Adobe GoLive: Evil Incarnate

By Deane Barker on May 6, 2005

I just have to get something off my chest: Adobe GoLive generates the most wretched HTML I have ever seen.

Joe and I are working on cleaning a site up that was done in GoLive. Joe was so irritated by the wee hours of the morning that he threatened to make the original developer apologize to Tim Berners-Lee personally. I think the guy who wrote GoLive — especially the image rollover code — should be publicly beaten somewhere.

The size of the files is staggering. A file generated out of GoLive — including all the script includes for the image rollovers — is at least 4x what intelligent HTML would be. I have never seen worse HTML. Ever. Anywhere.

I may not survive this. Everytime someone buys a copy of GoLive, if you listen really closely, you can hear Satan laugh.

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  1. Amen, brother.

    So here’s the deal: The site we’re working with has image rollovers. A little CSS, or a couple lines of JS if you’re feeling frisky, and no sweat, right?

    In order to enable rollovers, GoLive adds a 4 page long JS library inline to every single page. Not a javascript include to the library. THE WHOLE LIBRARY ON EVERY F$*#ing page.

    Then, around the ‘a’ tag of the image rollover, it puts a ‘csobj’ element with a big list of parameters. I’m sure you all remember the CSOBJ element from the W3C spec, right? No? BECAUSE IT’S A MADE-UP BLOODY TAG! Then it binds big inline JS function calls to the onmouseover, onmouseout, and onmouseclick of the img tag.

    I was able to just add a class to the image, and about a dozen lines of JS in a separate file that can be cached, but cleaning all that garbage out of there was a nightmare. Thank God for sed.

    It’s completely ridiculous that a tool would go out of it’s way to generate code that’s SO awful. I’ve seen some bad stuff from FrontPage, but GoLive takes the cake.

  2. I think you can take some solace in knowing that of all the products coming together in the Adobe-Macromedia marriage — GoLive is probably the most doomed. They throw a copy of GoLive into Creative Suite Premium figuring it could not hurt. It might have hurt, but we just ignored it. I guess we were right.

    It is hard to imagine something worst than FrontPage. But at least MS is not marketing it to professionals.

  3. Have you seen similar cr@p out of Dreamweaver? I’m no web developer geek by any means, but I’ve been messing around with DW to do a few things, and some of the code that comes out of it is just plain baffling. And the extra code doesn’t seem to do anything other than bloat the file sizes.

  4. Joe:

    If you learned how to use the program, you’d know that you can use GoLive’s external JavaScript library rather than include rollover code on each page. And then you can flatten the library to remove any of the javascript in the library that you haven’t used in the site. Here are a couple excerpts explaining from the GoLive CS Help files.

    “You can choose the external JavaScript library feature on a per-page basis, as a site-wide setting, or as an application-wide preference. If you choose the option in the application preferences or site settings, all new pages and existing pages without preexisting JavaScript will use the new preference setting. Pages that already had actions and other JavaScript added to them will retain their existing JavaScript Functions setting. You must change the setting for these pages in the HTML tab of the Page Inspector.”

    “The external JavaScript library file contains the entire GoLive JavaScript library even if your pages don’t use all of the functions within it. You can flatten the file to remove any JavaScript that is not used in the site. This reduces the library’s file size and decreases its download time. You can manually flatten the library file of a single site, set a site’s Site Upload or Export preferences to automatically flatten the library file, or set the application preferences to flatten the library file of all sites before upload or during export.”

  5. For the record, I’ve never written anything in GoLive or even cracked it open. I’ve just had to deal with the output.

    Ignoring the fact that all of these programs are still doing rigid layout with tables, the extra page-weight from all the useless JS is still terrible.

    If GoLive has a setting that does a better job than this, it should be the default. I understand that it’s set this way because it’s easy for the GoLive user, but what about the people they’re making the pages for? In this situation, they’re GoLive users indirectly by consuming the pages produced with it.

    From a designer’s point of view, there’s no problem because they WYSIWYG’ed up a page and it worked. But the end users are getting slow web pages. It would have been much better if the JS library was separate by default, and helped designers make sure it’s uploaded with the site.

  6. I’m probably too much of a standards purist – I much prefer to use CSS to accomplish the rollover effects (as well as any page layout tasks), and leave JavaScript to the places I have to use it – client-side validation and other such tricks.

    GoLive and FP both put out dreck code – GoLive will fall to DW simply because Macromedia’s DW developers agreed to work with the standards folks (see Jeffrey Zeldman’s book) and their code output in the latest releases is closing the gap on meeting standards.

    Even the WYSIWYG editor Deane suggested to me (NVu) is something I’d rather stay away from; the time spent working with just CSS to accomplish the tasks seems a bit longer up front (certainly, it is a learning curve), but the speed that the final product runs in, as well as the ease of maintaining it, makes for a lower stress level overall.

  7. The only reason I started using GoLive is because Dreamweaver has those ridiculous character length restrictions for file names. It makes downloading a site for modification very difficult.

    If I could find a way around that, I’d go back to Dreamweaver in a heartbeat.

  8. I don’t know if anyone does but if you want to hear my opinion: All these people that are trying to mess around in the www or that even call themselves ‘webdesigner’ should maybe start actually knowing what they are doing. (ok, not all of them are the same… :-) )

    To say it shortly: LEARN HTML (at least the basics)! Then you can even create websites with a plain text editor AND you have the full control over your content (depending on the browser, of course).

    All you whiners that complain about your WYSIWYG editors should start being professional and UNDERSTAND what you are doing! WYSIWYG is really for beginners.

    I’m using Dreamweaver, and I think the design mode is very helpful to have the overview over what I’m doing and when I want to find things to edit quickly. But WHEN I’m editing I don’t want to rely only on the design mode and hope it will show up correctly, I still write the code manually. This way I don’t have the problem that any program puts more code than I want and I have the total knowledge and control over the result (certainly depending on the browsers that I’m testing it on).

