Web design is an important part of the KS3 curriculum. Not only does it earn its own unit of work in Year 8 but we’re including it in a larger project in Year 9 and throughout all of the ePortfolio subjects at KS4 and KS5 (DiDA, iMedia, OCR, GCE Applied…). But what to use?
We currently have installed on some or all of the machines:
- Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004
- Adobe Dreamweaver CS3
- NVu (F/OSS)
- Kompozer (F/OSS)
- Amaya (F/OSS)
- SeaMonkey (F/OSS)
- Serif Web Plus (F/OSS – outdated versions)
- Microsoft Frontpage
(NB: F/OSS = Free/Open Source Software)
Plus you can, of course, convert Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, etc. to web pages.
One of the things we really want to push is the idea that students can download and use the same applications at home that we use at school. I try to use GIMP for graphics as much as possible, for example.
NVu is free, but has not been updated in a few years. Kompozer is a bug-fixed branch of NVu but is still a year out of date. The free Serif apps are prior versions, Amaya is W3C’s contribution and throws a hissy fit if you try and do anything that oesn’t match their stringent guidelines and SeaMonkey is part of a package which includes IM and (I think) IRC chat stuff.
All of those problems could be overcome if it weren’t for the fact that Dreamweaver is so powerful and has so many features – integration with Fireworks HTML, Flash, Managing Sites, template management, library items, rollover buttons, etc, etc, etc… makes it a killer app.
I guess the point of the post is to justify to myself the fact that we’re using Dreamweaver over F/OSS alternatives. At the moment it seems a no-brainer. The trick is to convince the kids that you don’t NEED Dreamweaver to do web design. Maybe we should make them do everything in Notepad…