Dreamweaver MX 2004: Less than great for dynamic web applications

So, I’m supposed to teach a course in Dreamweaver Dynamic Web Applications and one in Dreamweaver/PHP Web Development. In preparation, I’m working on a little project that should help with some internal LCTTP record keeping as well as give me practice using DW to build web apps.

Here’s the trouble: Web applications generally require some custom coding, and with a properly designed database, the SQL queries can prove challenging for DW to handle.

Dreamweaver works by setting up a database connection file, and then you can create what DW calls Recordsets that are based on the database connection. Each Recordset includes the query itself and the code used to retrieve the information. The Recordset then becomes a data resource that can be used to bind specific values to specific elements on a web page.

The trouble is, when you go in to the code to tweak the recordset, DW loses the Recordset. It just disappears from DW’s panel of Application Bindings. This is frustrating.

For a specific example, I was putting together a basic user login screen. I set up the Recordset fine, but I needed to apply an md5 function to a password value that was used in the query. Adding that one line of code to the Recordset causes DW to lose the recordset–which means I then cannot use it for any other data bindings.

My challenge is this: How do I decide to teach this course? Do I discourage people from using DW’s recordsets? That would negate a lot of potential value of using Dreamweaver. Certainly not all value, but it makes much of the GUI pointless. In what other ways is DW a helpful tool for creating dynamic sites? Of course, that is an easily answerable question, but I just need to get my thoughts in order.

Author: Davin Granroth

Davin is Chief Operating Officer for Covenant Eyes, Inc. in Owosso, MI, USA, where he gets to mix his background in user experience design, research, and strategy with the operation of a software company. For more, see his LinkedIn profile.

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