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The Unheard Word

One woman's slightly skewed views

Is there room for another web editor from Adobe?

There has been much discussion by web professionals everywhere about the future of their favourite applications, ever since the Adobe-Macromedia merger was announced last year.

Webweavers is an email list for anyone in web development, but the majority use Dreamweaver somewhere in their workflow. Recently, on the list, it had been suggested that GoLive’s best features be moved to Dreamweaver, leaving GoLive in a dumbed-down state for beginners or those without the need for sophisticated features.

Lynn Grillo posed a question (unofficially, I might add, and purely out of her own personal interest — nothing to do with Adobe at all although she is an employee of that company) that sparked quite a discussion.

Lynn asked, “So do you folks think there is room for two web editors from Adobe? You know, aimed at different markets?”

Obviously, everyone had different ideas depending on their individual experience with GoLive and Dreamweaver, and the level of their web development expertise. Some said that was a terrible idea and Macromedia had tried it with Dreamweaver and UltraDev, eventually combining the two — and Adobe tried it with PageMill and GoLive, eventually dropping PageMill — so why would they want to do that with GoLive and Dreamweaver? Others said Dreamweaver is daunting to people just starting out, and there is definitely room for an “easier” web editor. Still others said, “Yes, but at what point do you draw the line between the features of each?”

But I think that Stephanie Sullivan and Al Sparber hit the nail on the head. Stef said that even a tool that outputs standards-compliant and accessible code in the hands of an experienced and knowledgeable professional will in all likelihood churn out horrible code when used by someone who doesn’t understand HTML. Al pointed out that “easy” editors (ones that don’t require the user to know or understand HTML) actually prohibit or at least deter a user from learning.

It seems to me, however, that there are ample editors on the market that already churn out “easy” and horrible code, so I can’t see any need for another.

However… I’m wondering if the idea of a “Dreamweaver Elements” does, in fact, have merit. It need not necessarily (in fact, should not) be a tool that does everything for the user. Consider the way in which Photoshop Elements works much the same as Photoshop, but minus a lot of the features many users don’t (and won’t ever) need. Photoshop Elements is very a popular and well-regarded application, from all I’ve heard, and furthermore it also incorporates the ability to use Photoshop plug-ins and therefore is extensible.

Might there be room for a high quality editor for learners (especially if there is an upgrade path) and those that are never likely to require the full functionality of Dreamweaver and GoLive? One that is also extensible through Dreamweaver (and/or GoLive) extensions?

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