R.I.P. Client-Side WYSIWYG Editor

By Deane Barker on March 7, 2009

I’m sorry but Dreamweaver is dying: An interesting thought I’ve never really acknowledged — the era of the client-side WYSIWYG editor is really coming to an end. We’re getting to a point where developers work in a text editor, and content editors work in a CMS, and that’s about it.

The bottom line is that the old model of the central webmaster hand-spinning every page of every website and, worse, manually adding the navigation necessary to help users find it, just isn’t scalable or viable.

[…] In the relatively near future every website will be a dynamically-generated web application and all of today’s sites built on multiple static pages will be ripped out and replaced.



  1. I don’t think this is really true though.

    Dreamweaver is more about designing the site while a CMS is about managing the content.

    Of course some one could design it in notepad or what-not, but Dreamweaver really simplifies the process, especially with it’s split-view.

  2. While I won’t say Dreamweaver is dying, I do think its purpose is diminishing. JJ, you may be right that designers will still want to use Dreamweaver. But, I’d venture to guess that there were just as many people using Dreamweaver for content.

    For those of us that are not designers, but had been using Dreamweaver to manage content (especially on the Intranet side)…a CMS is where the action is now. I know at my workplace, we haven’t renewed our Dreamweaver licenses for a couple years.

    Now what I think would be a really cool product is something with Dreamweaver’s backing to provide plugins that would covert your Dreamweaver design to popular themes/templates for a CMS. Design your site in Dreamweaver and have an “Export…” button that allowed you to save a theme for Sharepoint, Drupal, Mediawiki, Ez Publish, etc.

  3. Dreamweaver will always have a market among a certain segment of designer / developers. But it is a dead end, just like Contribute.

    My company used to build sites and then turn them over to clients to maintain with either Dreamweaver or Contribute licenses. But now we’re doing CMSs instead, either packaged or custom-rolled. That has some user education of its own, but ultimately it’s the cleanest, most controllable way to manage a site.

  4. I still use Dreamweaver. In fact, I just upgraded to CS4 not too long ago. Sure, running things on CMSs is the wave of the future, but when I’m designing, I prefer to do it all in Dreamweaver, with a combination of Photoshop and Fireworks. I then take my work directly into the CMS that we’re using. And there is also the custom CMS work that I build with Dreamweaver.

    I think being visually inclined has something to do with it, though.

  5. I used Dreamweaver when I had no idea about creating websites and I was looking for somewhere to start, which was many years ago. The tutorials I used to read from magazines were all about Dreamweaver, so that was the way to go.

    But now that I can handle XHTML and CSS pretty well, I hand code everything from scratch. The fact that I can design and code a website in XHTML 1.0 Strict and then get the green validation message from W3.org is very satisfying. I work with Coda and CSSEdit, and even though they both offer WYSIWYG features, I always tend to write the code myself. It gives me total control over what’s happening with the site.

    I agree. Dreamweaver is dying. Out of all the web designers and developers I know, none of them use Dreamweaver. Coda, CSSEdit & ExpressionEngine is everything one needs to create beautiful websites.

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