The IDE Of Dreams

Our technical director explains why Code Enigma is making the switch to Dreamweaver and what that means for our workflow

Photo of Greg Harvey
Tue, 2014-04-01 06:31By greg

Developers are always arguing over which IDE is the best. Is it Sublime Text 2, Netbeans, PHP Storm, Vim, Eclipse - no, everyone hates Eclipse, except for me, it seems - but you know what I mean. Well, at Code Enigma we're sick of IDE autocracy and the religious wars of words that come with it. We have decided to go back to Dreamweaver and enforce it from the top down.

That probably seems like a strange move, and one perhaps unpopular within a company that is usually fairly open to free choice of software by the team, but we’re confident of success. So why Dreamweaver?

Well for a starter, familiarity. Most of our team have used it in the past, and those who haven't can learn it quickly. Although Steve and I don’t do much development these days, it’s fair to say we’re still familiar with the Dreamweaver UI, perhaps more so than other IDEs, so it also allows us to get involved more easily with projects.

But mainly it allows us to be more competitive and drive down costs for our customers. This applies in many ways.

For one, no more time-consuming writing of JavaScript or CSS. We've seen how long it takes to do these responsive themes using the latest software. Dreamweaver does all that stuff for you and all you have to do is point and click and save. And anyone can do it, we don't need to rely on front-end developers and their shaky Ruby stacks. In fact, we can just hire interns for that stuff once we move back to Dreamweaver. We don’t even need ‘front-enders’.

Along similar lines, prototyping as a separate exercise is unnecessary with Dreamweaver. Because you can just draw your HTML pages with ‘layers’, there’s no need to work in separate tools for wireframing. There’s also no need to move again when it comes to implementation, you can add colours, fonts, etc. directly to your wireframes in HTML, in Dreamweaver, saving a ton of time and money. Once fiddling about with dirty ‘theming engines’ is a thing of the past, we’re sure our customers will see a significant cost saving. And for those who insist on some mobile support, we can easily template mobile versions of their websites.

Plus the excellent Dreamweaver ‘template’ system means our customers can just edit the pages in place, if we furnish them with the appropriate client software. In fact, in many cases we may not use Drupal any more, because with good Dreamweaver template set-up we can have HTML pages with gaps in so clients can fill in the pages themselves. Let’s face it, most people don’t really have enough to say to justify a CMS anyway!

Then there’s the important considerations around hosting and supporting. Firstly, there’s the huge performance enhancement of not having a dynamic CMS in the background at all. You can host this with a simple web server, even IIS.

Finally, it has a beautiful workflow built in for FTP, so we can stop worrying about public keys and Jenkins and ssh and all that stuff. Those kinds of devops are expensive, we probably spend 25% of our money on supporting our developers with deployment tools and associated services. We can make our products a lot cheaper by re-deploying our devops team as Dreamweaver operators and just doing HTML over FTP. We plan to keep on one administrator to look after our Windows servers, hopefully Mig, as he has a particular love for Microsoft. Heck, we can even offer budget hosting on shared Godaddy accounts for clients on a really tight budget.

Don’t think for one moment we did all this without any consultation with the development team. We were careful to run this by our senior developer in France, Pascal Morin, and he gave it his ringing endorsement (he shrugged and said ‘pourquoi pas’). We figure the rest of the team will be just as delighted with the move. So Dreamweaver here we come! Happy days are here again! Steve and I might just start coding again... watch this space.