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I work for a school district and we currently use the old Google sites for all of our schools. I've been pushing really hard to move away from that and host/write our own sites from scratch. Things are moving forward in that regard, but my boss wants to do it in Dreamweaver because he has experience with that, albeit only as a hobbyist. Other than him it's me who has web dev experience, but I've gone to school for it and I've built a few web apps with react.

I've tried to tell him that I've have strong opinions against using Dreamweaver, especially in such a production environment.

What would be the best way of persuading him to keep it modern? Should I just tell him the performance benefits, and how the benefits of modern tools like webpack, sass, babel etc would greatly enhance the entire developer and user experience? I do have great rapport with him, maybe it would be better if I just ask him to take a chance and trust me?


With regards to using a CMS such as joomla or WordPress, there are a few reasons. They are limited in what they can provide, and come with a but of overhead. While they may be built with performance, once someone goes in and starts editing performance is lost. I also have greater ideas, such as implementing a service worker, which isn't supported in a CMS as far as I'm aware.

I'd also like to use this as a learning opportunity for students to get involved with. We currently have a game development class at the high school level, and this may hold benefits for students in that regard. Whereas using a CMS, they wouldn't gain as much education as they would with a modern PWA.

Future plans also include replacing our current iOS and Android app that we've contracted blackboard to create for us, either with react native or just a PWA. No I haven't mentioned those plans to my boss because those are a ways away and it's baby steps right now.

The position of web developer isn't a real position at the district as of yet, but things are moving in that direction and we're preparing for that day, which is fast approaching. So if I do leave, it's just a matter of filling the position, not just hoping someone in the department can figure things out.

No it's not ideal, but even if we're to use Dreamweaver my knowledge is greater than his and there is no guarantee he would be able to pick up the slack after I'm gone, and they'd be in the same position to find a Dev who could, and no developer is going to want to spend time working with an outdated tool. This may not be the best place to post this, if it would do better somewhere else let me know!

  • What is wrong with Dreamweaver? Building from scratch you don't use third party stuff at all. Dreamweaver is a pretty powerful tool anyway. – Kilisi Apr 12 '17 at 2:32
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    If you build the site from scratch, who supports it after you are gone? Does your school district routinely hire experienced web devs, or would you be better off using a tool that would be relatively easy for someone to pick up? – Seth R Apr 12 '17 at 2:56
  • Your post seems to be in reverse order. "I work for a school district..." and the paragraphs that follow should be on top. – Brandin Apr 12 '17 at 6:19
  • While they may be built with performance, once someone's goes in and starts editing performance is lost. Same when people don't know how to use properly a library, a framework or even a language. This argument worth nothing. An argument that could be made is that no one has the knowledge in Dreamweaver and has knowledge in a CMS or framework. So they would have to not only pay for dreamweaver, but pay frmation and have the risk that the finished product work not so good because it was the first project done with it by the team. – Walfrat Apr 12 '17 at 7:21
  • To your concern about a CMS not providing what you need: that's why there are extensions, some of them very good. Drupal in particular is well-suited to power user developers, if you want to write your own service worker extension. Do adequate requirements analysis to make sure you don't end up re-implementing the big framework you thought you didn't need. But I agree that going hands-on will provide the students a better learning experience. – Pedro Apr 12 '17 at 16:48
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I am 99.9% sure that, however simple the school website needs to be, either one of you will spend more time writing a website from scratch than if you use a CMS like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla with a nice theme. Unless you have very specific needs that cannot be met by lightly reconfiguring the theme or installing a few extensions, and I doubt you do, there is no good reason for either of you to do any coding or design work yourselves.

This isn't a question of which one of you can do it better. It's a question of why you should do it yourselves when most of the work has already been done for you. And even if you don't spend any actual money on creating the website yourselves, what is the opportunity cost? Is there really nothing else more valuable that you or your boss could be spending time on instead of wrestling with CSS and browser quirks?

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    Maintainability is also a crucial point, these themes are often well covered in future updates and less time needs to be allocated to keep the site up to snuff. Making something is great, keeping it is low-maintenance is even better. – Charles Borg Apr 12 '17 at 8:36
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I think you need to speak to your boss about your plans.

The school want a site to replace their current one. A static HTML site will do the job in improving their current site. To write a static HTML site in Dreamweaver is perfectly adequate. I wouldn't, but Dreamweaver is an IDE, it's not a technology stack.

Your plans (which I comment btw) are much more than just a website rewrite. If you say

I want to use the website refresh as an opportunity to teach my class X and Y. I really feel this would be beneficial to the school as a whole, as it will have a better website and the lessons we can provide the students will set us apart from other schools (or whatever reasons you have that you think this is a good idea).

You could also suggest a phased approach.

  1. A quick website redesign. Using Dreaweaver (or any IDE, if your boss uses dreamweaver, you could use notepad, it all works the same) .
  2. Plan additional features with your boss
  3. A second rewrite, with you being able to use it in lessons etc.

There is a need to a redesign. Can they wait X weeks/months for you to teach it? Maybe they want it quicker. If you suggest a short term approach that resolves the need, but make them aware there is a bigger picture, that's how you can sell it to them.

This is a good lesson by the way. Businesses may have a need for a quick solution. They will not always go for the ideal approach and may make what you think are dumb decisions. What you as a developer need to do is fit the need, but convince them that longer term you are right. That way, the business gets the short term need resolved, but eventually, it will be the right solution

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What would be the best way of persuading him to keep it modern?

Tell him the advantages your approach has, over his. Tell him about the performance and productivity benefits which your approach brings to the table.

He's leaning towards his approach, cause he thinks that as he has some experience with it, the team can be done with the project with a fairly less number of hiccups. So, you need to showcase/demonstrate your experience with the tech you are proposing, to convince him about you, and your expertise with the tech.

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DreamWeaver is a perfectly fine and professional product to use for web development. The only difference with DreamWeaver as opposed to something like Sublime Text is that DreamWeaver is an IDE (integrated development environment) which can help and benefit advanced and beginner users alike. It's not a toy that 'noobs' use to get started. It definitely has it's uses.

I don't use DreamWeaver because of my needs. I need a simple stripped back editor without any bells or whistles. However, I can still develop websites with the same calibre using DreamWeaver. It depends on the developer using the software, no the software itself alone.

I would suggest using a CMS such as WordPress or Joomla as you've mentioned as that just makes things easier. Both software you can use within DreamWeaver perfectly fine.

Whoever builds the websites, make sure they use the tools they are happy to use and then leave it at that really.

A bad tradesman always blames his tools.

Well something to that effect (it's a real saying in the UK, I promise).

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When I first started at my current position they pretty much forced me to use Dreamweaver. I kept insisting on using Visual Studio and at one point I was allowed to use VS while my boss kept using DW. Sooner rather than later, while pair-programming he began noticing the benefits of VS and has since switched to VS when not working on any legacy code even though he used to swear by DW and would mock VS.

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