Adobe have announced today that they've released a brand new authoring tool for web designers. Adobe, The market leader in all web design/dev related software? This must be amazing then! After all Adobe's Quality Engineer said the following:
Quality engineer Jason Prozora-Plein says this mostly means avoiding coding in any form. He argues that the overlap between people who are passionate about coding and graphic design is very small and that “people don’t hand-edit Postscript or PDF files for print, and in five or ten years I don’t think very many people will be coding to design websites“.
Jason Prozora-Plein, Adobe
Surely this must mean Adobe Muse is a fantastic new bit of software that should make front-end developers worldwide scared that now the neighbours boy next door really will be able to out price you and create something of equal quality!
Cutting straight to the chase, Adobe Muse spits out awful, messy, syntactically invalid and out-dated markup which should make the entire crew involved in creating Adobe Muse ashamed.
This is a massive step in the wrong direction.
It’s a step back towards the days of Microsoft’s Frontpage authoring tool which was the first thing a lot of budding young developers & designers picked up (even myself many years ago).
Given Adobe’s reputation amongst new developers and designers they will automatically assume everything that comes from Adobe is awesome and the right way to do things. They won’t realise the negative effect it will have on their clients, SEO, stunting growth of their own skills and on the community at large that will spend the next 5-10 years cleaning up the mess Adobe Muse will leave in its act of destruction.
Usually I’m quite impartial and can see some good in products, usually I keep my mouth zipped but in this case it can’t go unnoticed. Adobe have created a truly awful piece of software which could potentially damage our industry for years to come.
Code Quality & Accessibility
The Adobe Muse website is created in the new authoring tool. This is a case and point of why you should not use Adobe Muse for anything in the future.
It adds needless and bulky classes to elements. Why does a paragraph element need a class of paragraph? Why does a heading 3 element need a class of heading-3. Surely Adobe you’ve heard of simple element based CSS selectors. You just say .somecontainer h3 and it magically targets all heading level 3 elements.
Introducing #AdobeMuse! Create websites as easily as u create layouts for print. Design/publish HTML pages w/o code- bit.ly/MuseWb
Accessibility is an on-going issue which unfortunately doesn’t seem to get enough attention, yet issues affect hundreds of thousands of users worldwide. It’s something we’ll be talking seriously about at Heart & Sole 2 but something Adobe Muse don’t seem to have taken into consideration.
There seems to be no semantic structure to their headings. Elements that you would naturally expect to be headings aren’t, they’re simply paragraphs. Simple lists that should be marked up with <li> <a> are a mess of divs anchors and other elements.
ID’s and Class names have meaningless Adobe Muse friendly values which don’t help anyone trying to maintain this in the future. Any sort of flexibility goes out the window unless you’re using Adobe Muse.
It includes an HTML5 doctype. Fantastic. Except from what I can find no site uses it. Not one drop of HTML5 makes it into the markup any where.
People need to realise that just because you set an HTML5 doctype doesn’t improve something or make it HTML5. You need to actually use HTML5 markup in order to make it HTML5!! Otherwise It’s XHTML at best.
HTML5 is such an important part of a front-end developers toolkit these days. It’s finally beginning to make a serious impact in sites all over the web! Support is getting better by the day, IE can be fixed with a simple JS Shiv and it lays the foundation for more readable semantic and accessible code for all.
Just stop trying!
Editors that purport to create perfect standards compliant layouts rarely do. Even if the code they spit out is technically/semantically correct it doesn’t mean it’s good.
What I’ve looked at here are just a few examples of how Adobe Muse get seemingly everything drastically wrong. I personally believe that no WYSIWYG editor will ever completely replace (for the better) coding by hand.
Sure, not everyone can create semantically accessible markup but, flipping it around to the other side… I can’t do design. So I leave it up to the people that can!
I can’t do design. So I leave it up to the people that can!
The issue is much more apparent from the other side because 99% of people can all quickly recognise bad design with a quick look at a site or design. Bad markup is not so easy to spot but it seems Adobe think it’s of lesser value and not important as long as it’s “creative” and looks right!
That’s my two pence
Some of you may disagree with my blatant and utter dislike for Adobe Muse. Everything has it’s lovers and it’s haters. My passion and love for this industry sometimes comes out in rant form but I believe in this case it’s incredibly valid!
If you disagree, leave me a comment.
If you agree please send out a tweet and help destroy this monster!