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Webmaster Arguments: What web designers argue about most when designing websites.

Updated on June 22, 2011

The Webmaster Arguments

Why web designers argue so much about how to design a website.

I won't lie about this. Being a web designer is a very stressful business since there are so many people who develop software for it. There is so much competition in this field, but anyone who has been in the web design field for at least 10 years will tell you that they are part of a nice big argument. Actually, they are part of lots of little arguments.


There are so many ways to design a website. Whether you are a novice who got into web design 2 years ago or someone like me who has been doing it for 15 years in 18 different web languages, you must admit that some of the choices when designing a website are mind boggling and every single web designer has their own unique combination of how they design.

Every web designer has a unique toolbox...There are so many options and so many pitfalls. Here are the most popular options that web designers argue about.

What's YOUR unique web design toolbox?

Hand Coding Websites vs Using Dreamweaver

Ok, this is the BIGGEST argument on designing websites. Some webmasters love HTML and some love using programs like Dreamweaver or Microsoft Front Page.

Me personally, I have been handcoding HTML and other languages since 1995 when Dreamweaver was not available yet. Some people thought HTML was a programming language and they would say "I am not a programmer, so I could never be a web designer ". The Dreamweaver got popular and all the web designers were coming out of the woodworks.

I have created over 350 websites and hand coded about 340 of them. I find HTML faster then Dreamweaver. Some of you are probably thinking "huh? Dreamweaver saves you from all that typing". I really don't know why I handcode faster than using Dreamweaver, but maybe it is because I have more control handcoding my own HTML.

The problem with using Dreamweaver: You have no control over the code and have to resort to messy code that sometimes breaks a website. Another "con" of using Dreamweaver is that you rely on a software to do all the coding for you and it does not prepare you for other technologies like jQuery or javascript or PHP.

For you Dreamweaver experts, one this is for sure: Test all of your websites in as many web browsers as you can. Just because you use a web design program does not make your websites work in all web browsers. Always test!

Table Layouts or Tableless CSS Layouts

In 1998 when tables came into HTML 4, I loved it. I could make a website layout with multiple columns. WOOHOO! It was a dream come true. Nobody could yell at you for not laying out your web pages with CSS because CSS was not around yet. I was darn good at using tables to make multi column websites!

When the DIV tag came out in HTML 4, its original purpose was not to use it with CSS to make multiple layout websites. Since 2005, when it became clear that webmasters were using DIVs and CSS to make layouts.

All of the webmasters using tables to layout websites were now like criminals. BOY, did we get frowned upon for using tables. Afterall, tables worked well in every web browser. You NEVER had a problem making your websites look correct in all web browsers.

However, when you first got into CSS and tried to make your websites look correct in all the major browsers, it was a major pain in the neck! If it worked in Internet Explorer, it sucked in Firefox. If it looked great in Safari, it broke in Internet Explorer.

It takes a lot to get your websites looking good in CSS. If it breaks in Internet Explorer 6.0, you need to use CSS2 to determine that the web browser is IE 6 and then create a stylesheet just for that.

Well, I am happy to say that I am finally getting the results I was hoping for in CSS, but it was a long hard battle. Sometimes, I feel like going back to tables.

.NET vs PHP vs Ruby On Rails

For the web programmers out there, there are so many choices. I started out as a Classic ASP programmer since it was a lot like VbScript. I loved it. Then Microsoft wanted to implement a design-separation-from-code concept and ASP.NET was born, so the classic ASP developers were ignored after awhile. I moved to PHP.

Well, I settled with PHP and after 7 years of using spaghetti coding, I finally made the plunge into MVC.

HTML 4 or HTML 5

HTML 5 is finally here and we, web designers can finally move our websites to it. Correct? Not yet!!! Internet Explorer is still lagging behind and even though Microsoft has promised that Internet Explorer 9.0 will support HTML 5, there are still people out there using lower versions of HTML 4.

Half of the HTML 5 tags do not work in Internet Explorer. I suggest that if you move to HTML 5, do NOT use any tags that are not supported in Internet Explorer versions lower than 9.

They have this thing called the HTML Shiv which creates HTML 5 tags for Internet Explorer, but only the section level tags like articles, section, aside, and others. I suggest that you do not yet use the Audio and Video tags until ALL web browsers support them.

What's Your Argument?

I am definitely interested in hearing your opinions to the arguments.


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