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  1. #1
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    Which WYSIWYG program is "best"?

    Which one is reasonably easy to use but full featured & free or reasonably priced?

    My site will be a hobbyist site but I still want it to look good.

    Do you folks need any additional info from me to offer help?

    My current web host is Godaddy.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    None of them will automatically produce a good site with good coding that works cross-browser etc etc.

    All of them are capable of doing this (with some it's harder than others) IF you know what you're doing. It's pretty much like getting a gang of 6 year olds to do a task for you. They might do it... but you'll have to check and check again to be sure and it's probably easier just to do it yourself (hand-code) in the first place!

    If you're a hobbyist and don't fancy spending weeks and months learning the ins and outs of good coding practices then can I suggest you have a look at WordPress?

    It's free - if you have Fantastico on your control panel then it's a one click install, if not then there are very good instructions on the WP site.

    There are thousands of themes to choose from. Thousands of great plugins that enhance functionality. All of these are installed with a single click mostly. It generally produces good code without any effort from you. It's easy to use and it can be made to work like a content management system rather than just a blog with very little effort.

    Basically - least effort on your part for a simple, good website is probably WordPress. No WYSIWYG editors required - everything's done via the browser.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
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  3. #3
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    If you really have to use a WYSIWYG, the only two which can generate and compose anything slightly resembling valid HTML and CSS are Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression Web. However if you want to produce good clean code, I would highly recommend using a text editor IDE rather than a WYSIWYG interface. Nothing is better than hand coding mark-up.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Nadia P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    If you really have to use a WYSIWYG, the only two which can generate and compose anything slightly resembling valid HTML and CSS are Adobe Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression Web.
    I'm a Dreamweaver user from years back, and don't really classify it as a WYSIWYG editor :-) Yes, the WYSIWYG interface is there, but I never recommend anyone to just work in design view. Always work in design/code view, that way you can actually see what code is being written behind the scenes. This is the way I initially learned html.

    No WYSIWYG is going to produce nice clean code that ensure your website will be viewable consistently across the modern browsers.

    If you are going to be tending to this hobby site for the long term, then I'd strongly suggest you learn at least the basics of html/css, using this site as a starting point.

    You'll be surprised how quickly you will learn, particularly when working on a site that is of interest to you and will stand you in good stead as your see your website come to life :-)

    PS: Welcome to Sitepoint :-)

    Nadia

  5. #5
    Guru in training bronze trophy SoulScratch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nadia P View Post
    Always work in design/code view, that way you can actually see what code is being written behind the scenes.
    Well for simple layouts ( just starting out ) this is very useful being able to see your changes live whether using a WYSIWYG, or whether using a utility such as Firebug with on the fly viewing - however you should not rely on any WYSIWYG view as the rendering engine isnt identical to the most popular ones used out there ... mainly Gecko and Trident.

    DW's rendering engine uses an outdated Presto version and may not be able to handle complex layouts which go beyond basic static positioned elements.

    If you don't rely on the view you should be OK, as you progress later on you'll hopefully advance to a more capable text editor which focuses mostly on effectiveness rather than visual aid or help dialogs/menus which can be a bothersome nuisance.
    Cross browser css bugs

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  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Nadia P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulScratch View Post
    DW's rendering engine uses an outdated Presto version and may not be able to handle complex layouts which go beyond basic static positioned elements
    DWCS4 uses the latest Webkit rendering engine for viewing pages... and does a fairly good job of viewing the more complex CSS layouts.

    CS3 was a major improvement over earlier versions, CS4 is better again :-)

    Nadia

  7. #7
    Guru in training bronze trophy SoulScratch's Avatar
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    Hm, haven't used DWCS3 nor 4 - that's good to know I guess, but it's only a matter of time until the rendering engine used will be outdated as it has happened in the past with CS1/CS2.

