NYTimes.com hand-codes its HTML

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85 Responses to “NYTimes.com hand-codes its HTML”

  1. ill007 says:

    I’m not sure if my past 10 years experience solely in one sector (Investment Banking / Wall St.) although in numerous firms and capacities might cloud my judgement, I’ve found one trend to be quite common: Being multi-talented or ‘well rounded’ in skills related to your job function is certainly conducive to career longevity, marketability, and advancement. As for the vi/dw/emacs/etc/etc debate, the ability to perform your function with free, readily available tools some of which are likely to be pre-installed on your target systems is often a plus in massive, bureaucratic, strictly administered corporate environments. The ability to hit the ground running on a number of platforms or in multiple locations without waiting for a copy of xxx to be installed (after various levels of approval, license purchase or allocation, billing to appropriate cost-center(s), help desk ticket assignment, and visit by your group’s smugnosed Nick Burns) is one many managers and colleagues will appreciate.

    Like it’s been said in earlier posts, when the coder/designer role can be decoupled, a well staffed project that works together will balance out. When a shaky economy or poor company performance got the better of the highest execs, I’ve seen more top rate ‘pure’ designers get cut, outsourced, or deemed redundant than mediocre to midrange coders (since many or most coders possess skills that can perform or appeal to numerous roles/groups/units)

    As for the nyt, the father inlaw just recently retired from his post as an ad trafficker and after hearing his stories of Mac, PC, and the fumbling around when interoperability was required, this headline made him both laugh and grimace.

  2. arkizzle says:

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

    Meh, go to bed, I’ll call you if it turns ugly.

    *imagining what coders turning ugly might look like*

    ..not much different – ZING! :p

  3. Toby says:

    I can’t believe that in the middle of two-dimensonal flamewar (platform x editor) that no one has mentioned TextMate. I must say that it’s made my hand-coding life much better, since any given document may be a mash of php, html, css, and js in varying proportions. TM’s automagically sniffs out the varioius suspects, gets syntax colors right for them, and give you context-specific autocompletion etc. I much prefer it to monster-sized IDEs like Eclipse or Komodo.

  4. daniel says:

    I code with a pencil on blank paper writing only Zeros and Ones. Tough? Yes. Fast? No.

    All these modern day IDE’s are for pussies. Take your Eclipse plugins and plug them where the sun ain’t shining.

  5. Regis says:

    “to dismiss DW offhand (nowadays) is silly…back when it did produce some really crappy code. DW8.x started to fix a lot of those issues and DW9.x is getting even better.”

    Wow, it’s only 10% crappy code now? Sign me up!

    Seriously people, WYSIWYG tools – even if one did exist that made good code – are SLOWER than hand coding in the long run. This is because an experienced coder creates self-documenting code designed for easy maintenance. From the names of variables/classes/id’s to a flexible structure that can easily be modified to fit potential design changes, hand coding is superior for all but the simplest projects. And even for those, I would only recommend WYSIWYG for people who will not be doing this for a living, like my grandma.

    Ever tried to make manual modifications to something generated by a WYSIWYG? Try it someday, you will wish you were never born.

    Obviously Mac vs PC is a retarded point to bring into this discussion.

  6. scolbath says:

    #42: You say “it’s all about precise control of the content”. Amazingly enough, that’s what people said in the 80s when they refused to use compliers. “But I’m just more efficient!” “The complier can’t optimize like I can”. “I don’t believe the complier can produce good code”.

    Are the tools really this bad? Maybe we’re really just stuck in the 80s.

  7. xopl says:

    TOBY:

    Oh, but I did. See comment #45.

  8. weas says:

    #54

    zeros and ones on blank paper? boh! Everybody knows real programmers use butterflies!

    http://www.xkcd.org/378/

  9. Cowicide says:

    #52 posted by weas

    Yeah, I’m a coder…

    I fricken’ knew it! LOL ; )

    99% of designers simply can’t code.

    I assume you are only using 99% as an expression, I would hope, but anyway…

    Designers who can’t code at all, not even simple HTML? I’d say only around 10-30%

    Designers who can code simple HTML? I’d say around 65-80%
    Actually, many kids in public school are taught basic HTML skills nowadays.

    Designers that are great with advanced coding beyond standard HTML? Probably only 20 to 30 percent, if that?

    But, I think you missed my point… a high percentage of designers KNOW when they can’t code too well and don’t try to play it off and will hand it off to a coder.

    A bad design will go up from a decent coder and at least “function” to some degree and they can fool themselves into thinking it’s great. On the other hand, bad code from a decent desiger will often break the site’s functionality in some way that’s more obvious to any lay-person.

    I guess it’s just easier for coders to fool themselves into thinking they are great designers. That’s why that happens more often.

    And I’m not talking about some html… Any serious web development nowadays include databases, web services, etc…

    Well, you DO know that Dreamweaver will generate pages for you in PHP, ASP, JSP, CFM, etc., etc, etc. and will even let you set up a test server, etc.?

    Well, anyway…. I’ll just say this:

    The best coders are the ones that respect the importance and skill of design and (natch) the best designers respect the importance and skill of proper code.

  10. afo says:

    two things I find myself wanting that I’m missing in TextPad: autocomplete (mostly for CSS & JS), and a pop-up function reference, mostly for PHP & JS – e.g. reminding me if the function is (haystack, needle) vs. (needle, haystack). any recommendations?

  11. mrfitz says:

    kudos.

    Experience: boss assigns web page development task, perform task using text editor, other employee uses DW, time wasted developing page.

  12. Deadmeat says:

    @55 You say “it’s all about precise control of the content”. Amazingly enough, that’s what people said in the 80s when they refused to use compliers. “But I’m just more efficient!” “The complier can’t optimize like I can”. “I don’t believe the complier can produce good code”.

