Which Is Better – Dreamweaver or Expression Web?

For over a decade, the world of web development has been dominated by two software programs: Macromedia’s (later Adobe’s) Dreamweaver, and Microsoft’s FrontPage. For many years, the general consensus among web development professionals was that Dreamweaver was the superior program in a multitude of ways. A few years ago, however, Microsoft released Expression Web Designer which in many ways leveled the playing field. The question many ask today is, “Which is better? Dreamweaver or Expression?” This article will try to answer that.

Ease of Use

Both programs have very good point-and-click WYSIWYG editors, enabling even people who know nothing about HTML and CSS to build quality web pages. In this category, however, Expression is probably slightly better. Expression looks and feels very much like using Microsoft word, right down to the red squiggly underlines beneath coding errors, much like how Word points out spelling errors. Expression’s user interface makes it very intuitive and easy to use for novices. Dreamweaver, on the other hand, has a more complicated, feature-packed interface that hold greater appeal for experienced web developers.

Client-Side Scripting

Both programs handle Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) extremely well, automatically generating and displaying it accurately. Again, Expression is slightly better in this area, displaying CSS code more precisely.

When it comes to client-side scripting, it is difficult to see which software is better. They do different things, but both do it extremely well. Dreamweaver provides excellent support for Spry, YUI libraries, and APIs for jQuerry, but little support for ASP.NET’s AJAX. Expressions strengths and weaknesses are almost the exact opposite. It provides the finest support got AJAX… but little else.

Server-Side Scripting

Dreamweaver generally wins in this category. Dreamweaver supports PHP, JSP, ColdFusion, and several other platforms. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support the widespread and popular ASP.NET server scripting language (although it does support classic ASP). Once again, Expression is almost the polar opposite. Expression provides unparalleled support for ASP.NET, but little else (not even, strangely classic ASP). In the final analysis, Expression is the superior program for web development within predominantly Microsoft environment, while Dreamweaver’s superior support and flexibility makes it better for web development on most other platforms.

Site Management

For years, Dreamweaver’s far superior website management features made it a clear winner over Microsoft FrontPage. Microsoft Expression, however, and considerably narrowed that gap, providing a wider feature set and compatibility with Dreamweaver websites. Dreanweaver, however, still maintains its lead in this category with a wider and more efficient range of website management tools.

So Who Wins?

Unfortunately, it’s a draw – at least according to your own personal preferences. I am more of a Dreamweaver guy, and believe they are going to be around for many years to come. Each program is better for certain situations, but poorly suited to others. If you are an amateur web designer working with an all-Microsoft environment (like a corporate network), Expression is more compatible and easier to use. More experienced web developers working within a cross-platform environment (a mixed network of Unix, Linux. and Microsoft platform is very common these days) would find Dreamweaver’s flexibility and robust feature set more useful and efficient.

As internet technology continues to grow, diversify, and specialize, the days of a one-program-fits all solution are quickly fading. Today, one needs the right tool for the right job. To that end, web developers may find it more effective to keep both Dreamweaver and Expression software in their virtual toolbox.

Ecommerce Website Development Strategies for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

If you are planning to start your own online business, you have to be familiar with cost-effective strategies used for ecommerce website development. By helping your visitors find their way to your website, you can increase your sales and establish long-lasting relationships with your clients.

Here are some ways to design a user-friendly website that can keep your visitors interested with your products and services.

Create well-defined buy paths

The most effective way to increase your sales is to create structured systems of buy paths. Buy paths can be characterized into two categories: a path that directly leads to a page where clients can make a purchase; and a long path that will detour clients along the way. Instead of leading your customers to this long path, concentrate on bringing them directly to pages where they can purchase your products.

Exceptional ecommerce website development can be achieved by giving your clients a clear idea about what you are trying to sell them. Once they have learned more about your products, they will be more than willing to send you their order forms and contact numbers.

Get your message across

The crucial part in ecommerce website development is to allow your visitors to understand what your site is about at a single glance. Place a general message of six to eight words at the center of your homepage. Look for a supporting image that is directly related to the message you have posted.

After doing this, consult a graphic designer and ask him if your advertisement looks professional enough. Limit the ad size by up to 250 pixels high and make sure that it occupies your site’s full width. Do your best to conserve the vertical space in order to allow rows of your products to fit right below your homepage advertisement. Your products must also be visible enough without scrolling in order to make them accessible to your viewers.

