Why I Hate Dreamweaver

“Hate” is a word that I don’t use very often in the professional world. All too often this word is thrown around in casual conversation, and as a result it tends to lose the serious intensity and deliberate animosity intended by its definition. The word “hate” needs to be reserved in one’s vocabulary for people, places and things which truly deserve special attention. (My friends at Two and a Hater would probably agree.)

Dreamweaver sucks, and I hate it.

First, a small disclaimer: this post is directed at all visual web development tools. Dreamweaver happens to be the best known and most widely used application within this group, so my frustration and hate is rightly directed in its direction. These tools can be helpful to properly trained web professionals, but the fact is that most Dreamweaver users rely far too heavily on the visual tools and thus write terrible code.

Do a Google search for I hate Dreamweaver and you’ll get 172,000 results. It’s obvious that I’m not alone in my opinion, yet many thousands of companies and web developers continue to turn to tools like Dreamweaver to build and maintain their websites. This is a bad decision on a number of levels.

  1. Dreamweaver is for sissies. My biggest complaint against Dreamweaver is that most users will “write” their code using the visual tools. With little or no understanding of what they’re actually doing, the “developers” drag-and-drop tables, widgets, and god-only-knows what else onto a page and publish it to the web. While this sounds like a good idea in theory (anyone can build a website!), the reality is that the end-result is an unstable piece of garbage. Dreamweaver doesn’t teach the developer anything about good coding practices, and it undermines the idea that well-trained web development professionals should be paid appropriately for their skills.
  2. Dreamweaver generates terrible code. When I say that the end-result of Dreamweaver site is an unstable piece of garbage, I mean that the code Dreamweaver generates is not even close to W3C compliant. This is a really big deal because the worst-case scenario (which happens on a regular basis) is that your website doesn’t work in different browsers. When I look at the source code for a webpage, I can tell within about five seconds if it was written in Dreamweaver. It’s so obvious when I see things like FONT tags in about 700 places. . . any good web developer would be using CSS to control that.
  3. Dreamweaver encourages bad habits. Speaking of CSS, Dreamweaver encourages you to put CSS definitions in the page itself. From an architectural standpoint, this is just plain dumb – but since Dreamweaver makes no attempt to teach developers how to propertly structure a website, I’m not at all surprised. What’s worse is that this bad habit has a negative impact on how fast a webpage loads, so in effect Dreamweaver is making your website suck. If you have large website, magnify this problem (and similar situations) exponentially and you can see how bad it might get. Your visitors will get tired of waiting for your crappy site to load and leave.
  4. Dreamweaver loves PHP. PHP isn’t evil, but don’t get me started on how some developers think PHP/MySQL applications are the only solution to the world’s problems. I’ll save that rant for another post.

Here’s a real-world example. I just spent 7 hours rebuilding a page written by a PHP developer who uses Dreamweaver. His PHP code was average, but the HTML was so bad that I had to scrap it altogether. It is so obvious that he didn’t know what he was doing, and it really bothers me that I had to spend an entire day rewriting his code. Furthermore, the client is getting billed twice (his hours plus mine) for essentially the same work because I couldn’t make what should have been a simple fix to a handful of lines of HTML and CSS.

The bottom line is that I hate Dreamweaver. I hate the poor code it creates. And I’m making it my personal mission to discourage its use everywhere I go.

About 

With nearly 20 years of software engineering and operations experience, Arthur Kay offers an extraordinary set of leadership skills and technical expertise to develop meaningful products and high-performing teams. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies, VC-funded startups and companies across a wide variety of industries to build cutting-edge software solutions.

Arthur is a successful entrepreneur, technology professional, and mentor. He is a full-time family man, part-time consultant and spare-time musician. He graduated from Loyola University Chicago and currently lives in greater Chicago-land.

40 comments for “Why I Hate Dreamweaver

  1. May 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    We at Two and a Hater, have gone so far as to develop rules for hatred, so that the term can not be abused or misused. You, my friend are perfectly within the acceptable confines in using it here. Feel free to rip dreamweaver some more.

    Alternatively, doesn’t it work out that you get business by people who have messed up site by using a dreamweaver or a golive?

