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  1. #1
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    Ive now spent a good month in learning this HTML and graphics programs...
    Ive yet to really create what i envision in my mind as a good web page. ALL the coding i
    have done on my pages has been from scratch typing into a text editor.
    I try with all my might to keep focused on the nested tables and to be able to control
    them the way i want to.
    I want to be a professional in this field one day so i want to do this right.
    A question continues to roll thru my pounding head after hours at the screen and not a
    heck of alot to show for it on the browser. "Should i be using a WYSIWYG?"
    i feel like using one is sort of cheating, and i know that somewhere along the lines i
    loose some power by using one (though i dont know where). But im getting to the point
    where i feel as though i wont ever create a page to be proud of without one...

    Being that im trying to make a gaming site, i know that i need to be very graphical and
    stunning to have any chance of pulling gamer viewers back for a second or third time.

    can someone put me on the right path here? should i stick to this "From Scratch" path
    im on? or should i bow down and take the easier path of WYSIWYG?

    P.S. can anyone tell me what the heck WYSGWYG means???

  2. #2
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    oh yeah, when im looking at someones source code, is there a way for me to tell if it was done from scratch or thru a wysiwyg???

    and im correct in thinking WYSIWYG is things like frontpage, homesite, dreamweaver etc etc?

  3. #3
    JavaScript Guru (Big Ego) Arielladog's Avatar
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    I usually use a combination of some WYSIWYG editors and notepad. I do about half and half. Get a good WYSIWYG editor (dreamweaver, frontpage, or go live) and just use notepad (or a regular ediotr if you want ... try 1st page 2000, although I hate all of these type of editors). WYSIWYG editors have come a long way. DOn't feel ashamed os using them at all. When used in conjunction with notepad, they are a great asset. Coding by hand, has its advantages...like when an image won't align, or it is just sometimes easier and "funner" (pardon the phrase, but I like designing webpages) sometimes b/c you get a feeling of accolmpishment. Using WYSIWYG editors as a tool to help you, don't be dependant on them, but they are a very, very valuable tool, so use them wisely and efficiently.

  4. #4
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    Hi Jizbot.

    WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get

    As for the debate of WYSIWYG editors verses Text based Authoring Tools, I would lean towards a text based tool if you are only going to have one tool. (Why not try HotDog Professional 6.0?)

    If you are going to be a true professional you will probably use a combination of both.
    This is only because WYSIWYG can do allow you to complete tasks quicker. Our Webmaster has said if you are any good at coding you dont need WYSIWYG.

    This is because no matter how good WYSIWYG editors are, they still do not allow you to have enough control over your code.

    There are always tweaks you will need to make to the code, that WYSIWYG cannot handle.




    ------------------
    Nathan Allan
    Community Development Manager

    Online Marketing Team
    Sausage Software
    http://www.sausage.com



  5. #5
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    i know what you mean about the "Fun" of coding the pages. I am enjoying this greatly (so far). I like the creativness that it gives. And i just know that the better i get with these languages, the more ill enjoy it.

    So if i were to combine the WYSIWYG with a text editor. you suggest that i start the page with the WYSISYG then do the fine tuning with the editor?

  6. #6
    SitePoint Cofounder Mark Harbottle's Avatar
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    Exactly right...

    WYSIWYG Editors are great for getting the layout of your pages done quickly while you are still not sure exactly how you want the pages to look and feel.

    The flip side to this is that WYSIWYG Editors tend to add a lot of HTML code into your page that you really don't need, therefore making them less optomized and much slower.

    The trick is to know when, and how to use both tools...

    I would say, as soon as you're happy with the layout of your pages switch to a Code Editor to clean up the HTML code and extend the page functionality further.

    DreamWeaver and HotDog Professional 6 work well together.

    It's kind of like taking your car to one of those automatic car wash places. They get rid of most of the mess, but for a perfect wash you need do it by hand...

    Probably not the best analogy, but it will do ;-)

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    [This message has been edited by Dax (edited May 11, 2000).]

  7. #7
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    I think using the combination is right but I can't just work that way

    I've got the copy of golive and decided to work the way you're talking about. First chalenge was to find out how to do simple things, that I can code in seconds, in wysiwyg. Than I needed to get rid of some stuff it generated and I don't need. Finally I decided to switch back to text editor and save my time Probably wysiwyg could be a time saver but only after quite lot of time spent on discovering the way to work with it.

