Dreamweaver or Frontpage: which do you prefer?

I’m going to buy one or the other. I’ve used Frontpage (older versions) quite a bit so I like the familiarity aspect, but I’ve heard Dreamweaver is better. (These are the only two choices as I can buy one of these titles at a severely discounted price through work.)

If you’ve used both and have a strong preference, I’d love to hear why you prefer one over the other.

Dreamweaver, but you really ought to learn to code with a text editor like homesite. :slight_smile: Frontpage was crap when I used it. I hear dreamweaver is great but I found the degree of handholding annoying. Still, many professionals use Dreamweaver; pretty much only hacks use Frontpage.

I’ve only used Frontpage, and I say YUK. That’s because I know better, but have not had the time, facilities, nor anything else, to learn to do anything different. What little knowledge I have had was devoted to making sure Frontpage didn’t screw things up.

I’m a professional who uses Dreamweaver. It’s the only way to go. Frontpage is garbage (and isn’t it free, anyway?)

no comparison. DW.

Dreamweaver is immensely better than Frontpage. But if you don’t want to shell out the bucks, agree that Homesite (which is more than just a text editor) is quite good.

Another vote for Dreamweaver, from someone who started with Notepad and a book on HTML back in the day. :slight_smile: DW comes with a text editor for getting up close and personal with the source text, when you need to do that.

I’ve dealt with FrontPage, and FrontPage tends to hide important details, like where it puts your files and how it names them and whether it’s resizing your images, in the effort to make things ‘easy’. It also by default makes pages that use Microsoft-proprietary features of Internet Explorer… which means that you have to do extra work to ensure that your pages are standards-compliant and accessible to everyone.

The worst thing about FP is that it doesn’t even play that well with other Microsoft products. I have the unique experience of helping someone with a website that was created in Microsoft Publisher. FP cannot effectively edit and update this site; the owner essentially has to regenerate it from Publisher whenever he needs to shange it. I’m trying to convince him to try NVU (a free open-source editing environment which is a distant relative of Netscape Composer).

In defence of Frontpage, it can be compliant - my main site is entirely FP, and runs perfectly well in Lynx, along with everything else.

Yes, it can be. But as far as I know, that’s not the default way of using the tool.

I hope I’m wrong about that… my own detailed experience with FP was about three years ago now.

Hands down Dreamweaver, because it is so damn easy to “get under the hood” if something in the HTML breaks.

Another vote for Dreamweaver. As Sunspace says, FrontPage likes to add proprietary code to your pages (or ‘crap code’ as I call it). You can also get a companion product for Dreamweaver called Contribute, which makes it very easy for people without coding experience to update web pages that have already been generated by Dreamweaver. This is nice if you have the need for multiple people to update the same web site.

I like Homesite a lot too, and if I didn’t have Dreamweaver that is what I would use.

As a Microsoft Certified person, I have to come to the defence of FrontPage, by saying that it’s …

… um

… err

… oh, hell, it’s garbage, plain and simple. Dreamweaver’s better. Heck, writing raw HTML in Notepad is better. Opening up your hard drive and trying to produce HMTL by waving tiny magnets over the surface of the disk might be more painful than using FrontPage, but not by much.

Steve “I had a bad experience with FrontPage once” Wright.

I have no problems with FrontPage and do all my web pages with it. The older versions of the program were crude and had problems, but FP2000 and 2003 are simple, easy, filled with features, and can be used to do anything you want. I’ve never seen a need to try anything else.

RC, how do you test your web pages? Do you try a mix of different browsers on different platforms?

We recently got Dreamweaver at work (shameless plug: if you work in a nonprofit and you’re not familiar with www.techsoup.org, you desperately need to check them out! Otherwise you’re vastly overpaying for software). I like it because:

  1. It seems to have lots of fantastic features; and
  2. WHen, as happens most of the time, I can’t figure out how to use the fantastic features, I can do the raw HTML coding just like I learned to do back in 1995.

One of these days I need to learn to use Dreamweaver, instead of just treating it like a glorified Notepad.


The main problem with FP is it makes just plain gruesome code. Huge code. Tangled code. Way Oversized Code. And, the webserver has to have what are called Front Page Extensions for the page to work. There’s some interplay between the FP code and the webserver to assemble everything. Page elements - menus and buttons - are notably dependent on this - the server handles overlaying text “on the fly” over a button image. Without the server extensions, a page will look like it was dropped onto concrete from a considerable distance.

Happily, FP’s code is so predictably strange that DW has plugins that will suck in the spaghetti and output reasonable html.

Yes. And when something goes wrong (as it inevitably does) you have to wade through all that junk to figure out what the problem is.