It seems to me that there is some confusion (especially for beginners) on how to best use Dreamweaver. I believe like all things there is both an effective way and an ineffective way.

Dreamweaver has been frowned upon (mainly for it's design view) many times almost being shoved into the same boat with FrontPage. I think this is an error. DW is at its core a text editor. It just has a whole TON more features associated with it, and it's up to the user on how to best take control of these.

I think a couple of main keys to using DW effectively is to:

1) Make sure that whatever your doing in design view that you also know how to do it in code view as well. If you do not and your pressed for time then that is fine, just make sure you learn it later. Take a class or tutorial, then stop doing it in design view (unless of course you are pressed for time and you feel design view would help make the changes faster). If you are not pressed for time, just use code view. This way you will keep your skills up to par.

2) There are a lot of things that can be done faster by hand in code view than in design view. Make sure to keep doing these things in code view.

3) If using DW's CSS or JS properties make sure you go into code view to edit it as soon as you can, selecting the variable names you want etc. I usually like to use DW to lay the code down and then I can go through and make any necessary changes that I need to make.

4) DW is a great application (there are others) to use when managing all your websites and pages but there are going to be times when even DW's built in tools are not enough and you'll need something more powerful and specific to the language (PHP or .NET) you are working with. In this case you may want to consider keeping DW around as your main and general website/page manager etc, but use a different app to do your core creation and/or editing. Personally for me DW is like a swiss army knife, but you'll want to keep in mind that you wouldn't use a swiss army knife to make a coffee table for your living room (although it is completely possible). If you are mainly a designer, then you may not need to worry about this.


Anyone else care to share their tips and ideas? What keeps or kept you grounded while using DW?