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    ArticleCentral.com - The content directory for web professionals.
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  8. #8
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    hey thank you very much for lending me your knowledge. =)

    DreamWeaver and HotDog Professional 6?

    I think dreamweaver is a WYSIWYG, but is hotdog also? or is it a text editor?

    could you clearify "they work well together" please?

  9. #9
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Hi Jizbot,

    I think you're definitely going about things the right way.

    I started out a few years ago doing exactly what you are doing now. In my class at that time (design) most people looked on HTML and coding in general as boring stuff for geeky types.
    ' Give me PhotoShop and I'll let some propellor-head make it into a website'. They tended to use Adobe PageMill (nasty stuff) and scraped by learning the bare minimum to pass. As a consequence none of those people work on the web today.

    In contrast, I thought it was kinda fun to play around with, and not super-difficult either (HTML can only really display and link stuff so there is only so much you can learn). I used a little freeware editor called Arachnophilia (www.arachnoid.com) that lets you generate chunks of code with buttons and macros. I think I learnt 85% of the HTML I know today in that first 5 weeks by just playing around with it.

    On the other hand, I have colleagues (not professional web developers) that have been using FrontPage for more than two years who freely admit they couldn't close a Table Cell to save themselves. People who start with WYSIWYG never get any better.

    My rather 'long winded' point is is this.

    No WYSIWYG editor can read your mind. Only you know what you are really trying to do, but WSYIWYG editors still try to 'second guess' you, and very often get it wrong.

    When you know your code you get to know the troublesome quirks each WYSIWYG has (they are at least consistent) and you learn to work around them.

    Personally, I use DreamWeaver along side HotDog (www.sausage.com). Dreamweaver tends to be good for blocking out the 'big picture', while HotDog usually 'takes the job home slickly'.

    Good luck and stick with the way you are going if you want to finish up as top level web developer.

    Oh, and as someone who has spent some time recently untangling Microsofts little quirks AVOID FRONTPAGE AT ANY COST!!

    It's not worth it.

    [This message has been edited by wluke (edited May 12, 2000).]

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast MAC's Avatar
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    "People who start with WYSIWYG never get any better."
    With no web experience, I started with Front Page and used it for about a year. At first , I thought it was wonderful. Then, the more I learned about HTML, (often from viewing my source code, or other peoples) the more things I wanted to do that Frontpage made difficult or impossible.
    Finally, I got Dreamweaver. The difference between Dreamweaver and Frontpage was incredible. I learned more and more tags and got to the point that I could build a web site without a WYSIWYG editor. I still use Dreamweaver because I like to see what the page will looks like while I am working on it. I also find it much faster then coding by hand, since I change my mind so much. Afterwards, I touch it up with a text editor.

    I think that people who start with a WYSIWYG editor can get better, it all depends on their personal drive for excelence

    BTW: Dreamweaver has a button that loads your page into your favorite HTML editor. You can seamlessly switch back and forth between editors.

  11. #11
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Please watch your Language in the forums.

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    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    wluke@digitalmagician.com

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard westmich's Avatar
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    AlexW-
    FrontPage is hands down the best WYSIWYG program available, period! When you compare price, features, built-in componets, and support, nothing comes close. Any decent WYSIWYG will have a built in HTML editor.

    FrontPage's built-in editor will color code html vs javascript vs comments. It will also point out missing quotation marks or closing brackets. It will automatically update all the hyperlinks should deceide to move pages (very handy when 50 to 500 pages in a web site). I could go on and on, but I won't.

    In addition, I have worked with people who did have the first clue as to how to build a web site and where able to use FrontPage in a minimul amount of time. Nice feature when all you want is a usable web site and not want to learn a second language.

    Jizbot-
    Don't get me wrong; you will still want to learn HTML.

    IMHO,
    Westmich

  13. #13
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    westmich,

    I disagree. I have used FrontPage - there is nothing good about it. Dreamweaver now comes with Allaire Homesite (HS even has a little DW button, so you can switch back and forth easily) and multiple free extensions, I find it quite flexible. Page layout in Photoshop, table layout in DW, coding, cleaning up, scripting in Homesite. Besides, Homesite has support for Cold Fusion which is what I currently program in, so I found it to be the best combination.