    Are the tools really this bad? Maybe we’re really just stuck in the 80s.

    In my experience, the tools were that bad.

    I don’t think you can use that excuse any more though, at least with Dreamweaver, as it’s leaps and bounds better than it was years ago.

    While my experience with compilers is limited, I wouldn’t be surprised that they, in general, had some growing pains as well.

  13. weas says:

    #57

    “Well, you DO know that Dreamweaver will generate pages for you in PHP, ASP, JSP, CFM, etc., etc, etc. and will even let you set up a test server, etc.?”

    yeah, I know, as eclipse and other IDEs do, too… but you have to WRITE it. To write some php script in DW isn’t different to write it in eclipse. That’s what I said before: You could use DW, but if you want to do something profesional you have to do it as text-editor-on-steroids. I mean, html, as you said, can be written even by schoolkids. The hard part of a web development use to be the functionality, not presentation. And that’s php, asp, ruby or whatever you use, not html. And how many designers know how to do this? Very few. We are talking about complex programs here, not about something you could generate selecting some options in a wizard. We are not talking about setting a form with a couple of links and images, but about object orientation, php classes and AJAX. And you couldn’t skip to handwrite this kind of stuff.

    And about designers-programmers issue… it’s just the opposite, again: If a coder do both things the worst case it’s that you end with a horrible looking but functional site. Maybe the menus are wrong placed, but you after a while trying to figuring how it works, you can use it. But when a designer do both things, the worst case is that you end with a non-functional site. I find everyday beautiful designed sites that simply doesn’t run on opera, because the designer used that little javascript code that only works on IE. Or even more trivial programming errors…

  14. justONEguy says:

    I agree with the statement @32, but it needs some clarifying:

    Designers that think they are coders are bad.
    Coders who think they are designers are worse.

  15. abhik says:

    I first saw this “story” on reddit, then on slashdot and now here.. Is it that big a deal or is this just an example of the info overload thanks to “web 2.0″?

  16. arkizzle says:

    Funny thing is, when I was being taught C, the exams were to write a program that could do ‘x’, and we had to write it with pencil and paper. No syntax highlighting, no compiling to see if it works, just write the code, eye-ball for mistakes and hand it in.

    This is both clever and counter-intuitive.. It makes you not rely on the computer/highlighting to jog ur memory, and makes you understand rather than memorize..

    But it also doesn’t take into account that all but the most hardcore programmers don’t memorize all the codes they will ever need, and will either reference books or google regularly.

    It isn’t remembering codes that makes a programmer, it’s understanding syntax and knowing how to break down a task into useful chunks.

  17. pepsi_max2k says:

    Oh thank god i’m not the only one still doing that… :o)

  18. Regis says:

    Umm how is this different than any other major website? Is there ANY major site that doesn’t hand-code their html? If any of them got caught using Frontpage or Dreamweaver I think they would be laughed out of town. This is like saying Valve wrote Half-Life from scratch, instead of using GameMaker.

  19. trackpad says:

    Exactly what regis said.

  20. daniel says:

    Exactly what trackpad said.

    I can’t believe that this is a real story. Is this some follow up to ‘Untitled 1′?

    I work for a large digital company that produces websites and I don’t think there is any developer in our team of 30 that doesn’t “hand code”.

  21. arkizzle says:

    I forgot to write, against the exam method I mentioned, that besides not memorizing codes, it’s standard practice to compile to check for errors, multiple times before anything works.. So the exam is unrealistic in a real-world scenario.

  22. Caroline says:

    This thread is awesome.

    Your OS sucks, your text editor sucks, your pet sucks, and your political candidate sucks. Does that cover all the major flamewars? Can we move on?

    Weas @ 56 nails it, by the way. (I started recounting that comic to my advisor, who broke in to say “Obviously real programmers use emacs!” before I’d even gotten to the emacs part. It is a good thing advisor and I agree on text editors, or there might be bloodshed in the lab.)

    Also, my boyfriend the web designer prototypes with GUI tools and actually builds the thing by hand. Also, CSS FTW. (And, if the amount of curse words emanating from his office is any guide, Internet Explorer FTL.)

  23. Pandaemonium says:

    Frontpage all the way!

    (only joking, Every company I’ve worked for in eight years has hand coded)

    Have to agree with all the comments above.

  24. hemidemisemiquaver says:

    Arkizzle:
    Modern configurations of vi don’t force you to do silly things like use letters to move the cursor, and if you can’t deal with modal editing or remember things like ‘d means delete’, ‘w’ means word, etc., how could you efficiently use a program like photoshop?

    12-year-olds can remember complex key combos for video games with ease.

  25. Atomische says:

    Many large publishers (at least those who have their origins in print) have automated content copy flow systems that spit out HTML versions simultaneously with whatever versions are needed for syndication, print, etc. in whatever markup language those formats require.

    So it’s not really hand-code vs. wysiwyg-code, it’s hand-code vs. choose the story from a menu and click the publish button.

  26. Gort says:

    Well as a designer I build all my frontends with Dreamweaver (CSS positioning) then do cleanups by hand later. From my standpoint that’s faster, but the developers I’ve worked with usually do everything there out by hand.

    Funny article . . .

  27. BSUWG says:

    I hear the accountants at the NYT don’t use spreadsheets or even PCs… They’ve one back to ledger paper because it’s so much cleaner and more efficient. And, they stopped using calculators to check their math because it’s better to do it all by hand.

  28. vjinterkosmos says:

    #1: What do you mean “still doing that” ? I always thought WYSIWYG editors were a late-90s thing.

