back to article Adobe automates website design for arty Luddites

Adobe is looking for beta testers for its web design software, which it claims removes the need for coding. Aimed at graphic designers with limited technical skills, Muse claims to make it possible to design complex websites using point-and-click and drag-and-drop rather than hand coding. Adobe is aiming for a full release of …

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Ru
Unhappy

So the only new thing is the subscription fee?

There's never been a shortage of graphical designers capable of using photoshop to churn out awful image-heavy and utterly inaccessible websites, thanks to Adobe and its past efforts in this area.

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Minor omission

"Aimed at graphic designers with limited technical skills, Muse claims to make it possible to design complex websites using point-and-click and drag-and-drop rather than hand coding."

should be

"Aimed at graphic designers with limited technical skills, Muse claims to make it possible to design complex websites using point-and-click, that will cause you sys-admin to hut to down and kill you plus make your users burst into tears and their router explodes in flames; and drag-and-drop rather than hand coding."

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Anonymous Coward

and...

Also causing anybody caring about standards and cross browser functionality to come after you with a pitchfork.

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Thumb Up

Well said! Just upvoted you...

"...should be

'Aimed at graphic designers with limited technical skills, Muse claims to make it possible to design complex websites using point-and-click, that will cause you sys-admin to hut to down and kill you plus make your users burst into tears and their router explodes in flames; and drag-and-drop rather than hand coding.' "

As mentioned elsewhere, I started designing for the Web in '93; as senior designer -- and unofficial "senior 'Net geek" -- in the design department, part of my job was passing what I'd learned along to the other designers, whose previous interactive design experience was limited to CD-ROM-based presentations and trade show kiosks. It was an uphill fight to help them un-learn bad design habits for network media which was then being pushed over 28.8k modem links (56k if you were flush); years of designing for CD-ROM found them trying to do similar designs for Web pages -- i.e. interfaces that looked like the backflash panels of pinball machines. It looked real snappy when they demoed it over the department's Ethernet LAN, but the true test came when I'd go home after work and test it out over my 28.8k modem link. Oh, the humanity.

And btw, I actually did hand-code my html for nearly ten years -- trying out one drag'n'drop WYSIWYG html layout program after another and dropping them when they turned out to be crap -- before I finally could stand no more and settled on Dreamweaver. It can be kind of flaky now and again, but it sure beats the living shit out of PageMill (remember PageMill? How I wish I could forget) -- or, even worse, the html export modules for PageMaker and Word.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mike Flugennock

Enact a new corporate policy "All sites must be 100% viable in 'w3m', 'lynx' or similar".

Not only does this force good standards, graceful degradation etc; but it also means the site will be a helluvah lot easier for those using screen readers etc.

And not being accessible could well be an offence (depending on where you live).

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Devil

Lynx? M'eh, I don't know...

The Lynx requirement is a bit over the top, imho. There was a time, for the first few years I designed for the Web, when there were still lots of folks running Lynx over modem links, when that was really important, but not so much anymore, it seems. Besides, the bigger pain in the ass I've had to deal with for years has been comping two versions of my designs -- one for IE, and one for everybody else. You think I've got long hair now; you should've seen how much hair I had before I had to start coming up with separate designs for IE. Oh, the humanity.

One thing I've tried to keep constant in my work is to keep the image loads to a minimum (although back in the early broadband days, I did have a thing for client-side image maps -- jeezus, those were fun as hell to design). Ironically, when ISDN -- and later, DSL -- became available and widespread, most designers seemed to follow a corollary of that old law of code expanding to fill available memory. Sadly, as broadband became widely used, I saw more of my fellow designers thinking "hot damn, we can shove all sorts of fat, bloated, image-heavy layouts over the pipe now!" -- while, in the meantime, my first thought was "hot damn, my clean, image-light layouts will really come slamming over the pipe now!".

As far as accessibility and usability goes, I've tried to bring along some useful things I've learned from my years of doing print design (yeah, I'm really that old), such as not getting overly weird with type sizes and colors. I always use a plain white background -- like a print page, in a newspaper or magazine -- with my body copy in a nice, clean, darkish sans-serif face in something larger than Price Slightly Higher In California Medium; I experimented a bit with colored backgrounds early on, but it was just too big a pain in the ass (I'm not really a violent guy at all, but when background images first became available, it made me want to beat the shit out of some people). Whenever I see some blog "designed" with a weird pastel background color, and body copy that's set just a shade darker in some teeny-assed serif face, it makes me want to find out where the designer lives so that I can go over to his house, take away his computer and break all his goddamn' fingers.

