As a web designer, I’m always looking for ways to make life easier. I have a bad tendency to find a solution only to forget where I found it the next time I need it. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. So I have a place to jot down where I found things and be able to find them later.
When designing sites, I like to use Adobe Dreamweaver (formerly Macromedia). Dreamweaver is definitely a top tier development tool, and it simplifies a lot of the repetitive functions done while coding a site. However, the complexity of Dreamweaver lends itself to developing applications that are more involved. This results in more coding and problem solving. I came across WebAssist about a year ago, and found their products very intriguing. I bought their Super Suite application which includes a ton of Dreamweaver extensions that make life as a web designer a lot simpler.
I’m not going to review each extension, as you can read about them on the website, but I will say that they are major time savers when developing database driven websites. The DataAssist extension automatically generates back-end admin pages such as insert, delete, update, etc. These are always the pages that take quite a bit of time to code by hand, and now they can be created in a matter of seconds at the click of a button.
I’ve also used the Digital File Pro extension quite a bit, which is an extenson that automates file uploads. Again, a very simple-to-use extension. I was working on a client site trying to hand code the Google Maps API to dynamically generate location maps, and I wasted some serious time. It just so happened that WebAssist release their Pro Maps for Google extension at this same time. I bought the extension and had the dynamic map function installed in a matter of minutes. Again, another major time saver.
SiteAssist is for creating entire websites at the click of a button, including compliant layouts and entire site structure. SiteAssist includes a variety of both CSS layouts and table-based layouts. If you’re trying to crank out a site fast, SiteAssist does the trick very well. I hope more templates will be available in the future, but for now, the default templates are easily changed to reflect your own look.
There are extensions for using cookies and session variables, a full-featured shopping cart called eCart, dynamic dropdown extensions, client and server side form validation, and a website importer called Site Import (obviously) which comes in handy when I find a site I like and want to find out how it’s coded. They just released a new extension called iRite which is a WYSIWYG text editor plugin for Dreamweaver based on FCKeditor. I’ve contemplated buying this one, as I frequently code client sites to include the WYSIWYG editor into the site administration back end. I’ve used TinyMCE with the ibrowser image plugin for the most part, so I’ll have to do some homework to see if iRite is worth switching to.
WebAssist Dreamweaver extensions can be purchased individually or in money-saving bundles based on your focus. Software suites include the Super Suite, Essential Suite, Dynamic Suite and the CSS Design Suite. Each one has a slightly different focus, with Super Suite having all of WebAssist’s extensions in one money-saving bundle.
WebAssist has top-notch service and tech support via their online forums. I have posted questions on many occasions and had replies from their support personnel within a matter of hours. The online community is also very attentive to users who have problems using the extensions and is more than happy to lend their advice.
If you are a website designer, the WebAssist Dreamweaver extensions are definitely worth looking into. As time allows, I’ll do more extensive reviews of the extensions. I have developed several very extensive websites using these extensions, so I am very familiar with almost all of WebAssist’s products. If you have any questions about the extensions, feel free to post in the comments and I’ll answer as I can.