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Sour Grapes!

A well reasoned counter-argument there "Fred"...! My grapes are anything but sour; I was simply expressing my personal view that Serif used to develop software that truly empowered people yet, with the product in question, is doing the opposite.

Yes, Now that your not there it's all going downhill. Now the products just work better
than ever and do what they are needed to do instead of "empowering people."

I think you maybe need to re-read a little "Fred". I've not made any suggestion that Serif is any worse or any better without me and, as I've not worked there for over eight years, it's pretty irrelevant either way. And I'm not talking about "the products" in general; just one.

I could be pedantic and ask if Serif really aims to develop software that doesn't empower people, but I won't.

Instead, I'll ask you a simple question. If I'd created this website with WebPlus 9, would this page have such a high ranking on Google within a couple of days?

Why not? Just because of Blog? Don't you think that's mainly because of content? A lot of people need a site for reasons that don't involve ranking and they aren't interested in bloging (if they have even heard of it) HTML isn't a computer language. Do you use a program?
Why do the sides of this box(and page) disappear when I type across it?

I'm having trouble following your comments now "Fred". And while content obviously has a huge impact on search engine placement, how that content is structured is equally important.

So, you really think that "a lot of people" aren't interested in their website being found by search engine users? And they don't want to make quick, easy and regular updates?

And if HTML isn't a computer language, WTF do you think it is...? Or put another way, what do you think the L stands for? On your final question, I'd guess it's because you're using an old web browser that isn't standards compliant, but I could be wrong.

I just don't see why you couldn't use WebPlus 9 to make quick and regular updates. I also don't don't understand why it should be hard to get a good rating on the search engines.Have you even tried the latest version?
People often talk about HTML as if it is a programming language, but it is not. It is a tag language based on SGML. SGML was designed in the days before WYSIWIG editors were used as extensively as they are now. WYSIWIG editors for HTML are not as useful as they could be, but I think it is amusing that so many people think that editing HTML directly is more advanced than using a WYSIWIG editor.
No, I'm not using an older browser. Maybe your page doesn't work with the latest version of IE or my screen setting.

I've not tried WebPlus 9 - I did state this clearly in the post - but I've used WebPlus 8 (I know, you're going to tell me it's a BIG upgrade).

So, can you use WebPlus 9 to update a site from a browser, wherever you are? Can you have multiple people in multiple locations working on the same site? Can you update from a mobile phone? Can you set the site to update automatically based on ready-written content? Can you update with third-party content, like RSS feeds? (I know, you're going to ask why anyone would want to do these kinds of thing).

Search engines. You pick a topic and I'll add a page about it here, you add one to your WebPlus 9-created site. We'll wait a week and see who's highest on Google.

And you're now saying that HTML is not a programming language (I'm assuming you now agree that in taxonomy terms, it's a computer language). I'd generally agree, but qualify by saying that the environment that up-to-date web designers/developers work in provides a greater or lesser programming environment within HTML, either through CSS, SSI's or PHP etc.

Here's why I think that editing HTML directly is more advanced that using a WYSIWYG editor.

(1) You're learning and developing a transferrable skill. Can you get a decent job building websites using direct-edited HTML? Certainly. Can you get a job doing the same with Dreamweaver? Certainly, but you'd better know some HTML for ironing-out wrinkles. Would you get hired for your WebPlus prowess? Not in a million years.

(2) You're more likely to build the site in a semantic way, therefore making it more accessible, easier to search and easier to edit.

(3) You're using an industry-standard, so work can be passed on easily to other designers, and you can complete another designer's project too.

(4) It's easy to integrate your work with any kind of back-end or content-management system.

(5) You're in control of how your site looks, rather than the software being in control.

(6) It's as easy to learn HTML as it is to learn a WYSIWYG editor.

(7) When a new technique arrives, you can integrate it into your work immediately, rather than waiting for your software developer to catch up.

(8) If you ever need to use a WYSIWYG editor, you'll understand what's going on when it comes to making your pages work.

(9) It's the lowest-cost way to work. Buy a cheap book or use freely-available resources and start with a simple text editor. No shelling-out needed.

(10) You can look down your nose at people not doing it the proper way (joke).