But, hey... at least that goddamn' round-cornered rectangle bullshit is over.

(Spawn Of Satan icon, for Adobe Muse)

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Stop

Oh God

This sounds like it will be fun for proper web designers and devlopers when it comes to maintaining code and upgrading features

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Paris Hilton

I doubt

that anyone who uses this "tool" will know the meaning of the phrases "maintaining code" and "upgrading features".

Paris because she definitely knows what a tool is for :)

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Angel

1.5?

http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/angel_32.png

Page Mill 1.5, is it? FINALLY after 20+ years and the millennium, I can upgrade!

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FAIL

This looks good ...

... until you see it's intended for being hosted on their servers, and migration to your own hosting is going to be a pain: from the Muse website FAQ page:

"Any client site code -- pages designed in Muse, resulting HTML, CSS, JScript and such -- could be downloaded using a common FTP client, then uploaded to a new hosting platform. However any investment you made with CMS data around for example blog entries, contact forms, or back-end customer data could be exported to a tab-delineated text file, but building the data interaction would be unique to the new platform you went to, so there would be work involved."

So if you're trying to create a website has any database functionality, you're out of luck. Other codeless platforms like clearString have solved this portability, so it's weird that Adobe haven't.

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Holmes

They don't want it to be protable

They want to keep you paying the monthly subscription fee,

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Coffee/keyboard

Oh, subscription-based AND "in the Cloud"?

Oh, Sweet Jeezus, DOUBLE-PLUS FAIL. Double-plus pain in the ass for hosting as well.

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Meh

Lolz

"Adobe is looking for beta testers for its web design software, which it claims removes the need for coding." = Methinks that should be 'demonstrates the need of Muse developers to learn to code efficiently'.

Seen the source that this shit puts out? Example - 599 div's on a single tiny page (muse.adobe.com). I never realised that I should be wrapping pretty much every element in a div. Shame on me!

I wouldn't feed Muse code to a troll, let alone a production server. I can only hope that 2012 sees Muse rewritten to produce clean, efficient code and not the flatulance it currently spits out.

Pile o' crap.

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From the M$ School

Sounds like the sort of rubbish Word pumps out. Even Dreamweaver is getting worse when it comes to coding, telling me I have a syntax error as soon as I start typing a line. We are now moving over to Aptana.

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Unhappy

Wouldn't hold your breath...

" I can only hope that 2012 sees Muse rewritten to produce clean, efficient code and not the flatulance it currently spits out."

Yeah, good luck with that!

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Aptano

@Mark I went the other way, from Aptana to Dreamweaver (code view). The constant syntax error warnings whenever I start typing is nowhere near as annoying as Aptana's insistance of popping up a list of ampersand commands whenever I close php, or putting the closing tags after the cursor whenever I start a new one.

Oh and just had a look at the Muse demo as well, omg you guys weren't joking. I sometimes feel I'm coding sloppily by using too many divs, but after looking at that site......

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Meh

This new round "wheel" rawks!

Not the first visual site designer by a long way, not likely to be my favourite either if based on InDesign. But regardless, web designers tend to miss the point that code bloat, maintenance, server-side data freedom is not massively important to clients or end users in small businesses, sole traders, clubs, charities etc (despite it being eloquently explained for standards, futureproofing, speed or whatever else). They'll even pay an overly high monthly sub to Adobe if 'it just works'.

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Problem is when "just works" stops working.

Or when your club grows and there's an exploitable flaw in the code that exposes membership information, for example. Then you'll have to pay someone to sort out the mess, which could be more costly than having a simpler site developed in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, I do think there's a place for quick, easy, messy tools -- it just pays to think ahead.

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Coat

A title is required

"Or when your club grows and there's an exploitable flaw in the code that exposes membership information, for example."

Of course, I have yet to see any evidence that folks who code by hand are any better about security in this regard... *ahem* OSCommerce *ahem*

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FAIL

Have you looked at the code?

Seriously, I've not seen any WYSIWYG tool pump out such terrible code. There's virtually a DIV around every full stop.

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oh no.. oh dear God, no.

I was just about to post this myself... the code is... horrific. Awful. Loathsome. Disgusting, even. It appears to have an entire copy of the site structure, commented out but lumped in with the html, just in case a user is on IE9.

Never mind the labyrinthine stacks of nested and redundant DIVs, each apparently with its own class.

God forbid a client ever gets their hands on this, then expects a ‘quick change on the cheap’, “You know, because I've done most of the work myself...”

