So you want to build a website. How do you go about doing this? A common, and big, mistake made by people wanting to build a website is to use a visual editor.
But if you want your website to be taken seriously, you will need to avoid visual editors at all costs. Why? Keep reading to find out.
A visual editor does the HTML and CSS coding for you
Visual editors are also called WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors. A popular visual editor is Adobe Dreamweaver, and they let you visually create your site with drag-and-drop – no coding required.
This may seem like the smart way to create a web page, making hand coding look outdated. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Hand coding’s not outdated and it never will be. And using a visual editor to build your website is anything but smart – hardly any web designers advocate the use of them, and this is why.
A visual editor is less accurate than hand coding
Do you like your CSS margins and line spacing to be perfect and consistent? With a visual editor in the way, it can be incredibly difficult to get stuff like this right. Without a visual editor, it’s just you and your code, so you can be sure everything is as it should be.
Recommended Training – Treehouse
Although this site recommends various training services, our top recommendation is Treehouse.
Treehouse is an online training service that teaches web design, web development and app development with videos, quizzes and interactive coding exercises.
Treehouse's mission is to bring technology education to those who can't get it, and is committed to helping its students find jobs. If you're looking to turn coding into your career, you should consider Treehouse.
A visual editor will NOT give you total control over your code
In the web coding world, there are what are called best practices. Best practices are certain ways and techniques of setting out code, standards that all coders follow to get the most efficient code possible. Visual editors will code the way they want, not the way you want.
Often, they will mess up the code by inserting 10 consecutive line breaks where all you need is an increased margin. Or code the CSS in the most verbose and least efficient way possible, inflating your file size.
A visual editor prevents you from making use of new web technologies
Last time we checked, Dreamweaver saves pages in XHTML 1.0. This means that you’re missing out on the new benefits and capabilities that HTML5 brings.
Plus, there’s only so much a visual editor can do. It’s a computer program, after all. When hand coding, you can stretch the boundaries of what’s possible as far as you want, since you’re the one in control.
Sometimes, you know what it is you want to build on your page but just can’t seem to get the visual editor to do it. In these cases, coding’s the only way to go.
Go with WordPress instead
But if you seriously have a problem with coding and want to avoid it at all costs, firstly, what are you doing on this site? (just kidding)
Secondly, the option for you may be to install a system like WordPress on your website. WordPress allows you to choose from a range of professionally designed themes, while you can edit your website content in an easy to use editor.
Have you had any nasty experiences with visual editors? Tell us.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.