Composer Voted Third Best Web Development Tool in Readers' Choice Awards

Monday December 1st, 2003

irongut writes in with news that Mozilla Composer 1.5 came third in the Best Web Development Tool category of the CNET 2nd Annual Readers' Choice Awards: "Their commentary says: 'Mozilla's relatively high showing is a bit of a surprise because, frankly, I never considered it to be a development tool. Perhaps those members using Mozilla would like to share with us what they like about it as a Web development tool.' Obviously they've never heard of Venkman."

#1 target audience

by mlefevre

Monday December 1st, 2003 7:09 AM

Venkman (not that I'd say it's part of composer really...) is certainly nice for developers. However, I can see the reason for the surprise expressed. The poll is, in theory, for developers. Composer (at least in 1.5) is rather lacking in features for developers building web sites of any significance.

I guess there's just a lot of people voting in the poll that are building smaller sites without too many pages or plugins or whatever...

#2 Re: target audience

by Down8

Monday December 1st, 2003 1:28 PM

If you look at the percentages, you'll see that the top 2 positions make up over 60% of those polled, so the fact that Composer got a relatively slim ~8% isn't as surprising. I think, among developers, Mozilla is fairly well known, and 'standards compliance' being a pushed keyword of anything Mozilla, I can see many developers giving it a shot. And, for those that purposely avoid plugins and whatnot, I'm sure Composer fits them perfectly.


#5 Re: Re: target audience

by jilles

Tuesday December 2nd, 2003 2:41 AM

I think even 8% is amazing. Composer is a nice tool for people who are not webdevelopers. Any webdeveloper would become frustrated by its severely limited features within seconds after starting to use it. This is intentional because composer is intended for end users who just want a simple tool to produce some HTML. It competes with MS word and openoffice. It does not compete with frontpage, dreamweaver, adobe golive or other professional webauthoring tools.

Anyhow, it is a clear demonstration of how polls are not a very reliable source of information. I doubt the poll reflects the actual marketshare of the tools that were involved.

#9 Re: Re: Re: target audience

by Tanyel

Tuesday December 2nd, 2003 1:24 PM

So, the browser is (for developers and not end users) but the editor is (for end users and not developers)? If the target audience of C-Net matched the C-net site content, I would not be surprised if the answer to every poll question was "America Online". I think the webpage editor included with Netscape 4.8 (or whatever the last one was) is the best free one, and I still suggest it to people who ask.

#11 Re: Re: Re: Re: target audience

by jilles

Tuesday December 2nd, 2003 11:46 PM

It was my polite way of saying that composer is so (deliberately) dumbed down that I cannot possibly imagine that it is of any use to any developer with a clue. Of course there are plenty without one and it is not entirely unlikely that they end up reading cnet indeed. What I recall of netscape 4.x (havent't used it since '99) is that the composer part had the same audience as the modern version.

#12 good points

by Down8

Wednesday December 3rd, 2003 12:58 AM

I understand what you're getting at, and assuming a good sampling, 8% would be amazing. But, we know FrontPage is shit, and my previous use of DreamWeaver got relegated to a site management tool, as I still hand coded most templates, and just let DreamWeaver keep track of everything (surely to the chagrin of my boss who had spent money on DW while I used Notepad most of the time). I don't know how common this practice may be.


#3 Re: target audience

by jgraham

Monday December 1st, 2003 3:16 PM

I suspect that labelling the axis 'Mozilla composer 1.5' is misleading. I'd guess the abilities of the suite taken as a whole (or alternatively, Firebird + standalone composer + DOM Inspector + Venkman + extensions) is what is attractive. There is a web-development methodology currently en-vouge with people who care about standards which encourages development in the most standards compliant browser first and then hacking the design to work in other browsers. Since this methodology favours people who actually do all the coding in somthing simple like emacs(!) (or notepad or BB Edit, or whatever), it makes sense that they might vote for Mozilla as the best web development environment, since not only does it provide an excellent rendering engine, but it also provides a lot of supporting tools (DOMI+Venkman+etc.) that are needed if you actually code in a text editor.

#4 don't forget the dom explorer

by bogado

Tuesday December 2nd, 2003 2:34 AM

Even thought I don't use "wysiwyg", but mainly text editor's to edit the pages and the CSS for my sites. I find that the DOM explorer is indispensable to track why something is getting out of place or not showing correctly. I aways get mad when I have to find out, why something don't show correctly in explorer for the lack of a good ie dom explorer.

#6 Re: don't forget the dom explorer

by jilles

Tuesday December 2nd, 2003 2:45 AM

The main reason I use dreamweaver in code mode is that it sucks at interpreting CSS. I find that when I am designing I prefer to work with code whereas when I'm adding content I like to swith to wysiwyg. Typing the href gibberish and having to think about closing your p tags is tedious when you are typing text for your website. Adding a link should not be more difficult than highlighting some words and pasting a link.

#7 Re: Re: don't forget the dom explorer

by grayrest

Tuesday December 2nd, 2003 4:57 AM

You've hit the exact problem I've been running into for years. I plan on (eventually) hacking mozile to work as a content editor that can only insert a predefined set of styles/markup. The workflow would be something like: write page framework (text editor), write css (text editor), do graphics (photoshop), do content (mozile). I want something kind of like a wiki but WYSIWYG and with proper markup and styling. I could then design sites and hand them over to the nonprofit secretaries/organizers that I typically do pages for, which would prevent me from having to maintain them. It'd be great.

#13 Dreamweaver and CSS

by spage

Wednesday December 3rd, 2003 9:01 PM

Are you using Dreamweaver MX 2004? The CSS rendering and CSS editors are far ahead of earlier versions, and you can apply styles from the property inspector.

#8 Mozilla for complex sites

by bhuot

Tuesday December 2nd, 2003 7:34 AM

I use Mozilla Composer 1.5 and Taco HTML edit 1.5 for a site with thousand of files and hundreds of html pages and it is definitely heavily multimedia. I think there is a big difference in those who hand craft each page individually with quality content and those who mass produce sites that all look the same. I do the former and Mozilla works fine for that. Mozilla is more comparable to Contribute or Freeway Express though than Dreamweaver. Something like Dreamweaver is only needed at a huge code intensive sites. Composer handles Flash and other plugins fine, although I wouldn't trust it with JavaScript. The one problem I have with it is if I cut and paste graphics, they come in absolutely linked.

#10 Venkman?

by vocaro

Tuesday December 2nd, 2003 8:07 PM

"Obviously they've never heard of Venkman"

Huh? They voted for Composer, not Venkman. They are two very different things, so I don't think it's fair to assault their ignorance when clearly you are the one confused.