As far as web design goes, simpler is better. While most beginner web designers would prefer a more in-depth web page editor, most of the time these web design programs do not accomplish the task in the most optimized, efficient, or correct manner. The simple truth is in order to correctly create web pages which load quickly, look perfect the way you created them in your mind, and are perfectly optimized is to code them yourself. The top 3 programs, in order from worst to best, would be Dreamweaver, Notepad, and Notepad++.
Adobe Dreamweaver may be good for the beginner web designer. When I started out creating web pages as a freelance work for web development companies, this is my program of choice and to create a website without it would simply be unthinkable. However this is also a time of massive frustration as different browsers rendered my pages differently, different operating systems would cause major discrepancies in my page’s layout, and the page would load terribly slow due to improperly optimized code.
I’m not saying Dreamweaver is a horrible program. When I do not have my favorite program, Notepad++, installed, and Dreamweaver is, I will use Dreamweaver. However, I refuse still to use it the way I originally did, using its what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor function. I refuse to use this function because I’ve found that it never is really what you get. It’s what Dreamweaver sees but no other browser seems to render the page the same way. Gaps appear randomly throughout your page. Margins distort and CSS renders completely off.
The way I will use Dreamweaver is by switching to “Split View” or “Code View” and then using it as a notepad-style coding program. Split view is nice because it allows you to see it real time what changes you are making, rather than refreshing a browser.
Notepad, although sparse in features and abilities, is one of the most optimized HTML/CSS programs if you know how to “raw code” web pages notepad can be one of the best. The code will have no “filler text” or have random gaps appear on the page.
Notepad is a program that is found by default in any standard Windows machine. To access notepad, go to Start – gt; Run, and type “notepad.exe” (no quotes). This will open up the Notepad application which is, yes, barren and plain in features, but very versitile in terms of coding for other languages, including HTML, CSS, Batch, and even some BASIC or other languages. You can simply save it as a different language extension (for example, .html).
Notepad++ is the same as notepad, except with the ability to view syntax highlighting, line numbers, and more save features to make it easier for the end-user. Notepad++ is my program of choice for all of the reasons listed above. Notepad++ will, if you know how to code HTML and CSS well, be your program of choice as well.
Notepad ++ has several languages to choose from and will automatically highlight the syntax of that language for you. If you have a full understanding of the language(s) your are using, Notepad++ is certainly the way to go. This can be found with a simple Google search, and it is a 100% free piece of software.