Adobe and Macromedia – good or bad for the web?

The Register has an article predicting that Adobe’s purchase of Macromedia will stifle development of Dreamweaver.

Whether that’s true, or not, I don’t know/care. I do, however, disagree with the author’s conclusion that any reining back of Dreamweaver development would be “bad news for online development”.

Supposedly higher-end WYSIWYG tools, such as Dreamweaver, are bad news for online development. They promote sloppy web page creation, giving print designers an analogue to the print design tools they’re used to, by doing everything they can to hide the nature of the web as a distinct medium.

Whereas tools such as NVU make no claim to be of professional grade, Dreamweaver’s unfortunate kudos leads pure-play designers to believe it magically transforms them into web designers.

If Adobe’s purchase of Macromedia does prove to be “bad news for online development”, it will be because the Adobe name lends even greater credence to the mistaken idea that you don’t need to hand code to create decent websites. Worst of all, another software producer with a near-monopoly in its market, may lead to the creation of some nasty pseudo-standards. Let’s hope that, without a browser to interpret such “standards”, we’ll be saved from that.