    I gave up on Notepad because I am lazy and I want to see color coding. Its easier to check your code that way.

  14. #14
    Kat's Meow Senior ******* WebKat's Avatar
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    I also want to disagree with this quote:

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>"People who start with WYSIWYG never get any better."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I started the Really Hard Way with Homestead 2 years ago, a drag'n'drop free website BUT I wasn't satisfied with the layouts and as I was an extremely curious webster I learned all I could about HTML and viewed the source of pages constantly . . .

    Now I use Dreamweaver2 and love it but I also use a HTML Editor (I have tried almost all of them and my choice is CuteHTML) as a back-up for revising the coding . . .

    I think that learning all you can about what makes a web page work is essential and using a WYSIWYG editor (stay away from FrontPage, I used it first but won't anymore!) shouldn't be discouraged as it is a great time saver for basic page layout, as long as you also know what is working behind the scenes . . and how to fix it when necessary!

    We all use all the auto features of Word such as "Spell Check" and "Search" rather than manually revising our papers - it just makes things easier - but you can't rely on it all the time as it doesn't always do what we want . . . that's why we need to always be aware of what any program can do and it's limitations . . .

    Just writing HTML from scratch doesn't make you any better (some are more proficient than others and love the originality) - especially when there are tools to speed up the process, such as WYSIWYG programs . . . Check out the reviews here at SitePoint!

    The key is just use what works the best for you and keep learning


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  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    Aaaaggggghhhhh - Front Page Is The Best!!! - No Way

    I can't give you the definitive answer to what is the best, I like homesite but then again I also occasionaly use a program I wrote myself for some stuff.

    I like homesite because it has good site managemant stuff (Extended find/replace on groups of files etc.) it also has a nice little feature that integrates its' browse function with your webserver if you are running one on your local machine (invaluable feature if you do a lot of server side stuff - as I do).

    I used to use windows notepad, but after a couple of weeks I found HS and have been using for over a year now.

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  16. #16
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    I agree. Frontpage makes nicely laidout Internet Explorer Webpages but they are bulky and often don't show properly in other browsers. All of Microsoft's tools can make webpages and they all use the same libraries to do so. Unfortunately Microsoft decided it was prudent to add new tags and lots of comments so that their generated pages could be accessed as native documents in the Office group. IMHO, this could have been done better with a robust filtering system instead of making webpages bulkier.

    westmich: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>
    FrontPage is hands down the best WYSIWYG program available, period! When you compare price, features, built-in componets, and support, nothing comes close. Any decent WYSIWYG will have a built in HTML editor.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I think when you do an actual comparison that you will find Hot Dog Professional and Allaire Homesite have more features and actually cost less. Both programs cost less than $100 compared to the $149 list price for Frontpage 2000

    ------------------
    Wayne Luke - Sitepoint Moderator/Internet Media Developer
    Digital Magician Studios - Making Magic with Web Applications
    wluke@digitalmagician.com

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Dreamweaver is pretty good at not letting extra useless HTML tags around. Also it has been said before but the HS-&gt;DW integration is worth buying it! Homesite for coding, Dreamweaver for designing.

    And...now Macromedia sells DW3 and FW3 together in the WebEssentials package. I have it and can personally testify that for $400 you get HS, DW, and FW--is a great deal.

    I first learned HTML and made a few "Hello world" pages but then I switched to WYSIWYG editors, not because I didn't know but because they were faster and had lotsa features. I still do however go over my code for days (the top and bottom includes) to get it as optimized as possible.

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  18. #18
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    I hate wysiwyg editors. I dont know if they're easier to learn on, when I first learned html they didn't exist. But come on HTML is the most simple thing you can possibly learn, I learned it just by looking at page sources 6 years ago.

    I still do all my pages in code, and as far as frontpage and the ilk speeding things up, I say ha. I can write my page in cutehtml and get it done faster than I would have dont it in frontpage. Hands down. Reason being frontpage is bulkier to use, more complicated to use, and it changes everything around. So if I did make a page with it I'd have to spend 30 minutes recoding it so any time I would have saved would be nil. Actually how long does it take to type out a tag? a few seconds? about the same amount of time it takes to click on a button.