    Hand-coding, abolutely. In Dreamweaver. With all kinds of AJAX trickery, PHP, Flash, whatever the WYSIWYG view is pretty useles anyhow.

    Edit, ctrl-shift-U, alt-tab to ‘fox, F5, ctrl-tab to IETab, F5, sigh, alt-tab, repeat.

  29. Cowicide says:

    #79 posted by BSUWG

    …they stopped using calculators to check their math because it’s better to do it all by hand.

    They may only imagine they are getting things done faster that way, but man… it’s got so much more soul. LOL

  30. pepsi_max2k says:

    #8: me too. boing boing suggested otherwise; damn their subversive nature. i feel all dirty and normal again now :o(

  31. Kyle Armbruster says:

    I write about one website a year, and I’ve always found programs like Dreamweaver kind of a pain. That’s what I usually use, but, like #8, it’s just to rough in the page. I always end up in the source editor eventually. It’s the only way to get exactly what you want.

  32. Antinous says:

    I hear the accountants at the NYT don’t use spreadsheets or even PCs

    Actually there’s an article in today’s news about them upgrading to Office 2003.

  33. xopl says:

    The funny thing about vi is, if you don’t want to use it, guess what, you don’t have to! There’s pico, nano, emacs, whateverthefuck.

    It’s not like IE6 where you have no choice but to deal with its broken implementation of HTML and CSS. Burning hatred and vituperation towards IE6 makes sense for this reason.

    Spouting death towards vi just makes you sound like a big fat baby who hates anything that the big fat baby is too impatient or stupid to figure out.

    UNLESS somebody starts the argument by telling you that YOUR editor sucks first. Then, please, flame away.

  34. Cowicide says:

    Real men hand code and do it fast because they load up on jolt cola.

    Yeah, no real pro web site developer would ever use Dreamweaver or a Mac for that matter. You can’t compete using those products. Just stick with hand coding everything on a PC. And, don’t use Coda on Mac either, it’s just getting closer to using Dreamweaver which every pro knows is absolutely useless… like Macs. Yep, the only way is hand coding (which is incredibly fast) with a basic text editor. Be sure to avoid BBedit too, it’s also getting closer to Dreamweaver non-functionality and time-wasting additions that couldn’t possibly make web site production faster and better.

  35. vjinterkosmos says:

    #10: Kyle, I meant to say I use Dreamweaver as my source editor – I’ve sort of forgotten there even is a WYSIWYG interface in DW.

    Sketchpad, markers, post-its and coffee, that’s where I work out the roughs. After a while you start slicing TV graphics and roadside billboards into DIVs and spans unconsciously.

  36. Antinous says:

    Dreamweaver has a WYSIWYG interface? I guess I never pressed that button. It’s dead useful for site management, checking for bugs, snippets, etc. WYSIWYG might save you time on a three page website, but as you get larger, coding becomes far more efficient for time and, of course, bandwidth.

  37. vjinterkosmos says:

    WYWIWYG: What you want is what you get.

    Except flash.

  38. Jeff says:

    Is hand coding really faster? I have nothing against line work in HTML, but there has to be a better way of doing the work. Maybe it’s not Dreamweaver, but something. Technology is going to have to get faster by orders of magnitude and we need that speed yesterday.

  39. arkizzle says:

    COW, really?

    Is that where you want to drag this?

    Into an *ugh* mac vs windows debate? You had a potentially valid point in the first place, but by the time you had written ‘Mac’ for the third time, in that derogatory tone, you had laboured it past usefulness.

    Meh.

  40. Cowicide says:

    #15 posted by arkizzle

    COW, really?

    IM ALL IN UR THREAD WIT HAND CODE LINK!!!11

    O RLY

  41. Antonio Silva says:

    I’m a semi-professional webdesigner and I use Dreamweaver. I code by hand and I use the WYSIWYG interface and that suits me fine. I find it a bit tiring this snobbish attitute of hand coders, WYSIWYG is not perfect but it does save time when used in conjuction with normal coding, and it’s just easier to use for simple stuff. I’m supposing all coders out there don’t use either OpenOffice or Word and stick to LaTeX then…

  42. assumetehposition says:

    I think part of the issue has to do the lack of proper training in the web design field. For years now, print designers have had to pick up the slack when colleges refuse to train web-specific designers. Most print designers who end up doing web design are self-taught, and aren’t familiar with the myriad compatibility issues between platforms and browsers.

    Compounding the issue is the fact that HR departments are instructed to look for graphic designers when they really need web designers. They don’t realize they are divergent fields.

    Because web design is 2/3 programming and 1/3 actual design, companies should be hiring a web programmer to hard-code the website, and a web designer (or user-interface designer) to design the look and feel of the site.

  43. Meyer says:

    You know, I interviewed for a position at a “news” website once. In that interview they were quite proud of the fact they didn’t use anything like Dreamweaver. With that statement, a lot of question got answered. No wonder their pages never loaded properly (PC or Mac) (IE or Firefox).

    Dreamweaver isn’t the end all, but if used in it’s proper context, it’s just fine.

    Is it a full up development tool? Absolutely not. But, of the tools I have used, from a designer’s perspective, it’s far better than anything else.

    I’ve worked in shops that claimed to “hand coded everything.” When it came down to it, they used a wysiwyg in some form or another to create the big picture, then they sort of stiched it all together by hand. More often than not, they’d then turn to me and my trusty copy of Dreamweaver to actually make their hand coded pieces actually work or be usable.

  44. Simon Greenwood says:

    Jeff@14: You might be able to prototype a site quicker using Dreamweaver et al for a static site but it’s not simple to use when dealing with dynamic data. In addition, what is called ‘the semantic web’ advocates the separation of appearance from content, with the content controlled by simple HTML such as lists and paragraphs and the appearance by CSS. Dreamweaver is pretty good these days but it hasn’t really got a handle on inserting content so the last mile almost invariably gets done by hand.