    And I prefer a modal text editor anyway

    Edit: I didn't mean CS1/CS2 ( doh ) but 8 and pre. Though I don't mean to start a text editor flame war ;p
    Cross browser css bugs

    Dan Schulz you will be missed

  8. #8
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    I know a test editor produces the best results but when you are starting out and have to learn about SEO etc then a WYSIWYG program is a good way to start. Wordpress is good to start with and also I found XsitePro ok but a bit expensive.

  9. #9
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhynes57 View Post
    I know a test editor produces the best results but when you are starting out and have to learn about SEO etc then a WYSIWYG program is a good way to start. Wordpress is good to start with and also I found XsitePro ok but a bit expensive.
    From my experience, a WYSIWYG editor will do nothing but inhibit your SEO rankings, the poor code, the outdated use of SEO devices, it really is not a good way to start or end up. If you require the visual interface to see your design being put into action launch a program such as Notepad, open a copy of Firefox, and then as you make changes locally, simply refresh the page. It really is that simple.

  10. #10
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    amaya works good as a freeware

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    I'm so out of date on DW...so it no longer uses the HomeSite code engine to display and manage the code?

    Lots of people like NotePad+. I like EditPad, though I only use the free lite version. No WYSIWYG here....

  12. #12
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    It is possible to get clean code out of the free Kompozer editor from http://kompozer.net provided that you configure and use it the right way. Its probably about as close as you can get to Dreamweaver without having to pay for it.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    Rule #1 don't try WYSIWYG on a PC, you will kill yourself or go insane.

    I'd say go Wordpress like someone mentioned earlier. If that doesn't appeal and you really want a proper WYSIWYG then...

    Step 1. Buy a mac (a mac mini or second hand one will do).
    Step 2. Buy Rapidweaver from Realmac
    Step 3. Buy Blocks from Yourhead

    The learning curve on all of that is pretty gentle, it is powerful and will write pretty solid code. I have yet to find anything on a PC that rivals this combo for simplicity, flexibility and price.

  14. #14
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slackr View Post
    Rule #1 don't try WYSIWYG on a PC, you will kill yourself or go insane.

    I'd say go Wordpress like someone mentioned earlier. If that doesn't appeal and you really want a proper WYSIWYG then...

    Step 1. Buy a mac (a mac mini or second hand one will do).
    Step 2. Buy Rapidweaver from Realmac
    Step 3. Buy Blocks from Yourhead

    The learning curve on all of that is pretty gentle, it is powerful and will write pretty solid code. I have yet to find anything on a PC that rivals this combo for simplicity, flexibility and price.
    So what you are saying is spend money you don’t need too for hardware, have a learning curve of learning a different OS and then buy a couple of bits of software to achieve a visual editor which will produce “solid code” – which by the way from all the reviews I have read, produces the same consistency levels as other WYSIWYAG editors (Windows or otherwise)... do you work for apple?

  15. #15
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    I'm not going to buy a Mac just for one application, sheesh!

    That suggestion is so unfeasible & ludicrous.

    Everywhere you go, that silliness rears it's ugly head. I'm just a hobbyist, not a rich professional.

    I hope it was meant as sarcasm. Whew!

    I've tried one WYSIWYG before & it wasn't that hard, I'm just investgating my options before I get deeply rooted into one appication.

    Buying an entire system, tied in with a learning curve, is outright goofy!

  16. #16
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    While Macs are very nice and I would use one for all my work if it had all the software I use every day. Buying one for just one task would not be practical.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    You say that now. Believe me if you are looking for a low learning curve and something that won't frustrate the hell out of you then do this and be happy. The entry price is pretty low if you aren't going to take up one of the other well supported free options, that I might add I recommended PRIOR to Rapidweaver.

    I have multiple friends who go full circle looking for the easy answers and avoid using the options that are commonly suggested. After they have been frustrated, tried some truly crap software, they return to find my advice which is pretty much the above. It may not be popular but the savings in time vs mucking around and wasting time makes it a worthy investment.

    He's a hobbyist. You want him to start from scratch with a text editor when he asks for a WYSIWYG and you are having a go at me? Or throw him in the deep end with DW which is way overpowered and expensive for a hobbyist. Most hobbies cost money. If you don't want to pay then use the FREE services that others make very good use of.

