Web Design Software
When you are starting a new website design project one of the first things you’ll need to decide is the web design software or platform that you’re going to use. There is a lot of choice and the choice is important. This is because it has a big impact on the type of website that you will ultimately create.
It impacts your website in many different ways. This includes:
- How quickly you can build the website (e.g. if the software or application has a steep learning curve you will spend a lot of time learning rather than creating).
- The flexibility of the design.
- The structure of the completed code.
- How difficult the website is to upgrade or develop further in the future.
To get an understanding of this we can use Lego by way of example. This is for two reasons:
- You can easily compare different Lego scenarios that match each of your website building options; and
- You can sing the fantastic “Everything is Awesome” song from The Lego Movie while you’re reading.
Web Design is Awesome
Building a website using a web design software program is like building something in Lego without instructions. This gives you a lot of creative flexibility. But it also takes a lot of skill and practice. You will also need to overcome particular difficulties. This is like requiring a special Lego piece instead of a standard block. When you build something from a box these special pieces are provided. But you might struggle if you’re just using a pile of random Lego pieces alongside your construction skills and your imagination.
Building a website using a platform or content management system like Wordpress is like buying a box of Lego in the shop. It has all of the pieces and complete instructions making it much simpler to put together. And if you want to customize the design you can leave the instructions behind, so there is still a high degree of flexibility. The end result will also be more robust as you will have all the special and unique pieces that are required to complete the build properly.
Building a website using a site builder is like getting an almost complete Lego model where you add the finishing touches like stickers, accessories or Minifigures. This is the easiest path to getting a completed Lego model so it is ideal for beginners or those without much time. It is also the method that offers the least flexibility.
You can create a website using each of these methods. They’re all awesome in their own way. The type of website you want and how much effort you want to put into it will determine which one you chose.
Web Design Software
If you go down the path of web design software you will find a wide selection of options to choose from. Here are four of the most popular:
- Dreamweaver – Dreamweaver is a powerful web development tool made by Adobe. Because it is powerful it has a lot of flexibility. But that power also increases the level of difficulty. That said it uses a visual editor so beginners can get up and running with the basics fairly quickly. It is one of the most expensive options on this list.
- Microsoft Blend – Microsoft has made several web design software programs through the years including Frontpage, but they have all been discontinued. Its current product is Microsoft Blend which is part of Visual Studio. Like Dreamweaver it is powerful but comes with a learning curve.
- Adobe Muse - Muse, like Dreamweaver, is made by Adobe. It is primarily aimed at graphic designers rather than web developers so it doesn't have the same flexibility or functions. It is easy to use though.
- Aptana - Aptana is the odd one out on the list because it is open source. That means it is free to use. It doesn't do everything that Dreamweaver or other paid-for programs can do, but it does a lot considering it is free. Also it is no harder to learn than the others on this list.
Now you just have to choose which one you want to use. And you probably need to get rid of the “Everything is Awesome” earworm in your head.