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Dreamweaver vs WordPress?

November 4, 2012

What is the difference between WordPress and Dreamweaver? …This is a question that is popping up a lot, so I figure I should answer it.

First of all, though they look the same from the non-nerd’s perspective, they are in fact very different from each other:

  1. Dreamweaver is a web design program that you install on YOUR computer. WordPress is a content management system (basically a bunch of php pages) that you install on your web server – not your home computer.
  2. A website built with Dreamweaver can be uploaded to any web server. When you build a website with WordPress, the website and WordPress become one. You need to have WordPress running to run the website, because the website is dynamically being generated by the WordPress engine.
  3. Dreamweaver is like a set of power tools, that can speed up the web design process. WordPress is like a Lego game, where all the pieces are already made, and all you have to do is snap them together.

… Finally, WordPress is free and Dreamweaver is a commercial product that cost hundreds of dollars.

What do I mean by: WordPress is dynamically generating web pages?

In a nutshell:

When you create a website using WordPress, your website is actually being stored in the WordPress database … and when someone comes to your WordPress based website and clicks on a link to see a page, WordPress grabs the web page from the database and builds it on-the-fly.

This building of web pages on-the-fly, is why it is called ‘dynamic’, because each time the page is requested by some visitor, the WordPress engine rebuilds the web page using the information stored in it’s database.

Check out my article on database driven websites if you want to learn more about it.

When should you use WordPress, or when should you use Dreamweaver?

This was a trick question because they are really not competing products … in fact, Dreamweaver has built in tools that are design specifically to work with WordPress. You see, regardless of all the details I listed above, both Dreamweaver and WordPress (in the end) generate web pages.

You can use Dreamweaver to help create WordPress visual templates (called WordPress themes) with Dreamweaver’s WordPress template tools or you can just use basic HTML and CSS skills to edit the WordPress templates by hand.

My Advice:

If you are just looking to build a site for your small business, then I would learn a little HTML and CSS and then use WordPress to build your site. You don’t need to spend $400+ on Dreamweaver to build one site!

… But, if you are looking to become a web designer or you plan on building many sites, you may want to learn Dreamweaver too.

I hope that helps,

Stefan Mischook