  45. Simon Greenwood says:

    Meyer@19: That’s complete nonsense. Someone who codes by hand produces the same code as Dreamweaver as they’re using the same language. Whichever way you do it the cycle is the same: code, test, release. If it doesn’t work on a particular browser then it should be corrected until it does – the newspaper’s QA department obviously wasn’t doing their job.

  46. Cowicide says:

    #83 posted by Regis , May 1, 2008 (up at 4:43 AM trying to fix his hand code)

    “to dismiss DW offhand (nowadays) is silly…back when it did produce some really crappy code. DW8.x started to fix a lot of those issues and DW9.x is getting even better.”

    Wow, it’s only 10% crappy code now? Sign me up!

    Please bear with me, while I make some more “retarded” points here.

    Oh noes… 10% of everything that comes out of people’s utilization of Dreamweaver is crappy code.. no matter how they utilize Dreamweaver!!! LOL!!!!! You don’t get it, do you?

    First of all, Dreamweaver does not add custom markup, styles, or alter your code in any way, unless you explicitly tell it to (’Apply Source Formatting’ command), etc. and, when you use it in a way that it does create code, you can control it in various ways. Plus, how does a professional define “crappy code”? Bloated, unreadable or non-cross browser code, right?

    You are obviously coming at this from an uneducated angle. In other words, you probably dabbled with Dreamweaver back when it was developed by Macromedia some years ago and/or before DW8.x-9.x and haven’t kept up with it in recent years.

    Dreamweaver is great at tackling cross browser issues unlike many strict (purist.. LOL) hand coders out there (in a much faster fashion as well) and IF you utilize Dreamweaver PROPERLY you won’t need to deal with bloat either. And, it’s already been mentioned it’s great for collaboration (on many levels) if you know how to utilize it properly.

    When I said DW9.x is getting even better… Yep. You got me… It DOES still need hand coding for certain relatively esoteric (and some not so esoteric) tasks. But, Hahaha… you can take care of it much of it with extremely time-saving Extensions… custom made or otherwise (which … *cough* happen to often destroy the time it takes to hand code the shit repeatedly).

    No, Dreamweaver doesn’t code your Java for you, but it doesn’t screw it up either when you inject it in there (and it gladly assists you when you inject it with various time saving procedures, tools, etc. (I could train you in this, but I’m sorry… I’d have to charge you consultation fees first if you’re not willing to learn these facts on your own).

    Oh, and let’s not forgot the massive time you can save with custom history panel commands, because I’m sure you’ve used that extensively as well and found it of absolutely no use compared to strictly hand coding shit, correct? LOL And I’m sure using gestures is out of the question for you as well… I mean, we would not want to save time and avoid carpal tunnel syndrome while we are it, would we? Hahaha… no expense there for employees with a crippling syndrome, right?

    Also, I’m sure where you work your entity never has had to deal with situations where making development easier for people in training, temps, etc. could perhaps help general productivity and, in effect, help the company’s bottom line, right? Or, I guess, in LaLa land, all new hires are the model employees you dream of with all the proper knowledge and the company can always afford at any time to bring in this kind of talent whenever various projects pop up spontaneously…. riiiight???? LOL Some tools that assist with development in this case just doesn’t happen, no matter how much reality dictates it. Hahaha…

    Seriously people, WYSIWYG tools – even if one did exist that made good code – are SLOWER than hand coding in the long run. This is because an experienced coder creates self-documenting code designed for easy maintenance. From the names of variables/classes/id’s to a flexible structure that can easily be modified to fit potential design changes, hand coding is superior for all but the simplest projects.

    You’re wrong.

    You don’t think out of your narrow little box very often, do you? What rule is there out there that says you can’t perform hybrid work using the WYSIWYG tools ALONG with hand coding for maximum speed, efficiency and control?

    I hate to break it to you, but as many have been trying to say throughout this thread… using Dreamweaver alongside hand coding IS FASTER in the short AND long run because of the many tools Dreamweaver offers (and customizations, mind you).

    Unheard of, you say!!? LOL I’ve seen smarter fortune 500 companies do it… LOL… But, I’m sure you’d come in and rock their worlds with your hand coding purist attitude and in one fell swoop increase the bottom line of the company, eh? LOL I should also note that just about all of those companies use Dreamweaver in different ways, some more efficiently than udders and also utilizing different applications of it. But, you and your grandma know that already, right?

    And even for those, I would only recommend WYSIWYG for people who will not be doing this for a living, like my grandma.

    Well, you and your grandma should talk with some of these Fortune 500 companies and many pro developers out there that use Dreamweaver. They don’t know that what they are doing isn’t making them a living!

    Ever tried to make manual modifications to something generated by a WYSIWYG? Try it someday, you will wish you were never born.

    Then you should have used the WYSIWYG tool, LOL. But seriously, ever tried to make manual modifications to crappy hand code? Absolute nightmare. Once again, just like any udder tool out there, Dreamweaver can be used properly and improperly. But to throw out the baby with the bathwather is sheer idiocy.

    Obviously Mac vs PC is a retarded point to bring into this discussion.

    So, how do you test to make sure your code renders fine in Safari, retard?

