KillerSites Blog

Professional Web Design

Is Dreamweaver still Relevant in Web Design?

August 25, 2014

I like to start my articles with the conclusion – saves you time:

Dreamweaver is not relevant in modern web design. Why?

  • To make good websites, you need to understand the code behind the sites. You need to learn code.
  • Dreamweaver does have a code editor but there are many more capable code editors out there that are free or at least much cheaper than Dreamweaver.
  • Because you need to understand code, Dreamweaver’s point-n-click tools are becoming relics of the 1990’s when web code was so bad, that tools like Dreamweaver were a godsend.
  • The code behind web sites (html, css, javaScript) is so well structured now, and so much more powerful (HTML5 and CSS3 rock!) that you can easily put out great websites with relatively little coding – as compared to what is was like in the past.

Let’s elaborate on the last point. Web design in the past, when the languages (HTML, CSS) were not as mature, the process of coding a website was rote; it was repetitious and mechanical. You had a lot of crappy tinkering to do, just to get a website up. In that environment, tools like Dreamweaver were welcome because they wrote the code for you.

These days, with the much better browsers (that read and process code properly) combined with highly effective web design frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap and JQuery, apps that try to hide the code from you (like Dreamweaver) are not that useful. In fact, they are counter productive because often times, the code they generate can get in the way of building a clean effective website or web application – it’s just too thick.

Browser Developer Tools Put another Nail in Dreamweaver’s Coffin

All the modern web browsers have a very powerful set of developer tools that allow you to see exactly what is going on in your pages codewise; you can even change (for example) your CSS on the fly and see how it effects the page without touching your underlying code. This makes for ultra fast development.

developer-tools-chrome

Dreamweaver has these sort of tools but you have to be in Dreamweaver to use them and they are not necessarily 100% accurate in terms of what the web browsers will display – you might as well test in the web browser since people visit sites with web browsers and not Dreamweaver!

browser-tools

Click the attached images ->

Conclusion

There is nothing wrong with Dreamweaver if you largely ignore the point and click tools, and stick to the code editor. But if you do that, why bother forking out the big money for Dreamweaver, when you can find more effectively code editors like Sublime Text or Notepadd++ for free or for much much cheaper than Dreamweaver?

Stefan Mischook
Studioweb.com

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The Web Design Process in 4 Steps

June 9, 2014

Hi,

Web design and development keeps evolving and in the last few years, they’ve been in fact merging! Yes, if you do web design these days, you have to learn:

  • Coding: HTML, CSS, HTML5 and CSS3
  • Basic programming: PHP, JavaScript
  • Web design frameworks: Bootstrap and JQuery

That all said, the web design process can be distilled into the following 4 simple steps:

  1. Sketch out a design, choose structure, choose colors. You would use Photoshop here a little.
  2. Slap it into bootstrap.
  3. Add behavior with PHP, JQuery and JavaScript.
  4. Deploy

You are done and so am I … for today!

Stefan Mischook
killerSites.com

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A Million more Computer Jobs than Students by 2020

March 6, 2013

lightbulb

The trend is your friend if you are into web design or web programming … going forward, there will be a lot more jobs than web professionals.

This trend means two things for web designers and programmers:

  1. There will be more new jobs created, than new web professionals with each passing year.
  2. Those who are smart enough to become web designers and web programmers, will see their pay go up as demand goes up.

 Why is the demand increasing so much?

 

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Web Design in 2013 … and Beyond!

February 1, 2013

I was meaning to write this in January, but things got in the way! Anyway, here are the web design trends for 2013 …

1. HTML 5

lightbulb
It think this one is a no brainer … everything and everyone is going HTML 5 and CSS 3:

  • Android (Google)
  • iOS / Mac OSX (Apple)
  • Windows (Microsoft)

… This includes all the major web browsers of course.

When people talk about HTML 5, they are really talking about a group of technologies that work together:

  1. HTML 5
  2. CSS 3
  3. JavaScript

HTML 5 and CSS 3 are basically very powerful extensions to HTML and CSS … and so if you understand the basic principles and techniques of these two foundation web languages, HTML5 and CSS3 should be approachable. That said, the added power does present some head scratching challenges a long the way. No worries though, we have the easy to follow training for you.