  2. June 2, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Thank You!! For Spaking the truth.. Adobe Golive user.

  3. June 4, 2009 at 9:04 am

    da best. Keep it going! Thank you

  4. Mortie
    October 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I’m so sick of people thinking they can build a website with that piece of crap program. I can tell when my graphics girl thinks she got over on me using it because it results in all sorts of extra tags that I have to go back in and remove! If anyone has seen the 15 p tags or more list you know what I mean. I wish those editors would fall off the face of the planet!!!
    ~ signed, a web developer that learned HTML on a webtv – no excuse for Dreamweaver – EVER

  5. February 11, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    I loved, loved, loved GoLive and I tried to switch to Dreamweaver on this site–working one year on it now. I hate, hate, hate it. It never does what it says. It looks good in the program and then when you upload it–IT’S NOT THE SAME!! The CSS for the spry menu is complicated, yet the code seems simple enough. I am an artist–not a cody I am about to give up totally on web design after this painful experience of gastrointestinal cancer.

  6. Bryan
    February 23, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I don’t know code that well but I hate dreamweaver (notice I don’t capitalize that godforsaken name) bc its not intuitive at all!!!! And yet its Adobe, well not really, its Macromedia. Photoshop and Illustrator are beautiful bc if you play around with it you can figure out how things work. I figured out most things before taking classes with them and now I use both regularly for my artwork with no problems. nightmareweaver on the other hand is the least intuitive piece of shit I have ever used in my life and I will NEVER again waste my money on another OVERPRICED piece of crap like that. I’m just gonna give my psd’s to coder’s who wanna make some money. They can handle it, I’m not… I’m right brained aka I HAVE NO DESIRE TO DEAL WITH COLD, UNINSPIRED, INORGANIC, CONVOLUTED COMPUTER LANGUAGE. FUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK TTTTTTHAAAAAATTTTTTTT. I hope the developers rot in hell and I will bathe in the blood of their children :3 Have a nice day oh and anyone who doesn’t like my comments can DIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

  7. Huw
    May 5, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Dreamweaver is the most inappropriate name for anything ever.

    It suggests light hearted, whispie, fuzzie, niceness that allows you to put your creativity into action.

    In reality it is a heavyweight, boring, nurdie, geekie, unintuitive interface for doing highly structured codeing that only allows you to put thing in boring rows, columns and boxes.

    After years of development CS5 has now got an option to do rounded corners.. Yippee.. In another ten years it may let you do a circle!! Even MS Word could do that years ago. The program has no tools or interface that lets you lay out and move elements in any creative way. It is like lead type and blocks for print in cold metal 80 years ago.

    One day soon technology will allow designers to create web and other media as they have done on paper and now in programs like inDesign and Photoshop… with coding happening somehow you need never worry about. When that day comes all the smug, over paid “web developers” will be as redundant as Linotype compositors, Compugraphic typesetters and paste up staff.

  8. George
    September 6, 2010 at 6:35 am

    dreamweaver is a nightmare. My gripe about dreamweaver is the stupid site management tool. IT DOESN’T WORK. I say it doesn’t work because it doesn’t frigging work. I can modify files, add files, and do various things to the site and when I tell dw to update the site it doesn’t recognize the the new files. so I have to upload the files individually. What is the point of Dw? I’ve switched to Flux. It is far superior to dw with CSS. DW is pathetic. I’ll be switching to Coda soon for the straight code part.

    Dreamweaver is a dull tool.

    • Wb
      July 29, 2016 at 12:56 am

      I hear you. I also don’t appreciate having to (being forced) to work on my hard drive, when I’ve got a perfectly good test server. I spent the better part of an hour trying to upload my code–because I didn’t know how dw had set up my work flow.

  9. Arielle
    October 20, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I hate how I have to run around in circles with Dreamweaver; I make a mistake in the CSS Style rule section, like deleting something I shouldn’t have, and I can’t undo it! Photoshop, Illustrator and practically every other program let you undo a mistake with Ctrl+Z or via the menu, but DW ends up giving me the “Run Command” message. I don’t even know what the hell that means! So then I just delete the CSS Style rules I made and remake them. Seriously, how hard should it be to just be able to UNDO something?!