    Or, do you blow off millions of users of your client’s website? Or, do you purchase a separate machine just for testing and waste money and time… you know, once you struggle getting all the spyware, adware and shit off your PC to fit in some time to test code on your Mac? LOL

    Look, I’m not going to do the typical inane argument with you on WHY there aren’t viruses, etc. propagating for shit on OS X because I’m sure you’ll throw in the soundly disproven market-share scenario where (hahaha) the only reason you don’t find this crap on Mac is because of “security through obscurity” which all us security experts knows works so well, riiight? LOL Nothing to do with its roots in open source UNIX, riiiight? Nevermind that when Apple had far less marketshare and attention, there were over 40 viruses happily propagating in the wild for OS 9 and now with far more marketshare, etc. OS X is relatively virus free in terms of propagation, etc.? So we’ll just skip that…. LOL

    Let’s skip all that, and look at the current reality.

    A PC is nearly twice as expensive as a Mac when one takes support costs into account of antivirus protection, firewalls, and IT labor to keep a PC secure. This is not including the higher hardware maintenance, training issues and so on and so on… Oh yeah, and resale value of Macs is much higher too, so when it’s time to upgrade you get the added bonus of collecting more money from your old Macs to go towards the new ones. Study after independent study shows that using Macs save companies money. Uh, and you do know that Macs run Vista faster than any Windows only computer, right? And at rare times when you have to run Windows specific apps on the Mac it’s a trivial process, right?

    Don’t take my word on it, some of this info is from a little PC magazine called NetworkWorld (you may have heard of it?) … But, that’s a “retarded” point for developers, right?

    But, go ahead and stay curled up in your little ball in your little box.

  47. Cowicide says:

    arkizzle, to clarify, my sarcasm was directed to the “experts” up there in this thread that basically said no major site developers use Dreamweaver and then mocked Boing Boing in various ways for even bringing this “moot point” up. Also, I find the “he-man” approach to hand coding everything pretty fucking hilarious.

    now, if their point is that there are no top developers that can’t hand code at all (i.e., can’t go beyond what DW9.x can do and extend it)… then I agree. I haven’t met anyone that can’t code at all and still compete well.

    but, actually, I happen to know plenty of pros that utilize DW in conjunction with hand coding and not only “compete” against “purist” hand coders… but also destroy them in both design and in speed – you know, getting a superior product finished…. in LESS time. The WYSIWYG interface is just one small aspect of what DW offers for devs, but i’m sure those experts up there know that already, huh? i bet they also have rigorously tried using DW9.x with xGestures as well, huh? LOL

    at the same time, certain types of projects or parts of projects come up where they only use DW for editing code in “code view” or skip it all together and use less bloated apps (like Coda) and/or other apps more suitable for CSS, etc.

    but, to dismiss DW offhand (nowadays) is silly. i usually find that comes from people who haven’t used DW in quite a few years… back when it did produce some really crappy code. DW8.x started to fix a lot of those issues and DW9.x is getting even better.

    How can you spot someone who hasn’t actually used DW in recent years, but bashes it anyway? They compare it with Frontpage usually.

  48. Deadmeat says:

    I’m a professional web developer who has coded by hand for 10+ years in many programming languages. I’ve always hated WISYWIG tools for all of the extra junk that they put in the code that could have been done much more elegantly with half the amount of characters.

    I’m currently using Dreamweaver CS3. In its ‘Code’ view, it’s a pretty powerful text editor with some nice auto-complete features once you get the hang of them.

    The rare times I use the ‘Design’ view is as a quick preview window and I don’t actually modify anything in that view. Obviously all of your testing should be done in the specific browsers themselves.

    So it makes me think that this design director is so far removed from the grunt work of coding (and advice of his coders) that he’d make a blanket statement like that. Either that, or he’s just so old school that he doesn’t know that the latest products compensate for a programmer’s desire to hand code.

  49. Cowicide says:

    #82 posted by ill007

    When a shaky economy or poor company performance got the better of the highest execs, I’ve seen more top rate ‘pure’ designers get cut, outsourced, or deemed redundant than mediocre to midrange coders…

    Are you talking about basic graphic designers or designers of entire websites? GUI, structure, content, etc., etc.? If you are talking about the designers we are talking about in this thread then…

    You forgot to finish your sentence…

    “…and they eventually just went down the shitter at an even faster rate and went out of business… or got lucky and perhaps were bought out for pennies on the dollar and then got “restructured” (a.k.a. someone brought better design talent back in so they could start making profits again).”

    Having “pure” coders handle all the design has proven to be corporate suicide. Even most talented, pro coders will tell you that.

    Sure, in the extreme short term you may save a buck or two but soon the chickens will come home to roost and it’ll end up being a financial disaster overall.

  50. Glenn Fleishman says:

    Per @6: “So it’s not really hand-code vs. wysiwyg-code, it’s hand-code vs. choose the story from a menu and click the publish button.”

    Yes, this story has gotten weird play, like Vinh was saying that they code every page by hand, rather than what they’re doing: hand tuning templates.

    I could be wrong, but all CMS systems I’ve seen really require hand tooling. You can’t use Dreamweaver except for prototyping, which some people do.

    I use CSSEdit on the Mac to make and clean CSS, and it allows me to write CSS by hand or use a GUI back and forth while overriding a Web page’s embedded CSS or externally referenced CSS and previewing a live page that you can reload. This gives me most of what I need in a GUI.

  51. airship says:

    Two tools:

    (1) Notepad2
    (2) HTMLTidy

    That’s it.

  52. afo says:

    I prefer the design and rigorous coding standards of bugmenot myself.

    and dreamweaver code stinks like ye old neighborhood sewage treatment facility (wind depending)

  53. afo says:

    (3) Firebug

  54. Cowicide says:

    #18 posted by assumetehposition , April 30, 2008 6:16 AM

    …Because web design is 2/3 programming and 1/3 actual design…

    LOL!! Maybe where you work!!

