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  1. #1
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Can hand-coders live together in peace and harmony with Dreamweaver/Frontpage users?

    I'm a hand-coder of web sites. I write or use HTML/XHTML, PHP & MySQL, and (mostly) other people's javascript.

    A designer friend of mine (he comes from a traditional/print design background) wants to knock out a web site using Adobe Page Mill. When he's finished his design bit, he wants to hand the site over to me to 'insert' some dynamic elements (using PHP & MySQL) for a product catalogue, news, etc.

    Hmmm. The first thing I'll do is to rip out all the useless code that PageMill has generated behind the scenes (which he's happily oblivious to) so I can see what the hell's going on with the structure. Next I'll determine all the repeating elements (ie header + footer), and put them in server-side includes. Finally, I'll actually getting around to doing the dynamic stuff.

    Now what we're left with is a much slicker site (in coding terms) than what I inherited from him. But because of SSIs, PHP & MySQL, he's got zero chance if he wants to try to edit/update the site again in PageMill. It doesn't _look_ a whole heap different from the front-end site design he gave me, so he can't appreciate all the work I've done to tidy it up.

    Er, do I have a point. Not really. I'm just having a late night rant. I just sometimes think that GUI web site development packages such as Frontpage and the rest should be banned because they generally seem to laugh in the face of standards (HTML 4, XHTML) and produce dangerously poor code behind the scenes which makes my life hell when I have to work in amongst the debris. I don't think the users of such software really appreciate what us hand-coders have to deal with! Maybe I'm just trying to protect my skills here, but I truly believe that such software is dangerous because novice users fall into the trap of thinking "hey, I can use Frontpage, that must make me a web developer", when in fact professional web development is sooooo much more than that.

    Does anyone else want to have a rant? Go on, you know you want to.
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Re: Can hand-coders live together in peace and harmony with Dreamweaver/Frontpage users?

    Originally posted by spaceman
    Can hand-coders live together in peace and harmony with Dreamweaver/Frontpage users?
    NO
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot Hulkur's Avatar
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    Can I have a bigger letters and a 'bang!' too, please

    Actually they can, as long the subject is not web development
    or both can accept that the "stupid one" thinks differently.
    (2B) or (not 2B) = FF

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Jeremy W.'s Avatar
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    Yes.

    Simple.

    There is no reason not to. It's like Frontpage and Dreamweaver people living together. Or PHP and ASP people living together. The only problem is the interaction, and you seem to have already solved the biggest thing. You know the only thing you're missing is to sit your friend down and let him watch you modify a page. Let him know how much work is involved.

    Don't mock him, don't say "this" is the way to go or anything. In reality there should be little or no need for him to modify the php files once you're done with them (admin panels rock).

    You also shouldn't try and convince him to learn this unless he really wants to. As a print designer it is very hard to make the transition to web.

    Most print guys simply think it's the same, not realising it's a whole other medium. The whole "my brother's 12 year old son can do it, so I can too" is a bit misleading as well. I've spoken to many print folk who are just plained disillusioned (and often depressed) about the web. In essence, go easy on him. He's using a tool that does in fact work, even if you don't like it.
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  5. #5
    What? Maelstrom's Avatar
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    I think they can with some degree of patience. Since you are doing all the work on the code anyway why not do it like a design studio. Get him to do a design or storey board it get the drawings and stuff give them to you to piece it together (you are just wasting time ripping out useless code anyways).

    Or better yet custom make some code for dreamweaver for him to use. That way the code is clean when it gets to you (I don't know if you can do this with php asp etc...but I know it works using javascript.

    Also as for the php/mysql site. I assume you don't work together constantly then. Not sure there. If it is just for content make a gui interface for him to insert content into the db which will then be taken care of by your slick code and displayed correctly.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    I would agree...

    If he's dead set on doing web design without learning how to do web design then tell him his new job is to design...that's it (as long as he keeps the web's restrictions in mind). His job is to design and then turn over a mockup to you in a layered Photoshop document. You will then convert that document to crisp, clean optimized HTML code.
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  7. #7
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    Originally posted by creole
    His job is to design and then turn over a mockup to you in a layered Photoshop document.
    This is my preferred option - don't even let the designer get involved in any part of the code creation.

