The best web development app for designer types?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by wmmk, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. wmmk macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    The Library.
    #1
    Hello all!
    I'm doing a website for a family friend at the moment, and have finally finished doing some mockups that the client and I agree are simple, elegant, and expressive of her business. Now I have to make the website.
    Although I know some basic html, I feel like I should be doing something WYSIWYG (I'm sure pros would frown on this, but I'm 13 and getting paid only a few more dollars an hour than minimum wage).
    I don't feel like an iWeb type program will be allow enough creative control or make it at all easy to incorporate a web store with a design that fits with the site's static pages. At the same time, a Dreamweaver type app seems like it may be overkill. Then again, knowledge of 'real' webdesign programs could be valuable down the road.

    To be completely honest, I am freaking out just a bit over the fact that I'm not so sure I can execute this as well as I want to. My client really can't afford anyone much better than me right now, so I'd feel bad dropping the job. I just need to get my mockup into a nice html site.

    Thanks for any suggestions,
    wmmk
     
  2. timmillwood macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2006
    #2
    I remember being like this at your age and i am still like it now.

    I would use Dreamweaver, it gives you the code and WYSIWYG option and can sometimes help.
     
  3. Benjamin macrumors 6502a

    Benjamin

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    Location:
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    #3
    RapidWeaver perhaps? If you need help execute a particular thing you can always come here and ask for advise/help on it.
     
  4. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #4
    Thanks.:) I guess I'd better think about whether or not I'll actually do enough webdesign in the next few years to justify purchasing CS3 now. Based on what a rough projection of what I'll make this job, I could still make a 40%-50% profit (because I can get CS3 for edu prices).
    Hmmm...
    Could I make my own templates with RapidWeaver or even just design as I go, or it it a program where you can only use built in templates?

    Anyways, I think I'll attach a jpeg of a mockup I did. Another thing that just crossed my mind is flash, which I actually know fairly well.

    As a matter of fact, any comments on the design would be good as well.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. epochblue macrumors 68000

    epochblue

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    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #5
    I know you said you FEEL like you should be doing something like WYSIWYG, but please take my advice and use an editor like Smultron (free) or TextMate ($60).

    Not only will you have more control over the structure of the code, but you'll actually learn what you're doing if you have to do it by hand. WYSIWIG is all well and good, but ultimately you won't learn anything you can't learn by using Word to make your webpage.

    It will probably take you longer, and it will no doubt be frustrating at times (which is where we can help you), but you'll likely learn a useful skill that might one day make you gobs of money.

    Please do it by hand. Please please please.
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    toronto
    #6
    in the s/w development world, i've always found prototyping to be more useful than designing too much "on paper" and having to then implement.

    i find the same thing w/ websites (complete amateur here, btw, for that) -- when i have something to show to someone, it's already a website, at least partially working. that may be something to consider for your next project.
     
  7. Benjamin macrumors 6502a

    Benjamin

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    #7
    That I don't know cause I personally hand code with textmate, but I think that's the idea with RapidWeaver.

    Personally seeing the design now, you should do it by hand, it looks simple enough. Of course that depends on the things you are going to do with the site, but to me it doesn't look overly complicated. Honestly layout is alright, but the colors need to be rethought.
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    wmmk -- are you a programmer at all? or can you integrate software? i'm wondering how you plan to implement the gallery and shopping cart.
     
  9. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #9
    For the shopping cart, we'll probably be using ZenCart or something similar. We'll also have a 'contact sheet' type page with small images of each product (she does jewelry) linking to individual pages with descriptions and other content. I'll presumably do the 'gallery' myself. I hope it doesn't end up being too intricate!

    Also, does anyone think GoLive may suit my needs? I could get it for only $80 with my student discount.
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    maybe you're already thinking about this, but be sure to plan for updates. ideally, you want your client to be able to add/delete/edit products in a simple way w/o your help.

    also, with zen cart, it currently implies there'll be double entry for a single product (once for the cart, once for the gallery). start thinking about ways to avoid such double-maintenance. maybe you don't actually need both?
     
  11. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    Illinois
    #11
    Dreamweaver CS3 (Intel!!!) just came out along with he rest of CS3 and it looks awesome.
     
  12. wmmk thread starter macrumors 68020

    wmmk

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    #12
    Ah, all right. I think you any I may have had slightly different connotations of 'gallery.' I thought you meant something displaying the client's work that may not currently be for sale. Then again, I could just do everything like that, then have a paypal link at bottom of each page. Then again, that may come across as unprofessional...
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #13
    what's the gallery for? i was just going by the link in the mockup. i assumed it displayed items for sale (which zencart would also do).
     
  14. tominated macrumors 68000

    tominated

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    Location:
    Queensland, Australia
    #14
    get sitegrinder. it is an awesome photoshop plugin that instead of using tables , it makes it a css layout and the text it proper web text. I highly recommend it.
     
  15. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

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    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #15
    I get the whole "sanctity of code" thing, but frankly as a web designer and developer, I simply don't have the time to code by hand. It's very time prohibitive. IMHO, the "best" way to develop is to use a good WYSIWYG and then spend some time in the code view modifying and cleaning up your code. Less time, good code, and ability to immediately test for production.

    Coding completely by hand is not the only way to learn code. When I first started 11 years ago, it was because of the poor execution of WYSIWYG editors that I was able to learn coding - anyone remember FrontPage 95? Blech.

    Luckily, these editors have come a long way since then. Dreamweaver CS3 seems very promising as well, with built in mobile device designing, CSS validation, and more. Microsoft Expressions is showing great potential, and is free. And of course, Visual Studio 2005 has made great headway in becoming a viable web development program that's increasingly easier to use.
     