  10. Petar
    December 18, 2010 at 6:25 am

    The best word that can describe DW is simple, dam retard software. Now meter what you do, in what tag you are, it give you the same options. Never follow the user what is doing, so he can give only the logical options. Like open “ul” or “ol” tag, inside the innately sense give you all possible tags, you can write only “li” tags inside hollow. The intellisense defiantly has no “intelli” and it is hard to say that have sense…
    They have created special form for every possible scenario, and to show the form you have to remember exactly where to click and what 20 steps to do so the DW understand and give the logical working context forms.
    I have filing that the programmers that write this crap don’t know how to use it…
    The problem is that there are too many web developers that are in same level like the DW 
    Sorry for my bad English, and if I have been too harsh, but I am web developer and I have to tech DW to my students, and having the experience from other editors, I know how stupid this software is…
    Thx

  11. Skeptic
    December 31, 2010 at 2:09 am

    It seems to me that Arthur Kay is criticizing the users of
    Dreamweaver and not the software itself. This is typical of
    code-freaks whom pride themselves on code design versus design of
    the actual website. All they care about is that written code is
    efficient, readable, well-commented, non-redundant etc. They have
    no mind for aesthetics, and are incapable of visualizing a
    pleasing, well-thought, stimulating user experience in a website.
    You need designers and coders for good web design. They keep each
    other in check. The designer creates the look and feel of a site
    and the programmer does all the anal-retentive coding by hand using
    their tool of choice. Dreamweaver is just a tool, and it can be
    used in many different ways. There are numerous, well-known design
    firms that use DW as their platform for web development. It’s best
    to use something like Fireworks to do the designing, and then use
    Dreamweaver to compose, trouble-shoot and test the code that makes
    the design work.

    • December 31, 2010 at 7:11 am

      You have a point Skeptic… but code DOES need to be correct if you want a design to display correctly across a variety of browsers and platforms.

      My post is critical of the software users, but any good software tool discourages mistakes. Dreamweaver is the worst tool of it’s kind for failing to do that.

      And I find it interesting that you rag on developers who insist on correct code – designers are often far more anal about the little details like this. Is the pot calling the kettle black?

    • Jack
      July 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Thank you for adding some rationality to this thread. As both the designer AND coder of my projects, I’ve used DW since the Macromedia days and it’s a fine tool for the job…designing without the WYSIWYG buttons, coding CSS, PHP and ASP.

      I spend 80% of my time in code view, and my code is fine.

      “I would welcome any tool that would allow designers to create websites visually with clean code”…considering any real site requires dynamic server-side script, either:
      a) you wouldn’t need them (cut up and code their design yourself if it’s such an issue for you)
      b) they wouldn’t need you if they learned to code

  12. Skeptic
    December 31, 2010 at 11:24 am

    I agree with you, including the ‘pot calling the kettle
    black’ – However, I feel that both designers and programmers should
    recognize that each area (visual design and program design) are
    equally important. Also it should be understood that Dreamweaver is
    a maintenance and testing platform and should not ever be used for
    visual design. One would never know that by the way Adobe
    advertises and promotes DW. I also think that the very
    non-intuitive DW user interface is caught in what I call the
    ‘nostalgia grip’; Hence Adobe is hesitant to make major changes to
    the interface (to make it more consistent with it’s other
    offerings), because they fear a mass rebellion would ensue from
    their DW user base. They would lose many long-time users of the DW
    platform. Also, one might consider that the DW interface is
    designed for left-brain biased individuals, where function trumps
    ease of use (form); i.e. the programmer/coder enjoys a familiar
    environment, that which they know already, and strongly protests
    cosmetic and organizational changes to the user interface. They
    hate this. Let me rattle on a bit more – The programmer is also
    threatened by any newly developed software that would accomplish
    web design for visual designers and also, at the same time produce
    clean, concise, efficient code. Perhaps even dynamic code. I think
    that something like that will be soon available.

    • December 31, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      Skeptic – designers and developers do need to work together. In spite of our love/hate relationship, projects benefit from the POV each discipline brings to the table.

      Also, I would welcome any tool that allowed users (designers) to create websites visually with clean code. It would make my job easier – no need to be threatened because designers won’t be developing the interactive software features anyway 🙂

  13. May 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    “by a PHP developer who uses Dreamweaver.”

    Since PHP is mainly a web-oriented language, a programmer who doesn’t know proper HTML + CSS should’nt be called a PHP Developer.

