I keep trying to convince myself I’m really not into designing websites. I like to tinker a bit but mostly I just want to throw up the pages and get on to more meaningful things. But then I realize that I want to do it a little better than the default approach. And if I’m going to do something I’m going to do it right.
The correct approach to authoring pages nowadays seems to be via XHTML and CSS. Conceptually this is the right move. I’m a software guy. It’s separation of concerns. Got it. The problem I am having is that the tools I am aware of still do not support this style of development well. Putting together a clean and accurate CSS seems to be more black magic than science. The point is is that as software engineering has evolved to embrace the separation, the tools available to software engineers have evolved to support it. I’m sure this is the case with web authoring tools as well. But I have no idea what they are.
I currently use FrontPage but purely as an HTML editor. I like the ability to work in either the design or code view – and the preview tab is handy. I usually leave the CSS in a text editor since it means I can view both the HTML (rendered or in code) and the CSS at the same time.
I’ve also used Adobe/Macromedia DreamWeaver. While I appreciate the quick reference guides available and the straight-up HTML editing (FrontPage likes to think it’s being helpful a little too often), the design view leaves something to be desired.