    And as for frontpage automating tasks, I've changed 1 line of code on 100 or so pages in about 5 seconds using cute html. And then if you just need to copy things, ctrl-c and ctrl-v seem to work pretty fast for me.

    of course the number 1 reason I hate wysiwig editors is that they dont require you to learn HTML, or any language in order to make a page. There is no discipline there.


    Chris

  19. #19
    Kat's Meow Senior ******* WebKat's Avatar
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    So . . .

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote/font><HR>"People who start with WYSIWYG never get any better" and "wysiwig editors is that they dont require you to learn HTML, or any language in order to make a page. There is no discipline there"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I probably am more defensive about these comments because of all the criticism that I have read of Free Web Sites (Homestead for me) to learn how to build a web page. They had their limititations but it was the best way for me to learn - web design can be very overwhelming for the beginner. But I found it wasn't as hard as I first thought as I learned more and more . . .

    BUT I had the inititive to learn more than just the 'click the feature' and 'drag the image to the page' to create a page. I suppose not everyone is as interested to learn what makes WYSIWYG editors work as I was . . . and that is their mistake!

    If you don't learn HTML and coding that makes the WYSIWYG work, I agree that you will never create web pages that work to their advantage and work well . . .

    *I repeat my mantra "use what works best for you even if it is FrontPage if that is what you like to use" but it is essential to also learn how to create code and be able to rewrite code when necessary . . .

    I never believe anyone should totally rely on any WYSIWYG program, you need to also utilize a HTML Editor. It's like working in the dark if you don't know how to create a basic website from scratch . . . then rely on a WYSIWYG to speed up the process - if that is what you like


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    WebKat's PawPrints
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    [This message has been edited by WebKat (edited May 13, 2000).]

  20. #20
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    Call me old fashioned but since day one, I have been designing my websites in plain old html. It only took me about 2 days to learn everything that I needed to know to build terrific websites with notepad. Currently I dont use notepad anymore, instead I use a program called EditPad.

    EditPad is like Notepad but with a little tweeking. EditPad allows you to write multiple pages in a tabed interface, so you can flip back in forth through your html documents.

    Some people say that using WYSIWYG editors will make page building faster, I disagree because some of the people I work with uses Frontpage 2000 and I can code a page faster than they can drag and drop things onto the WYSIWYG editer.

    jizbot stick with coding and you can turn out a product like I did. I built a website called "The West Virginia Explorer" which uses tons of tables, the address is http://www.wvexplorer.com .

    But these are just my thoughts, other people are entitled to their own thoughts.

  21. #21
    Team SitePoint AlexW's Avatar
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    Where to start,..where to start...

    Firstly westmich, yes it's true that FrontPage is great for people who don't WANT to learn a language. There is an clear cut distinction between people who build and maintain web sites for a living, and people who just need a fast and simple result.

    Likewise, happy snap 'point-and-click' cameras are designed for a different market to a top-of-the-line Leica SLR, and different results are expected out of each.

    But, as Jizbot's original post outlined his wish to become a web professional that isn't particularly relevant to him.

    The only relevant factors for web professionals choosing tools are:
    1) Time efficiency
    2) The leanness, robustness, portabilty and cross-browser compatibility of the finished code that is produced.

    That is where Frontpage falls.

    FrontPage dislikes and distrusts any code that it hasn't written itself. In fact, it actually writes 'FPTML' rather than HTML. Put perfectly legimate code written in another authoring environment into FrontPage and check the results. If it doesn't understand something, it hacks it clean out. It rewrites meta-tags without asking you, rearranges the order of working code and slots in snippets of its own proprietary gobble-de-gook that mean nothing outside of FrontPage, yet are still needlessly sent to every browser that views the page.

    We only have to browse the posts above to come to the realization that web developers use and like a wide variety solutions (certainly a much wider variety than, for example, the majority choices for mail clients and word processor).

    The nature of the job means that very often my code is going to be edited in your editor, and your code is going to be edited in my editor. Any Web Editor that doesn't play nicely with the other little editors is going to get a bad name for itself.