  14. diego
    August 16, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Vim/Emacs FTW

  15. kelsy
    November 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    i like dreamweaver. i started off as a front end web designer but i was able to learn a lot about coding in dreamweaver.

    i started off working in the DESIGN window…then worked my way to the split DESIGN/CODE screen, and now i work mostly in code…

    i was a great learning tool for me to start learning code – HTML, light Java, Jquery, CSS and more..

    • Jack
      July 23, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      Where as I went in the opposite direction. Congrats on helping keep these haters up at night lol.

  16. APrather
    January 8, 2012 at 9:06 am

    The only thing I like about Dreamweaver is the spilt design.

    few years ago, when I wanted to learn stuffs about HTML/CSS, i started off with notepad2 and gave up withing two weeks. 1 year later, a friend of mine shared me a copy of DW, i picked up fast, because of spilt view feature. I am able to understand what it would look like after writing HTML/CSS Codes. And now for last two years, I have been developing Webpages for clients.

  17. Annoyed
    January 30, 2012 at 3:36 am

    What annoys me is just when teenagers use the GUI to make websites and think it makes them good web developers.

  18. Chuck
    July 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I don’t make comments on blogs often, but I just had to chime in here. I absolutely agree with you 100%. I’m an experienced C++/Obj-C, web developer, and when I hear people who use Dreamweaver calling themselves developers, it really pees me off!

    When it comes to Dreamweaver, everything you were taught in University about design patterns, paradigms, goes out the window. The code I see is always spaghetti code, with no thought on scalability or maintainability.

    It is designed for those who are too lazy or stupid to actually gain a deep understanding of what they are doing.

    Many noobs fail to understand that 80% of what makes an app or website is it’s functionality. Clean, robust, scalable code for me. Hack for the Dreamweaver brigade. Good blog post!

    • Jack
      July 23, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Here’s to pissing you off Chuck (and enjoying it). I use DW and call myself a devloper, because, well, I am one.

      I developed many a year in Visual Studio too.

      Sounds like your laziness has made you and the author to some extent stupid, by failing to realize that real developers can use DW just fine. Get off your high horses and go outside once in a while!

  19. Jason
    August 16, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    There are far better tools then DW to “design”. With the speed of other methods there is really no reason to even “prototype” in DW. If you are actually using it to produce CODE then you are completely useless and should get the hell out of the industry.

    The code generated from Dreamweaver is absolutely horrible. Even if it does work, trying to manage, decipher, and alter the code later down the line is pointless and difficult. “Designers” who don’t understand how to actually write the code they are generating (in an IDE or text editor) don’t seem to grasp the importance of code that is easy to understand and alter because “it’s not there job”. Some coding geek should just be able to do it in 5 minutes. It can’t be as hard as coming up with a layout or making some images in photoshop (something most coding geeks know how to do out of necessity of their job). Honestly, I think it is a complete lack of respect.

    When that DW person “moves on” and someone else has to come in they have to clean up your mess. Eventually you get backed into a corner with the shitty code and have to scrap the whole thing and redo it all from scratch.

    Spend the extra time in the beginning. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing RIGHT.

  20. adam
    September 19, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    This is ridiculous. Dreamweaver (along with every other WYSIWYG) should have been discarded years ago. The definition is simple really; a “developer” is someone who has the ability to take a programming language (C#, Ruby on Rails)and write software or an website application with pure code. throw away PHP and Classic ASP because they are both terrible as well. The people that claim to be developers but heavily rely on noob-tools cause shit software or programs to flood the market. Take a look at Google’s Android store.. I bet 15% percent of those apps were made using some shit “Drag’n’Drop’ editor and the result is substandard with the “developer” unable to fix issues that aren’t resolved by more dragging and dropping.

    (Employed as an Android dev for the last 3 years)

  21. Daniel
    October 28, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    @ Adam….What are you talking about?? Dream Weaver sucks, but what are you talking about throw away PHP and ASP??? PHP is a wonderful scripting language and the is just like all other object oriented languages. I have a feeling you don’t know what you are talking about.

