[thelist] "Hand Coding" in DWMX2004

Greg Holmes greg.holmes at gmail.com
Sat Aug 21 05:31:43 CDT 2004

<aaron at aaroncole.com> wrote:
>> Why do so many people bash Dreamweaver MX and
>>say that they prefer to "hand code"?

and Chris Johnston responded:
>Elitism. Elitism, Elitism. In order to prove their
>worth to all the other people around them, they
>must show how much better they are and the best
>way to do that is by (a) putting everyone else
>down who uses anything remotely close to a wysiwyg
>tool and (b) by showing how superior they are by
>the fact that they use a tool like
notepad/vim/emacs/assembly language/binary to code
>all of their sites.
>Personally, it makes me sick. :-(

Painting with a rather broad brush, aren't you :)
While surely there are some people with that motive,
some of us just honestly prefer working in text
editors.  I have to use Dreamweaver MX sometimes
(we have a templated site - sort of, see below) but
frankly prefer Vim.  I get syntax highlighting, which is
all I really want.

Maybe one reason for the big divide in preferences
is that a clean, well constructed page is simply not
hard to type.  If I wanted to create a page with
nested tables, then sure, I might use Dreamweaver
(or then again maybe not - I might want proper
indenting and commenting so I could figure out the
structure in the future without going insane). But
creating a clean, logical page with CSS classes
applied as *I* want them (not to random, generated
spans)?  Give me Vim every time.

Use includes for your site template stuff - 
I basically reformed our site to put all the 
non-editable region stuff into real includes, so I
could change it without having to hope that DW
could roll it out over 10000+ pages without crashing.

Use clean, logical page structure.  If you do these
things, you'll find that it takes more time to find
the right checkbox in DW than it does just to type
what you want.  Same for code completion - it takes
as much time to slow down and pick an attribute from
a list (especially when there are a lot of attributes)
than it does to just type the thing.

I also prefer root relative links, to directories,
where possible.  Why does DW insist on
"..\..\..\default.aspx"?  Why does it have to be to a
file, instead of a directory, like this 
"/training/registration/"?  Again, a properly designed
site is going to have easily portable pages.  I don't
need DW to rewrite my links for me if I move a page.

Maybe it's just our network, but on NT with the files 
on networked drives DW is SLOW,SLOW,SLOW.
Firing it up to fix a broken link is about as desirable
as a root canal.  It takes forever to start up.  In
WYSIWYG mode, I can type text and literally wait
for it to appear.  In split mode, if I'm up in Code View,
then click down into Page View, it freezes for a few
seconds to recalculate the layout.  If you're going to
say "just use Code View", well, I may as well just
use Vim, then.

I don't have to pay for upgrades to Vim either - to
those who are about to say "but such and such 
annoyance is fixed in DW ${THIS_YEAR}".

Nowhere in any of this did you find "elitism".  Or if
you think you did, it says more about you than
about me ;)

Greg Holmes

More information about the thelist mailing list