Strongly Emergent

What comes from combining humans, computers, and narrative

Don't Bother With Dreamweaver

This, like the Flash post, is an angry post. Also like Flash, I have a class that consists basically of “learn to use this Adobe product.” That’s not inherently bad, but it has some problems - especially when you combine it with a textbook that is also a sales brochure for the thing that it’s teaching you to use. I think that that’s unethical and usually a sign of a cruddy textbook.

Dreamweaver, like Flash, is basically past its sell-by date. Its feature-set is best for the low-end, but as a member of Adobe’s Creative Suite of apps, it’s priced for the high end. If you’re just tinkering with web sites, with static pages, it might be helpful - but it’s also quite likely to be overwhelming. If you’re on the high end, writing web content in PHP/Ruby/Python, Dreamweaver is probably going to be inadequate, especially if you’ve already got your own IDE and content management. I can’t see a good spot in the market for it. I’ll grant that it would have been an amazing tool to have in 1999, and to Macromedia’s credit, it was pretty dang good in 1999. But it hasn’t been 1999 for a long time now.

Modern web content creation has simply outgrown Dreamweaver. This is less speculative than with Flash - Dreamweaver is straight-up inadequate, and its presence in business environments is a sign of clinging to legacy commitments that are long-term losers. Anything Dreamweaver can do can probably be accomplished for free with fewer licensing headaches and a lower workstation and server resource footprint.

Despite the kvetching about Dreamweaver and Flash, I’m pretty fond of Adobe. Dreamweaver and Flash both had a useful lifetime, which is more than you can say for some products, and as corporations go, Adobe is fairly non-evil. But right now, it looks like any application that can be written in JavaScript, will eventually be written in JavaScript. This is trouble for Adobe, one of the giants of desktop software, a company with a lot to lose by anyone’s measure. They’ve responded with Adobe Air, which is nice, but seems unlikely to replace browsers for the tasks that Adobe’s core apps address. What else is Adobe doing to move to the next paradigm? I hope it’s doing something, because we’re seeing irrefutable evidence in the music, movie, and dead-tree industries that trying to sue the next paradigm out of existence is a loser’s game and just ensures that you won’t make money on what comes next.