    The hardware investment is low, and the software is not expensive, I consider it a viable alternative.

  18. #18
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slackr View Post
    The hardware investment is low, and the software is not expensive, I consider it a viable alternative.
    Even if he went with a second hand Mac, and bought those products... it still adds up to a couple hundred dollars, now Iím not sure exactly where you come from but for the rest of us, thatís quite a bit of money. Especially when the OP wanted the product for the purposes of playing around with website design. If you were going to take up a hobby like golf, a hobbyist would go to the clubs that are available to him in the immediate area... he would not move house to a different country because of the better facilities. When you are willing to make a drastic change for the purpose of continuing a pursuit you are no longer a hobbyist, you are an enthusiast. Now granted we like having people really into web design here, but I certainly donít think itís appropriate to tell people to move platforms just to take advantage of a couple of bits of software so seem suspiciously keen to see sales towards

  19. #19
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    What part of my posts are you continually ignoring? Oh that's right the part where I say USE the well supported FREE stuff first. If you don't want to do that then here is a viable alternative. Don't want to pay money for your hobby? Use the FREE stuff and shut up.

    One of my hobbies is photography believe me I'm well versed in how much hobbies can cost. I have been saving for years to upgrade my equipment, but it doesn't stop me from using what I have access to.

    For the record in local currency I could buy a second hand mac easily for $400 the software I recommended for $200, or DWCS4 for $1000. The software I recommended would be infinitely superior for someone who wants a WYSIWYG set up, wants a low learning curve and who is clearly not looking to buy a professional application worth much more.

    Try hassling the people who only put forward DW and see how you get on. Or recommend another stunning text editor...

    I don't work for either of those companies but I have used the products and for a low learning curve, not huge investment and software that is well supported try matching it on a PC platform.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy Slackr's Avatar
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    So you aren't convinced I am a mac purist...I use the full Adobe CS3 Suite on a PC platform everyday for work.

  21. #21
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    Dreamweaver is probably out of your budget judging from your posts - but it is the best I have come across.

    If i were the original poster I would maybe mess around with some free CMS templates and Wordpress - much easier to get a great looking site IMO.

    I have used Dreamweaver for a couple years and like the above guy said it can be more than frustrating to use. I can't imagine what the free options must be like.

    I was lucky that a friend ran me through CMS on Wordpress a week ago - but once i had a couple tips it is pretty intuitive and I can already tell it will be a lot less of a hassle.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Addict antirem's Avatar
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    In my opinion they are no good unless you know the code. If you dont know code you will use wyswigs to make bad code.

  23. #23
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    I don't understand why anybody would buy Dreamweaver or Microsoft Expression. They're soooo expensive.

    For a straightforward HTML4.01 site SeaMonkey has everything you need, in my opinion. Free, easy to use, and it creates clean code which validates every time. I started using it without CSS (I know, I know, I'm sorry....) then switched to CSS-based design, largely learnt from Sitepoint books, which is why I'm here on this forum. Then I decided to get it together with XHTML, and now use Amaya (from the W3C). It's not as easy to use as SeaMonkey, and there seem to be a few glitches in it's WYSIWYG function, but you can just keep saving and looking at the page in your regular browser instead.

    I wouldn't partiuclarly recommend using any software to create CSS. It's much better to learn it and code it yourself - then you really know what's going on under the bonnet of your site

    So in a nutshell, I'd say try SeaMonkey to get going, teach yourself CSS, and maybe start using Amaya if you particulary want to go XHTML.

  24. #24
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    I use XSitePro2 and am extremely happy with it. Not only does it have some great templates and designs but it makes SEO extremely simple. It is probably the best couple of hundred bucks I've spent as a domainer who has no idea about code. It has enabled me to turn dozens of my domains that were just sitting on the shelf uselessly into income generating websites and mini-sites. Would highly recommend it for anyone after an easy to learn program that offers some great features.

  25. #25
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    I think dreamweaver is the best WYSIWYG editor.


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