  16. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

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    #16
    Yeah, Dreamweaver CS3 is really going to make it hard to argue the benefits of hand coding everything religiously.
     
  17. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

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    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #17
    Code:
    <html>
    
    <head>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us">
    <meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 5.0">
    <meta name="ProgId" content="FrontPage.Editor.Document">
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">
    <title>Coming soon</title>
    </head>
    
    <body text="#333333" bgcolor="#000000">
    
    
    <p align="center"> </p>
    <p align="center"> </p>
    <p align="center"> </p>
    <p align="center"> </p>
    <p align="center"> </p>
    <p align="center"> </p>
    <p align="center"> </p>
    <p align="center"><img border="0" src="comingsoon.jpg" width="75" height="16"></p>
    </body>
    
    </html>
    
    Considering the code on your coming soon page (which I assume was generated by a WYSIWYG editor), you aren't making a very good argument for yourself. And don't bother saying, "it's just a coming soon page". I spent maybe 3 minutes max coding mine in a text editor (radiantmark.com).

    Code:
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
    	"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
    <html>
    	<head>
    		<meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
    		<title>evolution</title>
    		<style type="text/css" media="screen">
    			html, body{
    				margin: 0;
    				padding: 0;
    			}
    			h1{
    				background: #f4f4f4 url(/splash/img/evolve.gif) no-repeat 20% 0;
    				height: 43px;
    				text-indent: -5000px;
    				margin: 200px 0 0 0;
    				padding: 0;
    			}
    		</style>
    	</head>
    	<body>
    		<h1>radiantmark is evolving</h1>
    	</body>
    </html>
    
    You probably spent more time clicking your mouse through the WYSIWYG editor than I did writing by hand (with the help of snippets) and the output of your code is a mess.

    And for the record, this has nothing to do with which coming soon page is better, it's about disproving your point that WYSIWYG editors are the best way to go. :)
     
  18. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

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    #18
    I highly doubt it. :cool: I'm sure CS3 will be a huge improvement and great for lots of people, but I guarantee you a textmate power user will be able to get work done much more efficient than in dreamweaver.
     
  19. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

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    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #19
    You went through a lot of trouble for a moot point.

    That was created 6 years ago. I haven't touched FrontPage in over 5 years.
     
  20. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

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    Mar 11, 2007
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    Austin, TX
    #20
    In all fairness, this really depends on the scope of the project. If you're building a simple site with only a couple of pages, then yes, a person who constantly codes in a text editor may be able to spit out the code faster. But, if you're building a true web site, with dynamic elements, I seriously doubt the time is even comparable.

    This is the equivalent of saying you could hash out an e-mail quicker by using Telnet and creating the e-mail line by line vs. using a mail client.
     
  21. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

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    #21
    Have you used a modern day text editor with key-command snippets and tab triggers? Have you seen all of what textmate is capable of doing? If you did, you would see my point when I say it's faster.
     
  22. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

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    Mar 11, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #22
    I really don't intend to go back and forth on this, it is of course a matter of opinion, and would be pretty hard to prove without some considerable time and a test subject who was extremely familiar with both methods. But I do have to ask, what kind of sites are you doing? Are you building for large corporations, or mom and pop stores? Are you doing database design and implementation, or using prewritten scripts interacting with a mysql server? To what scale are the sites you're working on dynamic? How much do you turn over to the client to use once you're done building the initial site, or are you primarily doing updates yourself?

    Not to ask 20 questions, it's just that I can only think of a very few instances where a text editor (even one with some bells and whistles as you outlined above) would be faster and more efficient.

    Cheers.
     
  23. tominated macrumors 68000

    tominated

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  24. radiantm3 macrumors 65816

    radiantm3

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    #24
    I've done small and large scale sites. I've worked with .asp, asp.net, java, php, and now ruby on rails. I used dreamweaver for about 4-5 years before I switched to using text editors. Right now I work for a company that has a HUGE website. All of our developers are using either textmate or vi from the command line (although most of them have switched to textmate after seeing how powerful it is). I used to be in the "WYSIWYG editors are more efficient" crowd until I gained more and more experience.

    I don't hand code to be cool. I do it because I'm faster with it, I understand html and css so much better because of it, debugging is so much easier (because I wrote the code myself), and it's a much more rewarding experience for me.

    WYSIWYG editors are great for people who want to make websites, but aren't really serious about it as a profession. If you tried to apply for a job at my work and said you build sites with a WYSIWYG editor, you absolutely would not get hired. And if I ever run my own company someday, I will not even think about hiring a web designer who doesn't write his own html and css.
     
  25. RojoLeo macrumors 6502

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    Austin, TX
    #25
    Maybe it's a geographical thing, but I just don't see this as indicative of the industry. I've dealt with a lot of a design studios and development companies, and there's generally only a small handful that code by hand, and usually that's (as you indeed put it) to "be cool."

    I have to strongly disagree with your statement that WYSIWYGs are only for people who "aren't really serious about it as a profession." As a developer, I understand it's most important to use what you personally are most efficient with, assuming the end result is clean code. As a designer, I understand it's most important to have your client-approved design look as close to the spec as possible. And as a manager, I understand that it's most important to hire people based on their end results, not their means of getting there.

    This debate will always rage on, but I'll never avoid hiring someone because of the tools they use or don't use. As long as they're proficient in what they do, and can satisfy my and my clients' requests, they'll be considered.

    Furthermore, I think you need to be careful of your terminology. There is a distinct different between webdesigner and web developer, and I would hope that you wouldn't be making hiring decisions for a designer position based on the qualifications for another job. :p
     

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