Friday, September 27, 2002

Getting into Dreamweaver for Studio users

I know a lot of Studio uses are unhappy with Dreamweaver and inclined to just stay put, but maybe you're being forced by licensing issues or organization policy to make the move. Or maybe you just realize that the writing is on the wall so you might as well suck it up and make the most of it. I want to offer a couple thoughts that might make things a little more palatable. Perhaps these won't be news to you, but maybe they'll be useful resources.

First, Macromedia has put together a couple of resources to help this very audience. Four particular articles at the Dreamweaver Development Center deserve your attention:

Beyond that, there are several other articles at that site which show how to apply DW to various tasks that CF developers may be interested in (developing, using components and web services, for instance). There are are also tutorial examples (like the Trio Motor Company app) where they include source code and steps to finish the projects. All these are great ways to become familiar with really leveraging DWMX, rather than simply opening it up and lamenting "where is this, why can't I do that". OK, some things from Studio are missing or hard to find, but there are also things that DWMX adds that Studio doesn't have.

And DW is much more than the WYSIWYG html editor that basic web page developers liked so much for years. If you don't like it "mucking with your code", don't go into design mode. You can still leverage the database tools, site management features, and so much more.

Still, I know it's not perfect. Some people have reported real problems using it. Some factors relate to using certain features, or working in certain environments, or problems with resources and speed (a faster machine with more memory seems to temper those concerns). Anyway, Macromedia is listening and future updates will surely address our most grievous complaints.

In the meantime, Macromedia really didn't really leave us high and dry. For died in the wool Studio fans (or when things just don't work as you need them to in DWMX), did you know that the DWMX CD comes with a separately installable "HomeSite +"? HomeSite Plus is really nearly entirely the same as Studio 5. Even the CFML debugger is included (for those that leveraged that). Just install it and use either one. Indeed, there are easy means to go back and forth between them.

I recommend you install both and just try to work more and more in DW as you grow comfortable with it. I know many people tried a "cold turkey" approach to force themselves into DWMX. Why suffer the hassle? Use each while you become more familiar and comfortable with DWMX. You may even find that you grow to find it perfectly acceptable, even preferable.

Sure, for some this has been like being forced to write with their other hand. But we humans are amazingly capable of adapting. And Macromedia really is working to make it a more effective transition. At least give these resources 15 minutes reading before you conclude it just won't work for you, and for the things that just flat don't work, drop back to HomeSite+.

Not a sermon. Just a thought. :-)

No comments: