check out the HTML that comes into the viewer’s computer. The comments that have the pattern <!– InstanceBeginEditable –> are old-style Dreamweaver templates.
<!-- InstanceBeginEditable name="doctitle" --> <title>MAX Light Rail Stations</title> <!-- InstanceEndEditable -->