Friday, March 10, 2006

Kansas Website Design

New! On Friday afternoons I'm going to select a blog topic that focuses on the technology behind web development. I'm going to attempt to do this in a way that that doesn't bog users down with technical jargon and useless information. Instead, these posts will focus on individuals out of the development loop that are curious about what happens behind the scenes at LogicMaze.

This week I would like to focus on software used to develop websites. Although there are many different titles that I use on a daily basis for everything from basic design to interacting with web servers, today I will focus on my main companion Dreamweaver.

Normally I would assume that few outside the web development community would have even heard about Dreamweaver, but you may recall hearing in the news last year that Adobe Systems purchased Macromedia (creator of Dreamweaver and other titles). They are both rather large names in the internet industry as Adobe is the creator of the .PDF document (which I am sure you have run across online or in e-mail) and Macromedia is the creator of the flash player (which I'm sure most of you have installed at sometime on your browser to view animation).

So we know who makes Dreamweaver, but what does it do?

The first thing you need to know is that every page you visit on the internet is made up of a code, as is everything on a computer. Just for fun click the "view" menu in internet explorer, and follow with a click on "source". It will open the code of this webpage into notepad for you to see. In the early days of web design, this programming code (mostly HTML, but you may see javascript, php, and others depending on the site) had to be typed in on the keyboard, saved as a web page, and then viewed in a web browser. To create a stunning webpage was a difficult chore that took more than a creative mind. It took an in depth knowledge of programming skills and multiple programming languages.

As with most technologies, web development has progressed. The code is still the base of all internet pages, and trust me, a knowledge of programming is still a must have in this field. However, writing code today is a more automated process. That's where Dreamweaver comes into play. Dubbed WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors, Dreamweaver and others provide a more visual input to creating web pages. You create your pages similar to creating a Word document, by working in the main "preview area" of Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver analyzes what you are placing on the page and creates the appropriate code in the "code area". This doesn't necessarily make the process of development easier, but it does make it faster and more reliable.

Dreamweaver is, in essence, the central command of the web development process. It is responsible for uniting your graphics, text, databases, links, photos, and other elements into a group of pages we call a website.

I hope that gives you some insight to the process of web development, if indeed anyone reads this far into the post. I will be back next Friday with another tech posting. Feel free to leave any comments or questions and I will be sure to address them.

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