Do Professionals Really Code Everything By Hand?

thanks dreamscape…i fink i was totally lost…

I also code by hand. You get more control that way.
I would never use Frontpage or Dreamweaver to design my pages.

I hand code. It is much neater nad you have alot more control.:slight_smile:

If we are talking IDE vs. traditional development environment (editor, make, CVS), then in the long run projects benefit from “hand coding”. It is too easy to let some tool spit out a bunch of code you may not fully understand. When you need to modify it how will you?

Try to save time/code lines the old fashioned way: build for reuse, leverage the resouces you have (libraries, Web Services), and design your system before you start coding.

In the early days I used frontpage, then I got dreamweaver for its function that cleaned up the frontpage garbage. Now when I code I get my basic template started:
<title>Hello World</title>
<body bgcolor=“cacaae”>
<h1>Ready to code now!</h1>
© me
Then I open it in an ie browser. Right click, view source, add code, save, refresh browser, check it out, and add some more code;
repeat ad nauseam.

All this was done by hand, [URL=]and this

I try to take a peek at the page with firefox before I post, and I usually try to change my screen resolution to 800x600 to make sure it looks okay. I prefer working at a higher resolution. Just don’t understand why someone would like 800x600, but evidently a lot do.

I still have lots to improve and learn, but for some reason just enjoy doing it by hand.


The image of the hand coder has always been that of a seasoned veteran. A professional is a professional when they can get the job done and done well. How the product is manufactured, the client may never know.

I code in IDEs for languages like JAVA and C++ but I use a text editor for PHP. I use dreamweaver for html and css. I have use all of these because they have offered me the most efficient working process in thier native environments. Professionals are forced to become as efficient as possible and efficiency means taking advantage of whatevers out there to make your life easier. There is a mountain of code out there in open source and through leasing other coders and I will take advantage of it every time. As long as you can open an editor, any editor and not be lost in what you are doing you are a confident developer and need not worry too much about your tools.

Even the best coders make typos. What’s the sense in wasting time hunting down typos?!

If you’re talking about typos in tags etc then the latest point at which you should find such errors is when you run it through a validator. Depending on the validator, it will not only show you which line the typo was on but exactly where on that line it occured.

Anyway, I hand code using VIM combined with some pre-written templates (such as a blank html file) and some pre-written snippets available on hotkey.

The main reason I don’t use the big IDEs is because our development machines aren’t the fastest in the world and only have a limited amount of ram. If I have photoshop with a few silly sized images / layouts / logos in & a few browsers open I don’t have any ram to spare for fluff like dw or fp if I want my machine to respond before the day is out.
Not to mention VIM is free and DW is not.

I was recently on the job market (May this year) and found that these types of ads are looking for people that don’t rely on these tools for a couple of reasons. First, it’s suprising how many companies aren’t willing to spring for a decent software package for their developers
Second, I’ve met people who can’t code by hand, yet are still touting themselves as web professionals. IMO, you can’t call yourself a professional if you can’t understand even a simple HTML coded page.

Surprisingly, the first reason holds true more often than you’d think.

I prefer coding mode in dreamweaver for html/javascript and the occasional ‘classic’ asp/vbscript page. The code-completion helps make things a bit faster. When I’m coding PHP or Java, I prefer tools like Netbeans and Zend Studio. Those tools are able to read the javadoc/phpdoc style comments on custom functions and classes to give that extra level of code completion to make things faster.

I could just use notepad, but I would lose a lot of time that is gained from the IDE. Like most people have mentioned, the tool used to make the code is irrelevant to the user viewing the application.

My post was purposely over simplified to help as many people understand, without being too overloaded by computer jargon. It’s like in science when you are first told about the predictable world of electron shells. :slight_smile:

I hand code to reassure the client that I know what I’m doing and that they don’t need to have a copy of whatever WYSIWYG editor for me to work.

Also because it’s nifty hardcore.

Yeah it was a long sentence. :wink:

Just to give you an idea of a different environment; I’m a PHP web developer, I used to work for a web development company that handled complex web based systems for a bank, a betting company, lots of tourist portals and other big companies.

We would get layouts from design agencies as PSD files, we would grab what we needed from those files via Photoshop and did the rest exclusively in Textpad. None of us used anything more advanced than a text editor. We would of course reuse bits from the older websites since there’s little point reinventing the wheel, but it was all 100% written by hand. Nothing was sourced externally or generated automatically, even the PHP code was fully written by us.

Doing this means you can be certain that you are fully responsible for any problems and have the knowledge to quickly fix them. Like you say however, it takes a long time.

How much of it is ‘hand-code’ anyway? Sometimes I use classes from previous projects or framework(s) etc…

If I wrote the class, is that ok? What about if I use a 3rd party class/FW?

Moral of the story: as long as your code and markup is ‘neat’ and not obviously spewed out by DW/FP… just be a yes man to that question.

I use win32pad when coding my Web pages. Sometimes, I’ll use Dreamweaver MX, but only in code view, and ONLY when I’m working with JavaScript or PHP. I’m still (after four years :eek: ) not comfortable enough with JavaScript or PHP to use a text editor.

Was waiting for someone to mention this :slight_smile: Hand code either in DW code view, or simply in Crimson Editor, but copy and paste in from my libraries. Best of both worlds, repeatable stuff already done, without the bloat some of the “design” tools will put in. DW has the advantage of quickly hooking in links to images etc.

Currently being forced to learn CSS, have a sitepoint book next to me, and am handcoding an old site which used tables all over the place. :eek: Guess the original developer never heard of the div tags.

So yeah end of day should be on top of CSS, currently problem is driving me nuts however.

I use Crimson Editor and I love its syntax highlighting and column mode. I only really use Dreamweaver to look at the O’Reilly references (because I don’t have the internet at home :()

Not sure about anyone else, but to my knowledge, “hand-code” means you have nothing other than notepad or textpad and absolutely no “code guidance” when typing in the editor (auto-fills) or design view stuff, etc.

It’s just old school and many prefer it. :slight_smile:

I paid big bucks for Dreamweaver a couple of years back when I was just getting into web design and was all excited. I used it only once, to generate an HTML header when I couldn’t remember how and wasn’t connected to the internet. Just sold it today on an auction site for a measly $30 (and that’s measly NZ$ too, so double the measliness!)
What a waste :frowning:

If your not careful you may not notice that dreamweaver and especially frontpage can ruin important code. In such cases it may not work at all and you may spend hours trying find whats wrong.

This is in part my opinion as well. However, I would like to add that I feel you should be an expert at using both views :wink: