Morten Rand-Hendriksen is a Microsoft MVP and author of Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Expression Web 2, 3 and 4 in 24 Hours and Microsoft Expression Web 4 LiveLessons.
Web designers and developers face a lot of hurdles, not least of which is time. Clients want miracles, as soon as possible—ideally yesterday—with bells on. It can be a frustrating existence, especially when what slows you down is not your skill but the tools you work with. Such was my situation three years ago: My work process was littered with time sinks, and as a result I was constantly frustrated at having to do things the hard way. I could never take on as many projects as I wanted.
The key problem I faced was one of code—standards-based code to be exact. Although I knew how to write standards-based code myself, I’m not one for actually typing everything out key by key. To help out, I employed what is considered to be the industry standard in WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web development applications. But the application didn’t comply with web standards (or my standards for that matter). It took shortcuts and made strange decisions that caused huge problems down the road. In the end I started splitting up my work, spending equal time in the supposed-to-make-things-easier WYSIWYG application and a way-too-rudimentary-but-at-least-accurate all-text editor called Notepad++. The result was a lot of time wasted and utter frustration.
And Now for Something Completely Different
Then, through a series of improbable events, something happened that changed everything. I went to an event at a swanky club. A woman handed me a card with a code. I plugged it into my computer and installed some new software. And over the next two days I built a complete website from scratch that would have taken me more than a week to finish with my old work process. The application, barely out of beta, was called Microsoft Expression Web. And it changed everything.