Dreamweaver vs FrontPage
There are two major WYSIWYG(What You See Is What You Get) editors available for beginners. These are: Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver. So the question is which one is better?
This article is not intended to humiliate Dreamweaver or FrontPage editors. I just attempted to analyze both programs from different points, based on Internet research, experience of other users and my years of html coding experience.
To say honest I am not the fan both of them. In our production we regularly use AceHtmlPro but the fact is that many of our customers DO use either FrontPage or Dreamweaver and that’s the reason our employee have to be familiar with both. Writing the article I have talked to our stuff and did some research about both editors and I came up with the facts I’d like to share with you.
Pluses and minuses of MS FrontPage:
1. FrontPage as all Microsoft product has so many templates and ready to use solutions that you cannot admit it is easier for beginner to start using FrontPage to build his first website. You can create simple website personal or business with several clicks and all you will need to do next is to enter your text and pictures instead of used by FrontPage by default.
2. The good news is FrontPage html pages look exactly as they appear in MS Explorer and the bad news is that they look perfect ONLY in MS Explorer. However you may program FrontPage to get rid of nasty tags but I believe it requires some hand coding to adjust pages to Netscape or Opera. Another good news for FrontPage users: about 93% of all internet clients use MS Explorer 5 and higher.
3. As Microsoft application FrontPage is better with ASP pages, which are standard for Windows based hosting and windows based programming.
4. MS FrontPage perfectly interacts with other MS Office products. For example you can easily cut and paste some chart from MS Excel into FrontPage working area.
5. By default MS FrontPage uses table with the fixed width and sometimes it can be a problem to make it display tables with percentage width.
Pluses and minuses of Macromedia Dreamweaver:
1. You can build your own templates and use them to edit hundreds of pages of your website with one single click. Although Dreamweaver adds some comment tags to html file to distinguish editable and non-editable areas and I read in one forum that people experience some troubles applying template to more then 700 pages as they ran out of memory but I had never chance to test that.
2. Pages done with Dreamweaver usually have less trash in coding. They look almost perfect with Netscape, Opera and MS Explorer.
3. Dreamweaver doing amazing thing with SSI files and other server side include technology. Php code looks much nicer however with ASP scripts FrontPage still better.
4. Dreamweaver is much better interacts with other macromedia products.
5. Both editors in most cases display CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) correctly. But if you enter style attribute twice in Dreamweaver for it will definitely ruin your page and you will be able preview your page partly before this error. FrontPage however handles such mistakes easily.
There are many others pluses and minuses in both editors if I wrote about al of them I should probably start a book rather then single article, but those I have mention I heard most about.
My idea is that MS FrontPage is ideal for beginners as it provides so much help and templates, then you should move to Dreamweaver when you feel yourself more comfortable with the html code and finally, if you are serious about web design, you should reach the hand coding level as it still best way for coding pages. It gives you the freedom of using tags and styles, as you want them to use. Do not forget however validate you hand coding, or code generated with FrontPage or Dreamweaver. You will be surprised if you knew how many errors produced during coding starting from broken links to invalid tag attributes.