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FAIL

I think my job is safe

Just downloaded, spent 10 minutes getting frustrated, and killed it. This will not do well.

Thanks Adobe, another stellar effort trying to ruin the web, and just as I thought you were starting to get it with the flash to html5 converter.

Check out their "showcase" sites - can't believe some of them are by actual web/creative agencies - these people need putting out of business.

There isn't a fail icon big enough for this.

Will someone hurry up and develop a viable photoshop alternative (not fireworks) so adobe can go out of business?

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmmm

I would respond but I am experiencing a small problem

for( ;; ) { ++neverEnoughDivs; }

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Facepalm

as a graphic designer, I'd like to get a word in edgewise...

I started out designing in print media a scary long time ago... oh, alright, 1979. When I first started designing for the Web in '93 or '94, I used BBEdit and learned pretty damn' quickly how to think like a user when designing a page -- i.e. easy on the graphics loads.

I also found myself wishing to hell we had Web-page layout applications equivalent to InDesign (then PageMaker) or QuarkXPress, as cutting HTML in BBEdit or HotmetalPro was pretty damn' grueling stuff. Imagine having to compose a digital print layout by hand-coding all the PostScript instead of using a layout application; all you designers out there, open a single-page ad layout in InDesign and do a print to raw PostScript and then open the code to see what I mean. Oh, the humanity.

The problem won't be the tool as much as with the user; the trouble will come not from designers, but people who _aren't_ designers. Like the early days of "desktop publishing", once the new "Muse" layout app hits the market, the Web will be flooded with nasty-looking page layouts composed by people with no design skills but who have a buttload of cash to throw down on layout software. It'll be 1993 all over again -- or, even worse, 1985 all over again. Seriously, how much do you want to bet that animated backgrounds and blinking text will make a comeback?

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FAIL

They first promised this back in the 90s with Pagemill

And than again with Contribute. It was rubbish then and I expect it still is.

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FAIL

Subscription?

P'wah. $15 a month for what will certainly be the privelege of beta-testing Adobe's crap for them? Screw it, man. I'll stick with Dreamweaver.

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FAIL

oh great

Yet more Adobe crap ware to help graphic designers claim they are developers. Web developer these days usually means script cut and paste monkey.

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FAIL

!LInux

As this seems to require AIR3, the chance of it running on Linux is zero, as Adobe have killed AIR on Linux as of v3.

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Graphic Designers

After owning a large print establishment for over 40 years I have dealt with hundreds of graphic designers. All but 2 were fools. Egotistical fools who

were on the verge of birthing the Mona Lisa of chewing gum ads. My

clients were the movie studios, health care and major advertising agencies.

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Bronze badge

poacher/gamekeeper - ain't touching this

I cam to web development as a designer. I realised all the tools (even Dreamweaver) generated bloatcode and had to be wrestled to do what I wanted, which was to make accessible, W3C-compliant sites. Now I hand-code all my sites (Notepad), do my graphics, my own JavaScript, a touch here and there of PHP. I am nothing special, but I think that you should be able to use the tools of your profession. Just because someone can make a pretty screen does not mean they know how to make a usable screen or understand how people use websites.

But now they can, and they will. I can hardly wait.

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Argh

I'm not really worried about my job when things like this come out but I do agree with the "maintainability" comments. Clients often don't want to hear that their site was built by a retard and thus it needs to be torn down and re coded at £x cost, when more than likely they are probably happy with the look of their site and just want it maintained. I have seen the code this monstrosity puts out and it ain't pretty - I cant imagine any web developer wanting to take on a project that is coded in this.

Give me Photoshop & 960gs any day - And I am pretty sure that it is less effort than this!

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I'm a graphic designer

... and I hope I'm not an 'Egotistical fool' as someone above has tried to label us. I was delighted to hear about Adobe Muse and gave it a shot. In no time at all I'd created a basic site - nice background image, logo, menu - no content yet, as I was just trying it out. I exported it as html and I'm no expert, but I think that 1506 lines of code is slightly too much. The page was 2 images and a menu! 711 lines of code were duplicated for IE. I'm not going to pretend that I know how to code, but even I know that this isn't right. I do the odd bit of basic stuff in Dreamweaver. Muse is much easier, but I couldn't possibly offer someone a site like this. They'd take one look at the code and laugh me out of the building. Even my own website, clunkily put together in Dreamweaver three years ago, is only 113 lines long, and it's way more complicated. I hope Adobe has a major rethink of this shambles.

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