And finally, my site validates according to the W3C, so it's your browser that's got the problem.

OK, You use Dreamweaver and you know enough "code" to iron out the wrinkles and your page doesn't work with IE6.

We'll wait a week and see who's highest on Google?

Except for blogging what difference would using Webplus make?

Paul Andrews, The Seattle Times: "If you can compose a text document in a word processor, you can publish a Web log with TypePad."

Simon Waldman, On the road to blog nirvana: [With TypePad] you get to build the most fantastic looking and fully featured blog using an elegant interface and just about every opportunity to customise it that you could want, without ever having to get your hands dirty with HTML.

And your point is...?

Nothing really. I realize there would be limitations in using Webplus, but why couldn't someone as skilled as yourself use it to create a site that would look as good and work as well as one put together with Dreamweaver?

Off the top of my head, here's three reasons:

- Platform. The majority of professional web designers/developers use Mac OSX. Don't want to get into a platform debate, but with the availability of services like Browsercam, you don't even need a PC around for browser testing. So I for one wouldn't have anything to run WebPlus on.

- Resources. Go to a bookstore and you'll find loads of books and learning resources about Dreamweaver, non about WebPlus. Go on a web design training course and you'll probably be using Dreamweaver, not WebPlus. Look on the Macromedia website and there's a vast amount of professional support resources; Serif have virtually non. Search Google for Dreamweaver and you've got nearly 4 million results; WebPlus brings up less than 50,000 (and most of them aren't relevant). Hire a web designer/developer and (s)he'll probably have used Dreamweaver and almost certainly never heard of WebPlus.

- Extensibility, customisation and integration. Dreamweaver has extensions, modifications and ways of integrating with other applications. And the opposite is true too, with many third-party products and services integrating well with Dreamweaver. Have Serif made this possible with WebPlus? Don't think so...!

But I do actually think this is an unfair comparison. Dreamweaver is designed and marketed as a professional product whereas WebPlus seems firmly aimed at the hobbyist user or dabbler. And this brings me back to my original post.

In the early days, Serif produced a product which allowed ordinary people access to publishing technology that had previously been way too expensive and too difficult to use. A combination of bargain price and good usability meant users had an amazing and pretty unique opportunity. My complaint is that for the average person, WebPlus provides the opposite of the original philosophy by putting needless and inappropriate steps into the process; by heavily limiting the creative and technical possibilities, and by seriously overcharging them for the pleasure.

And a final quick thought. If this was a WebPlus site, we wouldn't be having this lively debate would we?

I don't really understand your criticism, Simon. Obviously writing raw HTML is the most versatile way to create web-pages - particularly if you also learn style sheets, javascript and any number of other technologies. However, tell a self-employed accountant (say) without technical knowledge that they have to learn all these things before they can create a simple website for their business and they'll probably faint.

WebPlus excels at allowing 'ordinary' computer users - not programmers, graphic designers etc - to create visually attractive web-sites, without having to learn a whole set of skills which they may never use again. Nor does it require them to have graphical skills to produce a site provided they are happy with the templates - something for which personally I am especially grateful. As such, it genuinely does empower people.

Admittedly, it doesn't support blogging but then that is only one use of a web-site. Specialist blogging sites are obviously going to be a lot better at this than a piece of software with a different focus. Equally, you wouldn't use blogging tools to create a business homepage.

I think 'Sour Grapes' may be the most intelligent comment in this thread.

It's the comments thread that wouldn't die, and thanks for yours Adrian. I'd guess that most self-employed accountants would recommend that self-employed web designers didn't do their own accounts, and vice-versa.

I'd also think that the thousands and thousands of people using tools like Moveable Type, TypePad, WordPress, Textism, pMachine etc to create business websites would disagree with you, too.

And as you don't undertands my criticism, I'll summarise: -

- Learning some basic HTML is no more difficult than learning yet another WYSIWYG application and it's a skill that can be transferred.

- Add a blogging tool (or just jump straight to this step) and you've got a very cost-effective, very powerful, modern way to create any kind of website.

- If you really do want to go the WYSIWYG route, at least choose an application that has a proper level of support. Dreamweaver, springs to mind.

And with that, the comments are closed.

The comments to this entry are closed.