Adobe Dreamweaver is still one of the most popular What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get HTML editors available on the commercial market. It can handle virtually any coding language known to web design and/or web development. The problem with Dreamweaver is that the advent of highly-complex content management software that effectively builds the state-of-thee-art website for you while you sit back and watch or deal with more pressing issues.
I am going to be the first to admit that I went out and dropped nearly $1,000 on the Adobe CS3 Suite. I learned that no matter how powerful, functional and easy-to-use graphic design software happens to be, it does not compensate for a complete and total lack or artistic ability. I’m hesitant to even use the word “talent” in that sentence. Even if the context spells out in no uncertain terms that I have no artistic talent (at least in terms of visual arts), the very use of the word talent in the same sentence also containing the word “artistic” has the potential to be misleading.
That out of the way, I don’t know if every company offering Linux hosting has deals like this available, but the company I host all my websites with, GoDotYourself.com, offers free installation of the world’s most popular CMS systems such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Mambo, Pligg and many others with every Linux hosting package. Even the Windows hosting packages have a handful of decent site-builder/content-management software built in.
On a side-note, but still worthy of mention is that GoDotYourself.com is the all-around best hosting company I’ve yet to discover. The prices are unbeatable for all the software and services that come with it. Approximately $7 a month gets you hosting of unlimited domains, free installation of all the CMS software listed above and a whole lot more, and competent, courteous customer service available 24/7/365 on top of everything else! On top of that, you can register domain names at GoDotYourself.com starting at under $10 per year, and unlike a lot of their larger competitors, GoDotYourself does not raise prices except for an amount equal to adjustments within the Consumer Price Index (effectively an effective guage for inflation).
Dreamweaver can still be used to modify individual components of these ready-made, state-of-the-art websites. But if you’re adept at modifying PHP and other highly complex code in addition to HTML and CSS, there really isn’t much need for a see-as-you-go editor because you already know what everything does and exactly what it will look like when completed. This hardly seems to me to be a wise investment of $450 — the approximate cost to buy Dreamweaver new.
The reality is that for just a few dollars every month one can not only host their website, but also have extremely complex web design and content management software installed and setup at no additional charge beyond the cost of the hosting and of course the cost of registering the domain name.
You could use it theoretically for the purpose of checking for errors and mistakes in the code, but is it really worth the cost if that’s the only thing you’re using it for? I suppose the answer to that question depends entirely on the site in question.
I own a copy of Dreamweaver CS3 and in all truth I haven’t used it in about two years, or the approximate length of time that has passed snce the day I first realized that I could create better looking, more elaborate and easier-to-use sites in literally a tiny percentage of the time it used to have to take me to build a site from scratch.
These days when I register a domain name, I typically install WordPress and add a few pages of unique content, some images, and a means of generating revenue from the miniature website. I don’t even turn on the computer Dreamweaver is intalled to anymore except for on rare occasions.
In conclusion, unless you’re a bit of a sadist who really enjoys inflicting punishment upon yourself and toiling away for hours when you could have been done in minutes, my advice would be to hold off on buying Dreamweaver unless you’re planning on designing websites commercially, which would require enough customization built into each site so as to not sell two different clients the same website.
I’m sure a few of the really hardcore web designers and webmasters out there will undoubtedly argue this conclusion. As for me, if the free, auto-installed software creates a better product in minutes than I can create in hours of toiling away, I won’t have any trouble making that decision. To me, that scenario epitomizes the concept of a “no-brainer”.