    That kind of ratio spawns shit like this….
    via boingboing entry:
    â–º Car dealer site is “champion in the annals of bad interfaces”

    Some of the worst sites I’ve ever experienced were made by coders who don’t have the experience, talent or extensive training it takes to actually design… but they either downplay design, or worse, think they CAN design. LOL

  55. yish says:

    real men use vi. (I use whatever I find on the computer in front of me)

  56. vjinterkosmos says:

    #49: Precisely. IMO designers (web interface designers, to nitpick) should be privy to secret coder talk as well as know the reasonable limits of the technology.

    Requirements for the job: Able to write a static XHTML page with proper PHP calls for CMS functions (build templates in other words), style it using CSS, validating both, bullet-proofing your baby against MS browsers. While dodging any idiocies the go-betweens (ad agencies, normally) throw your way.

    “Make it blink, it’ll drawn attention”. Somedays you just need an afternoon drink after breaking the rules above because the client has an Insight.

    #52: Simple, standard HTML is just what you want. Nothing more. The rest is handled by CSS, Ajax, whatnot.

    Fortunately, today the semantic structure and content are pretty much separated from presentation. So whatever you client wants, your CMS can spit out standard (strict, if possible) XHTML and you know how to style it to specs. If you can’t, you lost the job, if it’s stupid or impossible, you tell the client so.

  57. vjinterkosmos says:

    #73: Dreamweaver :D

  58. arkizzle says:

    HEMI:

    ..if you can’t deal with..

    Once again, why are you having to reduce my opinion to my ability to ‘deal’ with modal editing?

    12-year-olds can remember complex key combos..

    So.. I’m less able than a 12 year old? I don’t follow..

    Seriously, you need to step back, and hear me say I DON’T LIKE IT, not I’m so retarded I can’t use hotkeys or combos.

    There is no comparison to Photoshop to make. Nor did I mention Vim. As I understand it, Vi still follows the letter-navigation convention.

    __

    XOPL, I almost fully agree with you. You are right, vi is just anther editor that I will use or not.

    I originally said ‘fuck vi’ lightheartedly, thinking all the ppl who have stuggled with it, might get a giggle, because it has a reputation for being an cumbersome beast.

    Still, I don’t like it. Either I have a valid opinion, and am allowed to joke with people who may or may not share that opinion – but who definitely know enough to understand the opinion, and laugh or not.. or I’m a “big fat baby”.

    That’s a toughy.

  59. vjinterkosmos says:

    #23: word.

    (not the product but, u know, the expression)

  60. factotum says:

    adobe contribute all day!

  61. Meyer says:

    Coders who think they are designers are bad.
    Designers that think they are coders are bad.

    The two should work together.

    But, there are times when they can’t and that’s when you get the kinda crap pointed out by #28.

    ANY Tool, in the “wrong” hands can be bad.

    I remember when Dreamweaver did all the bad things folks are talking about on this list (i.e. inserting extra or bad code). But I also know how much it has matured and how little, by comparison, it does it now.

  62. Meyer says:

    I remember a time, in the print world, when using rubylithe and wax paste ups was the ONLY way to setup a print job. “Them computer things” were only good for setting type.

    Handcoding does have it’s place, no doubt, but to list it as a virtue and the only way to go is just neanderthal thinking.

  63. Jeff says:

    A little off topic, but: I learned to code in notepad. If I was going to use software like frontpage or dreamweaver or some other, are there any recommendations?

  64. arkizzle says:

    COW, thanks for the (second :p) clarification.

    Your first comment just read like so many similar (but serious) comments I’ve read over the years, about everything from macs to coding to usenet to bbs’. So, props to you for getting the tone right I suppose.

    Personally I am a hand-coder, simply because it’s how I started. I remember, when it came out, trying to use ‘Composer’ in Netscape Communicator to wysiwyg some pages together.. I was rightly appalled and ran straight back to my textEditor.

    That said, it was 11 years ago, and shit musta changed by now. I have no doubt DW is a solid program (if a little code-bloated in output), and like all great programs, it’s results can be vastly improved by understanding what is going on under the bonnet (‘hood’ if ur from the US)..

    However, Yish:

    FUCK Vi

    Fuck it to hell and back. (precluding all the vi-boys: yes it can do stuff, but its pure grief to figure out)

  65. Cowicide says:

    We’re all still fightin’, right? ; )

    @ #60 posted by weas

    Actually, I hate to break it to you but you can utilize Ajax by selecting some options in a DW “wizard” (as you call it). And, that kinda shows you haven’t kept up with DW in recent years, perhaps? ; )

    Granted, for more advanced customizations, etc. you should definitely know how to code Ajax, but I’ve already made that basic point over and over throughout this thread up there. Keep in mind too, you CAN make your own DW extensions and use others as well! A huge time saver… but, anyway, I digress….

    You do realize that Opera marketshare is currently around 0.69% (just slightly ahead of Netscape)? LOL. At this point, it’s up to the Opera devs to make its browser conform; not the web devs so much.

    If a javascript works perfectly in various incarnations of Firefox, IE6/7 and Safari… Opera had better get on board and fast!! LOL 0.69% just doesn’t give em’ much pull. As a matter of fact, Opera was clinging so heavily to proper web standards that it hurt its climb in marketshare and now they’ve updated Opera to include workarounds to help web sites display properly! To hell with perfect standards! That’s not fair in a perfect world, heh… Take that, stickler coders! LOL

    Would you hold up production on a rush job if everything worked fine, but Opera takes a shit on something? Thank God there are people who look at real world scenarios outside of “coding” who control the coders or no one would make money… LOL – Same goes for lots of crappy designers out there too.

