Web Design, Part Deux: Dreamweaver, Arachnophilia and Coffee Cup

Alrighty. I know you’ve been waiting. Today, I’m reviewing one free to try, pay to keep web design program (Dreamweaver) and two totally freebies (Arachnophilia and Coffee Cup).

I started using Dreamweaver when it was owned by Macromedia in version MX 2004. I recently picked up Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 (el cheapo as a student from my school). This will review mainly the overall program of Dreamweaver – pick the version you want more if it is what you choose to use.

Dreamweaver has a nice three view main window – you can view only hand coding, view only WYSWIG (What You See Is What You Get) or view gasp a combination of both. No matter what your preferred view, you can use internal settings to open the page in your favorite browser and others to preview them.

Secondary windows in the Dreamweaver main screen can include tabs for buttons that include different types of codes (the buttons all make great sense and are organized in order of prominence in web building); another includes the directory of where your files are;

In the hand coding area, when you start typing Dreamweaver gives you popup options about what codes you could possible want and even options that go within the tags to get better control over your site.

There are tons of books available to help you learn about all the functions of Dreamweaver. There is much more to it than just the few details I’ve given here.

Now say you can’t get a deal on Dreamweaver after you’ve tried the free trial. I suggest a program such as Arachnophilia or Coffee Cup. Both have many of the same functions as Dreamweaver, though admittedly it is much less flashy.

Arachnophilia has many buttons that clearly express what tag they can put into your document but only has a code view. Coffee Cup’s free program is well laid out and similar to Dreamweaver’s. It has a code view and a WYSWIG view. It also has a built in preview screen. While neither can do as much as Dreamweaver, they are excellent for doing HTML and have recently adapted to be able to do DHTML, XHTML, etc. They also allow you to work with Javascript files, etc.


HarriMac enjoys a well lived life with a large serving of soul. Her special feature, Welcome to Soulville, appears every Thursday.

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8 Comments

  1. I started with Netobjectsfusion. Dreamweaver was way too difficult for me and CoffeeCup just didn’t do what I wanted to do.

    Now I am using Namo Webeditor :-)

  2. HarriMac

    I’ve never tried those 2 editors. Though I reviewed CoffeeCup it was a bit basic and the older versions were more confusing than the newest editor I reviewed.

    How do you like the editor you use now??

  3. I use Dreamweaver, I got a cheap copy on ebay, but I don’t think it was entirely legit..!! I am interested in coffee cup as I am looking to write an article about how to get ‘on the web’ for free, and that sounds like a good option. I find the 3-view Dreamweaver window a bit crowded, but you can revert to the old-style single-view if you prefer.
    I used MS Frontline before and it is not even is the same league as DreamWeaver…

    • HarriMac

      There used to be another program besides Frontline that MS had that was pretty amazing for web design and easy to use – cannot remember the name for the life of me. It was built into the OS – I think the last version with it was 98 SE.

      I use a widescreen to do everything so I manuever the different stuff in dreamweaver around to make it work best for me. Same with photoshop. Sometimes I revert to either just code or just design if I really just want to have more space to use either. I do like the graphical buttons of dreamweaver that can help you find something. I’ve taught a few web newbie’s how to design in the design view of Dreamweaver and it’s easy enough to understand in that manner. I have one of the books for MX 2004 and it helped me find a lot of things really quickly and even turned me on to some functions I’d never even heard of before.

      Free wise the market is flooded these days – everybody wants a piece. I like arachnophilia but of course I read (and speak and breathe) in code. Coffee cup is pretty decent. There are quite a few more with high ratings at download.com so you might want to check that out for your article.

  4. Thanks HarriMac
    Of course, now I remember properly…frontPAGE, not frontLINE…ooops
    I didn’t get a book with my errrm copy of Macromedia Studio, but then I only paid $5 for it – I said it wasn’t entirely legit… :oops:I did buy it off ebay, but the seller has now mysteriously been removed…! 👿

    • HarriMac

      i wasn’t a big fan of front page. they had a different program, that you could only find by going to the accessories menu or something. it was a four letter acronym that escapes me (and google isn’t helping).

      my book didn’t come with dreamweaver. i am not even sure if anything in that suite comes with a comprehensive guide – you’d have to buy it. i got one on amazon about 2 years ago that has been a life saver in some instances and taught me a lot.

      i won’t say precisely how i got my copy of MX 2004 but it was about as non-legal as the copy you have! does your copy work fully??

      • I usually use Nvu for coding, and Front Page if I’m certain that the users will be mostly using IE.

      • yep it works fine….more features than I will ever use… 😀