  9. GoLive will be sunset and DW will prevail, there is no doubt there. For my money, BBEdit and the lateste O’Reily HTML book are the only tools you need for HTML. But I like to kick it old school…

  10. Stephen, I do share your opinion. Although I do use GoLive as opposed to Dreamweaver. But I do the same thing. I only like the WYSIWYG’s because it makes tables so much easier to set up and image maps and a few other things are much faster to set up. But basically, once I have my layout set up then it is into the code to do it manually, sometimes I do it in GoLive source or in BBEdit. I have my own library of javascript and then call the functions from the html. I tried the library thing in GoLive but it didn’t make sense to me and was so much easier to use javascript I’d already written and plunk it in. Same with CSS, I do it all manually. When I went to university we could not touch a WYSIWYG for the first 6 months of the program, everything we coded was in a plain text editor. Yes, I too get frustrated with people who call themselves web designers or developers who wouldn’t even be able to hand code a simple “hello world” page that would pass the W3C validator. WYSIWYG’s are great but a good developer cannot rely on them and has to know how to hand code.

  11. Are we all finished jacking each other off yet?

    WYSIWYG will, for the vast majority of pages, supplant hand coded pages once CSS becomes suitably powerful. Cross browser considerations alone will preclude hand coding. Let me guess, you all write PostScript to send to the printers, rather than use Illustrator no doubt?

  12. Here, hear…(to the comments about Go Live being a crappy). I’ve been a WYSIWYG guy for a while. I first cut my teeth (if you can believe it) in Netscape, but quickly started using Dreamweaver 4. Only recently have I really started getting into strict standards baised webdesign and I can tell you two things:

    After re-doing they company I work for’s website, Adobe GoLive Blows. The guy that wrote our old site wrote it complelty with images, and rollovers. Not a single line of real html text. It sucked. I had to completly trash the old one and start from scratch with CSS formated XHTML, and some Flash elements.

    Second: I HATE Internet Exploder…if anyone over at microsoft every suggest building another non-standards complient browser that renders my carfully fromatted images, CSS, and PNG files wrong I’ll personally go down there and ring their scrawny necks.

    Now that that’s out….Adobe should trash GoLive and focus more attention on their other, clearly better products.

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  14. For all Golive haters, have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Golive out of the box, yes, is hard to deal with-just like any program. Photoshop is hard for back-end coders to figure out because they program back-end all day. But, if you would take the time to skim a book on it when you have issues, or watch a tutorial BEFORE you get designing, then you would be fine. I read the golive bible before I started working in golive because I was an illustrator with no html training, and I needed it for the new direction my employer was taking. that was 5 years ago. Ever since that weekend I spent reading the book, I have had ZERO growth/understanding issues with the program. Golive contains years of team Adobe’s intuitive interface finesse, file tracking, and keyboard shortcuts out the wazoo that make producing a site a dream. The css previews and tag management are great and you are not left with a spoon and a prayer when you edit css like in Dreamweaver.

    Team Macromedia was great and were even geniuses, but they couldn’t touch team Adobe on clever and user-friendly interface design and execution. Take Freehand: compared to Illustrator’s several methods of execution for means to an end, Freehand has relatively few paths that are available, even though team Macromedia innovated in several areas with clever ways to do things. On the whole, Macromedia products SLOWED ME DOWN because they don’t have anywhere near the amount of shortcuts and execution traits that Adobe instills in all their products. The drag and drop along with the drag-tether that Golive has had for years allows me to SPEED through site production. Try the freaking “find and replace” and really pay attention when you do things and you can change whole sites in moments. You can rewrite code in to standards to make it easier to read so you can figure out whats up with it in a matter of seconds. These are just a few of the things that golive can and does do well.

    To solve the previously mentioned issue of rollover code bloating your page, simply click the page icon in the upper right corner (of an html page in layout mode) next to properties, look at the inspector pane and select “html”. from there you select “import golive script library” and golive MAKES a js file for all your rollovers and/or golive actions and items. This is only done if you start a site with a .site file, golive’s site management tool (which keeps track of things MUCH better than dreamweaver). And just so you know, Golive’s strength lies a lot in using modifier keys while you manipulate things. Again, these are things anyone would know if they took the time to watch maybe one or two tutorials put out by adobe. (you can find some in the help application)

    As far as the site that worked on, a crappy programmer is a crappy programmer. The guy before you didn’t know or take any time to know golive, and so he did the next best thing he could–cut up a photoshop file, thow on some image maps and act like it was a real webpage. I’ve run across that several times, and there’s no excuse for that–especially when the dang help menu is just a few inches away from the File-Open option.

    I don’t want to flame or be flamed, but I have to defend something that the hard workers at Adobe spent so long at perfecting so it would be up to snuff for your average designer. It is the best WYSIWYG editor I have come across, and I work with Dreamweaver as well (only when I have to, as of late).

  15. Nice rant.

    Enjoy GoLive while you have it, because I predict it will be the first thing to die once Adobe starts reviewing their product line in light of the Macromedia acquisition. You may like it, but even on it’s best day, it’s no Dreamweaver — either in functionality or installed base.

  16. I hate GOLive! It is an embarassment to coders everywhere. I inherited Golive CS2 and decided to learn it. What a waste of time. Now, I am afraid to go back to dreamweaver because it may have been infected with adobe. I feel strongly that anything Adobe builds has been built better by some one else – probably an eighth grader. I’d like to email adobe a detailed account, but, have you tried to email Adobe from their site? Don’t bother, you can’t. The entire Adobe brand should be dissolved and banned. They are so awful, they make Microslop look good. Incredible.

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