    I see your designer horror stories there… but, believe me, you don’t want me (or anyone else here) to go into all the numerous massive fuckups we’ve seen from coders who don’t know shit about real business issues, design, GUIs, etc. but still think they design “great”, deserve money and accolades for their work and are in shock… SHAWK!! when a good, productive, creative design team (that means good code too) comes in and swoops their client away because they produce something better than “perfect code”… a strong ROI for the client. (FTW!!)

    If you think more coders know design better than designers know code, then I think you are looking at things from a skewed perspective. Maybe you think design is “easy” compared to coding? Then great design is far more complex than you know… shitty design? Easy as pie! Good designers can shit out unintelligent work that doesn’t contribute to a client’s ROI in a heartbeat. Strategic design that actually makes your clients shitloads of money? That’s a whole nuther ballpark.

    But, anyway… I think you missed my various points about coders and designers (and all the hybrids) so I’ll drop it here or I’ll just be repeating myself which I already have a bad habit of doing anyway.

    @ #61 posted by justONEguy

    LOL, right on…. Hahaha…

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into hand coded sites that don’t work properly in some of the main browsers and to add insult to injury the nonsensical GUI makes the web user jump through hoops (and is too cumbersome) to get anywhere.

    Some coders will even put up a message that tells web users to get Firefox instead of IE to see the site properly!!! I would fire a coder on the spot for that and dust her or his reproductive organ with saltpeter to keep em’ from reproducing.

  66. weas says:

    (4) Firebug

  67. xopl says:

    ARKIZZLE,

    Actually my comment originally started out with “I can definitely understand where the vi haters are coming from…”

    It certainly is a complicated beast to start with.

    Still, since it is something you can avoid fairly easily… hating it seems like a waste of time.

    You were joking. I get it. I smiled when you condemned it the first time.

  68. scolbath says:

    I’m sorry, but am I the only one here who finds this incredibly sad? Is this really the state of the much vaunted Web 2.0/3.0/whatever – that people are bragging about HAND CODING their content?

    How many people are sitting around being proud of assembly-coding in x86? In 2008?

  69. weas says:

    #28

    My experience is just the opposite. Most of the worst works I’ve seen are probably from designers who think they can code, but they doesn’t even know what a standard is.

  70. arkizzle says:

    I smiled when you condemned it the first time.

    Good, so did I.

    The second time, I was reasserting to HemiDemiSemiQuaver that I’m allowed have an opinion unrelated to my abilities.

    Please excuse both the capitals and the repetition.

  71. vjinterkosmos says:

    #37: uh, the guys breaking the ground at, you said it, Assembly.

  72. maestrosync says:

    He’s not actually hand-coding their content–he clearly says that they use a template-based CMS. Anyhow, Khoi Vinh knows what he’s talking about and he’s got a good blog (subtraction.com) too.

  73. Cowicide says:

    BTW…

    Which is faster?

    1) typing out links: -a href=”http://www.yayimaroughntuffhandcoder.com/greatpage.html”-Here’s my great link thing-/a-????

    or

    highlight / drag arrow

    ?

    LOL

    Not to mention, Adobe DW is great for collaboration and despite the “experts” up there I know of top fortune 500 company departments that use it extensively. Oh, and it works fairly seamlessly with Adobe Contribute so that (oh no! the hand coders gasp) even other non-IT office workers can quickly and easily (and safely) change up stuff on the site if they have an authorization key sent to them. I’ve seen plenty of technophobes (some elderly too) ace Contribute because it’s so user friendly.

    Contribute is very advanced in its GUI – the staff using it can actually find links by browsing the web and even get a little thumbnail preview of the site after they make it link so they can be sure they picked the right one. It not only has “undo” for them, but will also let them rollback to previous versions that are stored by Contribute on the server (they can pick it by date and time). Meanwhile, the IT staff can monitor everything they are doing in DW while collaborating with each other through the DW interface. Welp, I’ll stop here, this is just a very tiny aspect of the power of using DW. Any more info and I’ll need to charge consultation fees. LOL

    Now, can both DW and Contribute be better? Absolutely. But to blow them off without first extensively testing them in real world environments and making sure that YOU are using them properly? Dumb, real dumb.

    I just can’t wait till DW handles CSS, Ajax, etc. better in the WYSIWYG panel and then we’ll really start to see some “purist” hand coders cry.

  74. Cowicide says:

    #76 posted by vjinterkosmos

    #73: Dreamweaver :D

    How very true (and very funny). XD

  75. Deadmeat says:

    @37 I’m sorry, but am I the only one here who finds this incredibly sad? Is this really the state of the much vaunted Web 2.0/3.0/whatever – that people are bragging about HAND CODING their content?

    It’s all about precise control of that content. “Back in the day”, Frontpage and Dreamweaver added all sorts of nonsense that would blow all your code to hell and back, and they’d have to find someone to remove or recode the page so that it would actually perform similarly across browsers.

    CSS has made this a little easier to deal with presently, not that there aren’t certain standards which aren’t correctly implemented in certain browsers.

    I have to say that one program that has been consistently good across the years is BBEdit. It’s a shame it’s Mac only.

  76. hemidemisemiquaver says:

    Arkizzle:
    You are ignorant. all extremely powerful software has a steep learning curve. Granted vi(m) requires a good deal of customization and knowledge to be worth it, but its extensibility is such that it can do literally anything any other text editor can, and is lightweight as hell to boot, unlike its main competitor which shall remain nameless. Vim increases my productivity many fold.

  77. weas says:

    oh, come on, all this stuff is a non-sense… people, we are talking about PROGRAMMING. Would someone thought that is weird C++ or Java coders ‘hand-code’ their stuff? Why is it different when we talk about the net?
    Let’s make things clear: If you are using DW or any other IDE to WRITE your code, you’re hand-writing it. Like most of the coders (the whole set, not only web-oriented ones) do. What matters that you hand-write it in DW, notepad2, vi or eclipse (with php extension = my choice)? You can’t implement any php, javascript or whatever without hand-writing it.

  78. xopl says:

    vi/vim does have a ridiculous learning curve…. but I have yet to find a faster way to jump into some files to make little edits. Sometimes I wish all editors had a keyboard mode like vim.

    Isn’t there a middle ground here, also, between doing everything in Notepad and doing everything in Dreamweaver? I use the text editor TextMate, which means I have snippets, tab completion, keyboard shortcuts, etc. that do tons of work for me. I don’t have to type out every CSS rule or HTML tag by hand — but still it isn’t a WYSIWYG at all.

    I’m weary of the CSS and HTML produced by third party software, but I guess I should give the direct-code-editing options of DW3 a chance before I bash it. I like TextMate because ultimately all the shortcuts that write bits of CSS and HTML for me were created or customized BY ME to produce the exact code that I WANT.

  79. weas says:

    #41

    “I just can’t wait till DW handles CSS, Ajax, etc. better in the WYSIWYG panel and then we’ll really start to see some “purist” hand coders cry.”

    The question is why are you using DW if TODAY you can’t handle “CSS, Ajax, etc” better than if you hand-write it…

  80. rswelling says:

    I “hand code” are my website code with a number 2 pencil and a sketch pad, then i photograph the document (film of course, usually T-max 400 because I’m liking the grain). After I print the homesite in custom darkroom, I scan it using the text translation (an upgrade to my Hel scanner which resides outside in the auto garage). I find this methods rather challenging, and it yields creative results that my clients don’t find enjoyment always. Take that…”New York Times”.

  81. arkizzle says:

    Arkizzle:
    You are ignorant.

    O noes!

    That’s a little broad, friend, seeing as how I made reference to a single program, of which you know nothing of my experience. And you granted the only point I was actually making, so what’s up?

    Yes, “all extremely powerful software has a steep learning curve”, does that mean I have to like this one? NO

    And don’t even imply that maybe I was saying ‘fuck vi’ because I prefer Word.. please.

    I use all sorts of programs, that I have sacrificed time, sanity and social standing to learn over the course of years. Terminal apps, web, 2d, 3d, music.. mostly they are pretty complicated and powerful. You have no grounds to call me ignorant of anything.

    Get to know me, there will be plenty of reasons to call me ignorant, this time however, I have my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

    Repeat: FUCK Vi

  82. Cowicide says:

    #38 posted by weas, April 30, 2008 7:37 AM

    My experience is just the opposite. Most of the worst works I’ve seen are probably from designers who think they can code, but they doesn’t even know what a standard is.

    Well then, you’re running into a poor designer and poor coder at the same time… and, on that note, that’s what I’ve run into as well in some cases. Although, maybe it’s just my luck, but I’ve seen many more “self-proclaimed hand coders” do the worst looking and functioning sites on earth than I’ve ever seen “self-proclaimed designers” output. Then again, maybe you are a coder who doesn’t know the difference, weas?? LOL Just kidding (mostly).

    Any good, talented designer who is properly experienced, trained, etc. will know if the code they are writing (or being written for them) is making the design/gui experience, etc. suffer.

    Great designers will also factor SEO into the equation (if applicable) and tons of other considerations including target audience, browser stats, etc.. They will (optimally) run on a Mac so they can test the code on Safari (that marketshare is a’rising, can’t ignore that browser anymore), watch it assplode in IE6 (with a virtualization app), also test in IE7 (with a virtualization app) and Firefox (that marketshare is significant too).

    I found it hilarious (back in the day) going through tons of troubleshooting threads throughout the internet where designers on Windows were screwed because they updated to IE7 and could no longer test and watch their code fall apart in IE6 because Windows wouldn’t let them run both IE 6 & 7 on the same system without a crappy hack that screwed with both apps… LOL.

    Anyway… while I agree that there are definitely designers out there who are piss poor coders and somehow think they are good coders somehow… I have experienced far more coders who feel they are fine designers and royally suck.

    Then there are those rare coders who can do good design and vice versa, but, even then, they really should probably just be focusing more of their time on design and leave the coding to the hardcore coders.

    Lack of sleep make cow not type good… signing off.

  83. Cowicide says:

    #46 posted by weas , April 30, 2008 7:59 AM

    #41 “I just can’t wait till DW handles CSS, Ajax, etc. better in the WYSIWYG panel and then we’ll really start to see some “purist” hand coders cry.”

    The question is why are you using DW if TODAY you can’t handle “CSS, Ajax, etc” better than if you hand-write it…

    You didn’t read much of this thread, did you? To go into that would be an exercise in redundancy. Start from the top, scroll down.

  84. Cowicide says:

    “… You are ignorant. … ”
    ” … Repeat: FUCK Vi …”

    Oh shit, can’t sleep naw… there’s a Vi fight I can watch!!!!

    Warning, Vi even has a gang sign so this might get brutal…

  85. weas says:

    #49

    Yeah, I’m a coder, but, thanks god, I don’t design. I usually get it done from a designer and I’m the one who throws magic rays from his fingers and turns static images and descriptions in some happy .php, .css and .js files.
    I’m partly agree with your two first paragraphs: A designer have to control the coder output. Designers are there to tell us, coders, what to do. But not to tell us how do it, or to try to do it by theirselves. Let’s face it: 99% of designers simply can’t code. And I’m not talking about some html… Any serious web development nowadays include databases, web services, etc… you need to know how to code to handle that. And that’s something that simply falls out the field of the designer.

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