Highlight the buy buttons

Another strategy for effective ecommerce website development includes the need to make your buy buttons obvious to your visitors. Your web pages must be composed in such a way that viewers will not need to scroll down to locate the buy button. If it is too hard to find, your customers might get lost in your navigation page and lose their interest in your products.

Reduce the clicking needed

The longer the path towards your order form, the more likely your clients can get lost or frustrated with your website. Provide them with the shortest way to buy your products by limiting the number of clicks needed to arrive at the page where they can finally provide their shipping addresses and credit card numbers.

Avoid unnecessary graphics

If you want your prospective clients to enjoy their first visit to your website, refrain from including unnecessary graphics, marquee texts and buttons in your navigation page. This will only get in your way of ranking high in search engines and attracting more people to visit your page.

Competitive techniques for ecommerce website development involve the need to keep your pages SEO-friendly and user-friendly. Since search engines will view your navigation page as your site’s foundation, its design will have a high impact on the visibility of your page in search engine rankings. Plan your navigation systems and include phrases and keywords that you are targeting in your well-defined search engine optimization strategy.

As much as possible, you must refrain from using flash images and vibrant colors. These will only confuse your visitors and make them lose their focus. Capitalize on images and colors that will perfectly complement your website’s content and essence.

Organize your navigation page

You can also succeed in your ecommerce website development goals by limiting your categories and leaving enough room for different elements that your visitors are expecting to see in your navigation page. Some of the most important items that you must place in your homepage include your logo, your free shipping offers and the various payment methods that you are accepting. These pieces of information will make shoppers feel more secure and comfortable with the legitimacy of your business.

Use distinct SEO footers

SEO footers are also crucial to cost-effective ecommerce website development. You can use them to separate information pages from your main product catalog. Refrain from distracting your shoppers by adding other pages such as About Us, History and other informational pages.

Hire skilled web developers

If you are not too keen about designing your website on your own, you can hire professional web designers to do all the work for you. Their skills and knowledge regarding successful ecommerce website development will help you reach your target audience in the shortest possible amount of time.

When screening various website developers, take your time while browsing through their sample websites and their portfolios. Choose a company that offers competitive ecommerce solutions for building profitable ecommerce websites. A professional team of web developers will always do everything in their power to make your dream website come true.

These are the most important factors that you need to consider when building your own website. Whether you want to design a website on your own or to hire ecommerce website development teams, a user-friendly and SEO-friendly navigation page will always be your key to success.

Essential Web Hosting Tools and Technologies

Even if you’re not a web developer, webmaster, or system administrator, you still ought to consider developer tools when buying web space. It’s better to prepare now rather than discover later that your web host doesn’t support a feature you need. There are a lot of developer tools out there, but these are the most essential.

PHP

PHP is a commonly used server-side scripting language. This means that scripts coded in PHP are executed on your web server, as opposed to your visitor’s computer. PHP will provide your website’s functionality. In fact, most popular web applications, blogging platforms, and content management systems are written in PHP. Make sure your web host supports the latest version of PHP. It’s also an advantage if they support older versions, since some web applications may still use them.

MySQL

MySQL is a relational database management system, which is used to store your website data. A scripting language like PHP is responsible for writing and reading the information stored in MySQL databases. It’s best to sign up with a web host that allows unlimited databases. Some web hosts provide a limited number, which will be inconvenient if you plan to build multiple websites.

Cron

Cron is a job scheduler. It allows users to run scripts or commands at a scheduled date and time, whether it’s a one-time task or a periodic one. Cron jobs are commonly used for system maintenance, such as automatic backups. They can also be used for other purposes, like sending email to mailing lists. A web host that provides an integrated control panel makes setting up cron jobs much easier by allowing you to use a visual interface.

CGI

CGI, or Common Gateway Interface, is a standard protocol for external gateway programs to interface with information servers. Basically, it’s a way for servers to interact with users. For example, web forms use CGI to process submitted form data.

.htaccess

Htaccess enables directory-level configuration. When you place an.htaccess file in a directory, you can override and fine-tune your web server’s configuration for that directory and its subdirectories.

Bonus: Ruby on Rails

While it may not be considered essential, Ruby on Rails support is a good thing to have. RoR is a web application framework used to build websites. It’s said to be simpler than PHP; it has more readable syntax, and allows applications to be developed with less code. Since it’s a new framework, some web hosts don’t support it just yet. It’s a good idea to find a web host that does, since RoR is becoming more and more popular.