🙂

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Web design is like sculpting, not painting.

October 30, 2012

Hi!

Many years ago, during the time of the dinosaurs, I was taught a very important rule about the perfection of technique:

… The master’s movement is polished, minimal, without waste or clutter. One of the primary goals of a martial artist, is to strip away non essential movement, and to clear ones mind of distracting thoughts.

What the heck does this have to do with web design?

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WordPress, Joomla and Drupal in Web Design

May 3, 2012

I was recently asked a question about the future of web design:

I have a short general query about the Future of Web Design: do you think that we are going towards a trend where, particularly with the use of Web environments like WordPress or Joomla, programming skills will be more and more oriented towards updating and customising plugins?

My answer:

I have been a long time believer in this strategy of using a CMS as the basis of almost all your web design projects. I wrote about this back in 2010, talking about the ‘WordPress Web Designer‘.

I use WordPress for my web sites, but Drupal and Joomla can do a great job too. You just have to figure out which one suits you best.

Learning PHP and JavaScript:

Since Drupal, Joomla and WordPress are built with PHP and JavaScript, it makes sense (if you really want to learn how to use these tools to their fullest,) that you should learn at least a little programming. You don’t have to become a full-blown nerd coder, but you should be able to write simple scripts and modify existing PHP and JavaScript code. It will make your life so much easier.

For a more detailed discussion, watch my video below:

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
killersites.com

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Best Computer for Web Design?

November 17, 2011

I get this all the time:

Stef,

You’re a nerd and professional web designer, what computer would you recommend for someone wanting to get into the web design or web programming business?

My answer:

Being a professional nerd presents many challenges, and one of them shouldn’t be fighting with your computer, viruses or installing hardware!

You also need something very fast and what most people don’t know, a huge part of a computer’s speed is not found in the processor (everyone just thinks processor!!) … no, the biggest bottleneck these days is disk access. Or as we hard-core nerds like to call it: IO.

What is IO?

IO is short for: input / output

… It is the speed of sending and receiving information to and from your computer hard disk. Hard disk speed is huge!!

So what computer has the best IO out there?

MacBook Air

Buy it and be amazed at how fast a computer can move!! Check it out:

http://www.apple.com/macbookair/

PS: I am not a Mac/Steve Jobs fan-boy … I have an Android phone!!

Stefan Mischook
www.killersites.com

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Outsourcing and its’ Impact on Web Designers and Programmers

July 18, 2011

Hi,

The one great fear any nerd has is the specter of outsourcing – will my job be outsourced to some cheaper part of the world?

Yes, free trade is really not free trade, it’s actually opening up barriers to allow big American, Canadian and European companies to ship jobs to much poorer countries so that they can save money on cheap labor.

The people who benefit are:

  • The executives of the big companies, since they can pay themselves big bonuses. Of course, they are the few who WILL NOT have their jobs outsourced!
  • The hard working people in the poorer countries – people of the west should not bear them any ill will. They are simply trying to earn a living like anyone else.
  • Bankers – who see the stock prices rise in the publicly traded corporations. In fact, it seems the big Wall Street banks were the major force behind outsourcing.

… But it is not all bad for SMART web designers and programmers working in the crumbling west. Read on and learn how!

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Web Designers Roadmap for 2011 and 2012

June 26, 2011

web designers study guide

Web Designers Roadmap
June 2011 – By: Stefan Mischook

PDF: web-designer-roadmap

The skills required in modern web design are constantly changing … that’s because the Web itself is always changing. If you want to be successful as either a web professional (web designer / programmer) or as web site owner, you have to keep up!

What to learn (as of 2011-2012) – in order of priority:

1. HTML
2. CSS
3. PHP basics
4. Javascript
5. JQuery
6. WordPress
7. OOP PHP (for programmers only)
8. HTML 5 and CSS 3
9. iPad / iPhone (choice of either: Objective C or HTML 5 + CSS 3)

Comments

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