    That is why you detect a note of scorn when many of us mention the Microsoft product.

    Simplicity can only get you so far.

    FrontPage is a baaaad puppy.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Enthusiast Morpheos's Avatar
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    hello people,

    I think this is quite a cliche. If maybe wluke remebers we had this conversation already. I think, to bing the point back out, the easieness with which a wysiwyg editor works, is comendable. This way one can work faster and efficent. It makes a lot of things easier like table alignment, a tragic pain-in-the-butt for every web designer.

    However, wysiwyg editors are not very efficent in profesional programming like: CGI, PERL, JAVASCRIPT, even HTML. This is essential knowlege to a webmaster. A must know.

    Personally, i only use HTML editors (1st page 2000). Not only I think it is easier to create sites but also you have complete control of your HTML, which is very important.

    FrontPage is, for me in particular, a no-no. It makes bad HTML glips and browsers have trouble parsing these files especialy NS browsers. Since FrontPage is targeted on IE browsers, the microsoft family, then these is hard for all Ns users who grow more everyday.

    Simple solution: Use wysiwyg only if you need to make thing that are a little hard for you to do in down-to-dirt HTML. Help yourself to be a little unique in web coding. Don't lose the art of html just so you can work easier.

    decide for the best. whatever you think is easier for you, do that. but please, don't forget to write html and the other code languages. You'll never, never, be profesional if you don't learn these.



    ------------------
    Morpheos - Web Developer
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    ICQ 65778801

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard westmich's Avatar
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    Well...well...well... There seems to be a continuing theme (and not a Front Page Theme ).

    Perhaps I was overzealous in my statement that FP is the best WYSIWG editor, especilly for this group.

    FP is a great tool in an office environment for those want to publish their documents on the coporate intranet and are already familiar with the MS Office family of products. It also works great for those who have no desire to become professional web developers but would like to publish content for their local church or civic organization.

    Personally, I am finding that the more I develop my web design skills, the less I use FP. Although for some things, FP is irreplaceable.

    HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are a must for any aspiring web developer. And so, it would seem, are a variety of HTML/WYSIWYG editors.

    IMHO,
    Westmich

  24. #24
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    Hello all,
    Im grateful to see these posts... When i posted the original message i was VERY discouraged with HTML after working with it for a few hours and not having my goal achieved.
    The comment about HTML being the "simplest" thing to learn is a bit harsh though for newbies comming up. Especially ones who never had a interest in computers and have only recently decided they would like to see what makes them tick.
    Yes, i havent had so bad of a time learning certain parts of HTML such as tags and formatting of my code. But im sorry, these tables are kickin my butt!!!
    To clerify that (and redeem myself a bit) I dont mean a simple table with say, three or five columns. But the nested tables. EEEEK! It seems as though i spend more time trying to find the darn table i need, much less the specific row and column!!!
    Anyway, I look at a few sites like Gamespy and how theyre set up and i attempt to read their code and i notice that theyre nesting like a half dozen or more tables one a single page. Thats damn confusing to me =(
    So after another long night of table torture i began thinking unclear... I started seeing WYSIWYG's as my oasis. I was about ready to toss the towel and begin setting my tables up with WYSIWYG's.
    I know the path i should take to be a professional in this, and i know that as soon as i can pass this "table trench" i should be well on my way to creating the beautiful pages i have in my head.

    Again, thank you all for your help. Its much appreciated.


  25. #25
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    I've always written in notepad. I started in NotePad using an HTML tutorial recommended by GeoCities 6-7 years ago ( www.geocities.com/athens/2090 ) and now I can't do anything BUT use a text editor (i've tried ones with color-coding like AceExpert but I went back to Notepad because I need the speed and multiple windows fast).

    So now I try Dreamweaver3. I can't figure it out! I don't see how it really works or how it's going to make designing anything easier with all these little windows crammed onto my 800x600 screen (i can't go higher, bug in the video card drivers that they just won't fix).

    So I guess that comment about learning with WYSIWYG means you won't do anything more might be true the other way around - I've worked in notepad for so many years I can't do anything more.

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    Dan Grossman
    webmaster@websitegoodies.com
    http://www.websitegoodies.com


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