Q&A: WordPress or Dreamweaver?

Q I have been learning to use WordPress and am being blown away by its power, simplicity and beautiful third party themes. But when is it best to use the likes of Dreamweaver, in preference to WordPress, to create websites?

A There is no ‘one size fits all’ in website authoring and publishing. Some superb and highly successful sites have been created using just a text editor, or with simple consumer products like iWeb.

Perhaps the most important criterion for any web design and publishing application is whether it enables you to create what you envisage. Of course Adobe Dreamweaver and other high-end packages can do a huge range of things that WordPress cannot. Given suitable extensions, it is hard to conceive a site specification that could not be satisfied by Dreamweaver and its ilk.

But do you really want all that? Have you ever tried using Dreamweaver? It is not an application for the casual user, but intended much more for full-time professionals who might have to cater for the most demanding of client requirements.

You may also find it interesting to look at some of your favourite websites; inspect their source, as most will reveal details of the development platform used.

So do not feel compelled to use Dreamweaver: if there is something that you want to do that WordPress struggles over or lacks, look for the most suitable substitute that will enable your creativity, not get in the way of it. This is not (for once) a technical answer, but choosing creative tools is about enabling and empowering, not making features become ends in themselves.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 27 issue 2, 2011.