    On a related topic - a few months ago I nearly lost a client because the site contained php/mysql! Let me explain:

    A new manager came into a small not-for-profit organisation for whom I had previously created a dynamic site (with content management system). In his previous employment, he'd 'looked after' a web site using Frontpage. When we had our first meeting, he was most upset to learn that what I'd done wasn't going to allow him to point Frontpage at the site and make his own changes. I think he genuinely believed I'd somehow 'sabotaged' the site with my fancy coding in order that no-one but me (or someone else with my skill set) could update the site. It took me a whole heap of explaining for him to understand that in fact he could make changes to large areas of the site using the content management tools that I'd provided. And that this resulted in a far superior site (in so many ways) to anything he could do with Frontpage.

    In other words - all the time I spent having to 're-educate' this client was because he'd confused 'knowing how to use Frontpage' with 'being a web developer'.
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  8. #8
    What? Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Except for the 'layout' and usefulness part of the design I think non essential managment should stay out of the picture. But thats just my opinion.
    Maelstrom Personal - Apparition Visions
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Originally posted by spaceman
    In other words - all the time I spent having to 're-educate' this client was because he'd confused 'knowing how to use Frontpage' with 'being a web developer'.
    I have never seen it put so simply.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard Defender1's Avatar
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    If i were you i'd tell him either

    1.) You want dynamic content and will learn how to code the page so you can update it.

    or

    2.) You keep your pagemill design and deal with the fact that it won't be dynamic.
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  11. #11
    No. Phil.Roberts's Avatar
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    MS Frontpage should be destroyed and all its advocates placed in involuntary de-programming sessions.

    Its created a whole generation of folks who think they can call themselves "web designers" or "web developers" despite knowing virtually nothing about the medium they design for, the language they design in or the fact that just because it works in THEIR version of IE running on THEIR computer with THEIR display settings doesnt mean it will look the same for anyone else!!

    -breathe in, breathe out-


    Basically it sucks, kill it!!!!
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  12. #12
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    We'll take that as a "No" then?
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  13. #13
    epsilon transition cupid's Avatar
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    I have a client who uses DreamWeaver 3 to produce his websites while I do the PHP/Mysql backend. It leaves behind pretty clean code (better than golive or frontpage anyway) although useless code is practically inevitable with visual editors. It seems to not tamper with anything between <?php ?> tags.. so I can't complain

  14. #14
    No. Phil.Roberts's Avatar
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    We'll take that as a "No" then?
    Might have to get back to you on that one.


    Dreamweaver produces probably the cleanest code of any WYSIWYG editor and Ultradev is good for quick&dirty PHP stuff but you really are better of learning to code by hand. I actually find using dreamweaver restrictive now, and the code it turns out, although not bad, really doesnt stand up against something produced by a decent hand-coder.

    And if you're into making documents that validate as XHMTL trans or strict you dont have a hope in hell.
    THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW ARE OLD AND MAY BE INACCURATE.
    THIS INSTALL METHOD IS NOT RECOMMENDED, IT MAY RUN
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  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    take a look at dreamweaver, it supports ssi, so he should be able to edit some aspects, just tell him to be carefull of the yellow pins (were there is ss-code php) that it puts on the page

  16. #16
    Digital Warrior Renegade's Avatar
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    Yeah, they can live together, so long as they don't work together.

    I am in that very same situation right now. I am working on the dynamic aspect of a friends web page. He is the designer, and has been doing all of the HTML in DW. Then hands it to me, to insert my PHP :/

    OMG DW writes some horrible code. I have no clue what's going on. For instance:

    Code:
    <td>
      <div align="center">
        <div align="left">
          Text here
        </div>
      </div>
    </td>
    Bleck! Crap like that just makes my job harder. I empathize with having to clean up the DW code, in order to find out what the heck is going on.

    In other words - all the time I spent having to 're-educate' this client was because he'd confused 'knowing how to use Frontpage' with 'being a web developer'.

    That is truely profound. I'm gonna remember that
    --There's my 1.5 cents, now where is my change!?!?

  17. #17
    SitePoint Addict Seer's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Renegade
    Yeah, they can live together, so long as they don't work together.

    I am in that very same situation right now. I am working on the dynamic aspect of a friends web page. He is the designer, and has been doing all of the HTML in DW. Then hands it to me, to insert my PHP :/

    OMG DW writes some horrible code. I have no clue what's going on. For instance:

    Code:
    <td>
      <div align="center">
        <div align="left">
          Text here
        </div>
      </div>
    </td>
    Bleck! Crap like that just makes my job harder. I empathize with having to clean up the DW code, in order to find out what the heck is going on.