  22. notarealname
    December 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    About that FONT tag thing:
    MS Word’s export to HTML feature, and also OpenOffice’s use the dang FONT tags too! >:[]

  23. ccc
    June 4, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I welcome design tools that create nice clean code like Edge Reflow but sadly Photoshop does not create clean code

  24. Johnny West
    June 11, 2014 at 11:31 am

    As a designer with zero knowledge about or the drive to learn how to code, without Dreamweaver, I’d be out of business. While I know it’s a headache for coders to deal with, it’s at the very least, a pathway for me to get business and put people’s sites online. When I run into trouble, I get my coder to fix it up and so far, he’s had very little complaint back to me. I pay him well.

    The biggest reason I hate Dreamweaver is their development path of the software is not intuitive nor is it backward-looking. You can see a complete and total difference in philosophy between ALL other Adobe programs and Dreamweaver (which was developed by Macromedia). Adobe keeps putting lipstick on the pig instead of simply roasting the pig and putting a sheep in it’s place. Of all the softwares I’ve ever used in my 30+ years of working digitally, I’ve never seen one as BUGGY as DW, and that includes the bane of many designers, Quark. If Adobe would simply fix all of the bugs that the current version of Dreamweaver has, it would be a lot better (not perfect) to use for those of use who know squat about code. And, btw, there are good designers who don’t add every widget available out there to their pages. To me, that sounds more like coders. 🙂

    • Arthur Kay
      June 11, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Hehe, fair enough 🙂

      For what it’s worth (and I’ve said as much in the past), I would love to see these sorts of tools improved. Sencha Architect is one example of a great tool for building HTML5 applications, and if Adobe would clean up DW’s output I’d be the first person to step up and applaud them. Thanks for stopping by!

  25. Kevin
    July 30, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I DON’T HATE Dreamweaver, it is perfect for what I use it for, and I use it for all kinds of things… CSS, PHP, HTML, and JS, just to name a few…

    That being said I hand write everything and could use notepad++ or just plain notepad to accomplish what I need.

    If you rely on DW for anything other than a text editor, you are silly. If you are learning HTML or anything else, look elsewhere for a better, free, solution.

    Once you get into anything other than static sites or editing theme or template files it doesn’t make sense to use the program.

    I do concur with the opinion that you can tell when someone uses DW to generate code, and for the love of God… STOP IT. Then again, I get a lot of work fixing stuff like this and that means more money for me, so I cant complain to much! 🙂

  26. Scott
    October 19, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    You should see the latest 2015 version. OMG! I could drive the mall and back by the time the damn thing loads. It is so bloated. Adobe has lost their collective minds. I’m starting to think its time to divorce Adobe.

  27. Nobody
    December 23, 2015 at 4:25 am

    Amen…was using Aptana, then got my Creative Cloud Membership, decided to use the “Premium” paid for product, what a joke, Dreamweaver is down right garbage, i cant even open 2 tabs next to each other so i can view my class files, no i gotta use this cascading crap, like wtf, pain in the ass, no auto complete, i got so used to simple things like typing { or ( and having it autofill the closing bracket, not the pos dreamweaver, it cant do anything but make garbage, its a giant garbage maker, sad to see the free product drastically outperform the premium expensive product

  28. Rejean
    January 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I hate DW because it’s was not made for programmer, the auto bracket matching should be automaticly include in all language but it’s work only on dom element.

    I hate also eclipse UI, far better than DW but it’s made in java (slow). my daly use is Webuilder
    and it’s cheap 49$

  29. Howard
    May 3, 2016 at 3:15 am

    I know what you mean fuck me I spent the whole night until 4am in the morning trying to figure out what was wrong with my code why it isn’t coming out properly until my friend told me get rid of Dreamweaver and use notepad++ and sure as the sun rises yes it works fast simple and easy to use god I’m gonna to go to sleep now ain’t gonna show up for work woohoo damn that was too much
    fuck you adobe

  30. hehexd
    July 14, 2016 at 12:09 am

    hehexd dreamweaver game me terminal cancer

  31. snigglet
    October 26, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    My rant is more about the performance than the code … because I never use the generated code. The application CAN NOT open a Web.xml file without requiring the user to go make a coffee while it processes the stupid file. It hangs every 20 minutes for 15+ seconds while it thinks about something in the background … and the performance list goes on.

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