WYSIWIG What? Website Design Software For Idiots

By: Matt D Murren

Let’s explore the various WYSIWYG web design software products out on the market and the benefits of each one.

Macromedia? Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver sets the standard in web design.? It has powerful tools to create very professional looking web sites.? Its tools integrate seamlessly with other Macromedia products (Flash, Fireworks, Cold Fusion).? It also lets you create custom templates.? This means you can alter huge websites with hundreds of pages by making one alteration.

The drawbacks to such a robust application is that it can intimidate new web site designers.? With so many complex tools, it can be a hindrance to someone who wants to simply make changes to pages.? It is also the most expensive WYSIWYG web page editor.

Microsoft FrontPage / Microsoft Expression Web

Macromedia’s stiffest competition is Microsoft.? Up until 2006, Microsoft’s web design software was called Microsoft FrontPage.? (Although it’s no longer being manufactured, copies are still available from various online sources.)? FrontPage is less expensive than Dreamweaver and also has advanced web design tools.? Anyone who has used Microsoft products will appreciate a familiar interface.? It makes creating pages trouble-free.? The catch with FrontPage is that you can end up with a lot of undesirable code.? It is designed for Microsoft Internet Explorer and doesn’t always “play well with others” (Firefox, Netscape, etc.)? Also, many suggest that Microsoft FrontPage is targeted towards beginners, while more serious designers will prefer Dreamweaver.? Finally, you must be publishing your pages on a web server with FrontPage extensions.

In an effort to change their image as a “beginner” application, Microsoft discontinued FrontPage in 2006 in favor of Microsoft Expression Web.? Expression Web builds on FrontPage technology to bring unparalleled functionality and superior tools.

Nvu editor / KompoZer

Two editors, Nvu editor and KompoZer, probably lead the pack when it comes to free WYSIWYG editors.? Nvu editor is designed to rival big-named designers like Dreamweaver and Frontpage/Expression.? Although it lacks some of the features of the big two, it is still has considerable functionality and many are surprised that such a sleek program is actually free.? Development for the open source application ended in 2006, but a community-driven program called KompoZer has picked up the torch and continues to add new features.? Daniel Glazman, the creator of Nvu, has undertaken a new web design project (Mozilla Composer 2.0) which he hopes to name the successor to Nvu.

EasyHTML

The last WYSIWYG editor we’ll look at is EasyHTML.? The application was created by Toni Helenius and is one of the many clever applications designed by ToniArts.? This editor is one of the best freeware HTML editors out there.? It includes color-coded tags, a large help file, user-created custom toolbars, and JavaScript at the click of a mouse.

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