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GoLive CS vs. Dreamweaver MX 2004

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This issue came up as an OT thread on the BlueWord InDesign Talk list. Since I decided to add my branch to the fire, I figured I should post this here as well. Enjoy. I hope to hear from any of you who have opposing, or similar opinions.

Ahh, this is a wonderful debate. Always has been, always will be.

General assumptions of market leaders aside (Windows & viruses, Internet Explorer & bad standards compliance), Dreamweaver (DW) is far superior to GoLive (GL) in many ways. DW is a market leader because it gets the job done, period. It also happens to have a great UI. The UI of DW allows me to work faster then the UI of GL.

I have used both since it was called GoLive Cyber Studio (I looked at version 1 but did not use it until version 2) and Dreamweaver 1.2, and I like both, I just find DW much easier and faster to use. GL used to have database connectivity, why oh why did they take it out? Was it because it never worked? I never tried database stuff in GL, so I cannot say. I have used the database tools in UltrDev and DW for a while now, and am pretty comfortable with the features and limitations that MX and MX 2004 bring to the table.

It has been said, and I agree, that GL is a page designers web tool, and DW is a code junkies web tool. I spend half my web dev time in BBEdit anywho, so I think I fall into the code junkie stereotype. I never liked how things are done in GL. I have always preferred the DW way of getting it done. It just feels more natural to me, GL makes me do things all bass-akwards at times.

Live Objects in GL rock, but I will get to those in a minute. Multimedia PDF in GL rocks. And the best feature of all in GL is the extensive support for QuickTime content. One summer I worked with streaming QT Servers and LiveStage Pro and GL could handle ANY type of media I threw at it. Even QuickTime VR. It will handle (and has a QuickTime Editor UI to create/tweak) any type of QuickTime media track. Embedding Poster Frames and all the needed QuickTime code is so much easier in GL. There is a nice behavior for DW for Poster Frames, but its pretty lame compared to GL.

I like Live Objects but I do not love them. If I want/need to edit a graphic I will go into Photoshop etc. and make the change and re-export the file(s) for the web. I like doing it that way. Being able to place Photoshop and Illustrator files in InDesign and then update the links is different. Live Objects tries to do that for the web, and I do not think the the parallels for web and print are there. Live Objects is not a selling point (for me.) The insane amount of QuickTime integration in GL, that is a selling point.

GL 6 was not that impressive. It felt like GL 5 that worked in OS X. Was it GL 5 that had the database functionality, or was that GL 6? I cannot remember. GL CS has some nice improvements. It is faster then 6 was, I think that is its best new feature. InDesign Package for GoLive is an interesting concept, but so far I do not like the results when the InDesign layouts get spat out for the web. The new CSS editor in GL CS is nice. I however think the new CSS features in DW MX 2004 are rock solid (Relevant CSS panel), and a lot nicer then what is available in GL CS. I also prefer the CSS editing window in DW over that of GL.

On the hand coding side, of which I like to do a lot of in both DW and GL, I prefer DW again. The HomeSite like features added in MX and improved upon in MX 2004 are wonderful. I always wanted HomeSite on the Mac, and while the Windows version of DW has a few more HomeSite like features then the Mac version of DW, it is still really handy to have those drop down menus in code view. To GL’s credit, it too has this feature now.

GL CS has a much improved UI over GL 6. I really like it. I prefer the DW UI, but the GL UI is now much easier to work with. I just wish GL, Like all the Adobe apps in the CS Suite, worked the same. Namely, I wish they all worked like InDesign CS. I wish I could make my palette a one row horizontal bar, I wish I could collapse my palettes to the sides of the screen, I wish the Keyboard shortcut editor was identical in all apps, I wish, I wish, I wish. The CS thing would have meant so much more if all the apps involved had the same palette structure. That being said, GL’s redesigned Object palette is very useable now.

Both GL and DW can produce some pretty horrid spaghetti code when they are all done and ready to publish to the web. I find DW the lesser of the two evils, but it is still not as nice and clean as if I just did it all myself in BBEdit. But we use DW or GL so that our fingers do not turn into bloody nubs. So I can put up with some spaghetti code if it lets me develop a site quicker.

I have given GL a try on a few occasions, developing a site from start to finish, and I keep coming back to DW.

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About Ken Edwards

  • Rob

    thanks man that was just the kind of comments I was looking for. Now I feel confident sticking with dreamweaver