There’s nothing wrong with using Dreamweaver, or whatever tool works to get the job done. If you’re a non-technical person, or anyone who is pressed for time on a project, a tool that helps you build the best looking and working site possible in the least amount of time is exactly the thing. By all means, use Dreamweaver, Frontpage, whatever. They may not always generate the cleanest code or give you maximum control, but hey, we’re not painting the Sistine Chapel, or some great work of art designed to last for generations. We’re building WEB SITES for heaven’s sake, transient things that are here today and gone tomorrow, designed to look cool today and destined to become stale by tomorrow. Why spend weeks or months crafting the “perfect” page or site with perfect html and maximum control, if you can build a cooler looking and more functional site in a matter of hours with a tool? Some people can code like lightning in a text editor, but let’s face it, that’s a minority, and for most folks, a tool like Dreamweaver is exactly what they need.
Now having said all that to avoid the charges of “elitism”, I do think that if you’re a serious programmer who makes your living as a software developer, you need to give some careful consideration whether to use Dreamweaver, even as slick as MX is. As a programmer, you have a different set of needs than web designers (who focus on the visual issues, graphics, layout, site navigation, etc.), business users, and other folks who just want to crank something out. When you need to have maximum custom control over code, you need to know what it’s doing, and why it’s doing it. You don’t want a bunch of little graphical widgit thingies coming between you and the raw code, no matter how convenient or clever they are. You want access to the raw code.
Now someone might argue, well you can do that in Dreamweaver MX, and it’s got the new combined features of Ultradev and HomeSite to let you do stuff that keeps you closer to the code. It’s got tag libraries, syntax highlighting, and all the rest. Yes, but it doesn’t have the degree of control over your programming environment that you’d want in a serious editing tool. It’s got a FEW of those things, but in reality I have a $30 text editor, Ultraedit, that has more programming tools than Dreamweaver (which weighs in at around $350 street price). It has the ability to convert between encodings (UTF8, ASCII, Unicode, etc.). It has the ability to interface with external programming tools such as compilers. It has all the things Dreamweaver has, such as snippet library, custom tag libraries, and syntax highlighting.
I won’t condemn anyone for using Dreamweaver, but I think a serious dev should consider looking elsewhere, and I plan to.