    My eyes!! My Eyes!!

    I do just about all my coding by hand, but i'll use Dreamweaver on the table intensive designs or for getting javascript rollovers done quickly. It's a tossup as for saving time though, as I still have to go through and reorganize the code to my liking. One thing I hate most is when I download something from hotscripts and the code it's got pages and pages of indented, wavy code like the above! Forum's are notorious for this...
    Last edited by Seer; Nov 30, 2001 at 13:01.

  18. #18
    What? Maelstrom's Avatar
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    One thing I hate most is when I download something from hotscripts and the code it's got pages and pages of indented, wavy code like the above! Forum's are notorious for this...
    You don't like indentations. I thought that was basically standard. It makes the code easier to read etc...???
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  19. #19
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    OMG DW writes some horrible code. I have no clue what's going o
    Weak excuse. Just run the dreamweaver function for cleaning up html. Make sure to click remove redundant tags. Things like this can happen in the development process, and there are good reasons why from a software standpoint. But cleaning them up in the final copy is very very simple in dreamweaver.

  20. #20
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    i do coding both ways. i started out coding in pure html way back when i first started webpages. i recommend everyone start this way to get used to translating what they see on the screen and how it relates to the underlying code.

    but for site management or tables, i prefer dreamweaver. i spend about equal time in the layout view and the coding view, switching back and forth and tweaking the code.

    and when necessary, i fire up notepad and do things the old fashioned way.

    i'm not an uber-designer and i make mistakes and let things slip by, usually when i can't get some idea to work out right and change the whole idea around but leave some the old code behind. but i don't have a problem with dreamweaver, which has pretty slim code for a WYSIWYG editor.

    it leaves my SSI and PHP stuff alone, the only problem i've had with it is it's determination to define the height and width of every single cell in a table. that's caused me headaches having to go through and clean up, particularly in my download page, which contains a table roughly 7 columns x 40 rows.

    But since i use and am comfortable with both, i'm curious as to which group I belong to.

    I do have one rant, actually. Dreamweaver users should NEVER be lumped into the same category as Frontpage users.

    That's just plain cruel.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Guru nagrom's Avatar
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    Pagemill....NO
    Frontpage....GET MY GUN!!!
    Dreamweaver....hit F10

    If you want to see some REALLY bad code, check out some NetObjects Fusion output, which all the print guys like, because its alot like quark.

    I tell my designer friends PSDs only. Helps me keep my gun-cabinet locked.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Zealot
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    If I'm writing a script for a web page that's been generated with DW I don't even bother with looking at the HTML, I just redo it with hand-coded HTML and make it look identical.

  23. #23
    <C²: web standards /> cybercodeur's Avatar
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    The company I work for has bought many smaller companies over the last year (including the one I come from) and most of these web agencies are using wysiwig editors. Now as a hand coder myself, I was surrounded by DW fans. It took many hours or argumentation to prove my points and I've managed to convince the management that HAND CODING WAS THE WAY TO GO.

    Yeah for me and my team mates.

    What I've found out from the experience is basically that anyone who's into web development, once he understands the issue, agrees that hand coding is far better then automated software. The problem these people are faced with is that their skills rest in the hand of a software package without which they can't do anything.

    In their situation, i'd be scared too.

    However, with time, we've come to show them the ropes and their transition to Homesite and handcoding has been somewhat painless (and sleepless I'm pretty sure). Today, they are all as grateful as they were pissed a while ago.

    Ain't life great?
    Last edited by cybercodeur; Dec 29, 2001 at 22:15.
    Denis Boudreau <C²/> - Web Standards & Accessibility
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  24. #24
    Don't eat yellow snow spaceman's Avatar
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    It took many hours or argumentation to prove my points and I've managed to convince the management that HAND CODING WAS THE WAY TO GO.
    Good work!
    Web Design Perth Melbourne .:. Itomic Business Website Solutions
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  25. #25
    <C²: web standards /> cybercodeur's Avatar
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    Thank you!!!
    Denis Boudreau <C²/> - Web Standards & Accessibility
    [+] ICQ number: 115649885 || Email: denis@cybercodeur.net
    [+] Daily Weblog on Web standards and accessibility : CYBERcodeur.net


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