They say if you stick around an industry long enough, you'll see it all.
I'm beginning to feel old.
While searching for information on the latest version of Dreamweaver, I came across their Customer Success Stories web site.
The first company featured is a company I used to work for in the late 90s.
You'll hear the man speaking in German talk excitedly about how Dreamweaver enabled him to do all these incredible things.
Don't worry, it's sub-titled, so you can read what he's saying as you hear the enthusiasm in his voice. Contrary to popular myth, the German language is filled with inflection and non-guttural sounds, but I digress.
Back in 1997, shortly after Dreamweaver 1.2 came out, I became a beleiver and no longer wanted to author web pages by hand in vi or notepad ever again.
As a large German chemical company, everything there revolved around SAP and mainframes.
The internet was seen as a cute marketing toy and not much more. The intranet was seen as an even bigger novelty item.
As 1998 came around more and more people wanted to create intranet sites. The standard practice of the day was to teach users HTML and how to write out HTML in notepad and FTP the files to the server.
Needless to say, this was not a good long term strategy. The concept of content management had not yet found its way to the company yet.
So, when I started showing users Dreamweaver, they immediately wanted to use that instead of the Notepad/Cute FTP “suite.” Other users wanted to use FrontPage. Others still wanted to use Lotus Notes.
Actually, it was only the Lotus Notes team that wanted to use Lotus Notes, since they wanted to keep their jobs.
Anyone who advocated use of non-standard software was severely chastised and since Notepad was our only standard, I was breaking the law and my enthusiasm would not go unpunished.
Meetings were held, conference calls were convened, and the Lotus Notes team decided that this was to be their last stand.
After all, Domino was the “best way to create, edit, and maintain” web sites -- at least that's what the Notes team wanted everyone to beleive.
In the end, I decided to try something other than picking one standard HTML editing program -- I picked HTML as the standard.
As long as the program you used created “good” HTML and passed the muster of the purchasing department, you could use whatever made you happy and productive.
The internal Lotus Notes evangelist was disappointed that he had no reason to impassionately describe why we should use Notes and forsake all other programs.
He was also quite relieved that he didn't need to learn any real world web development skils and stay in his Notes bubble.
The web was all about inclusion and that was a hard sell to the mainframe-centric management in a company that beleived there must be a global standard for everything.
But I was able to convince management otherwise and today you see the company listed as a Dreamweaver success story.
To hear the interview with Matthias Weber, you would think that BASF was using Dreamweaver from day one with enthiusiasm, but I know better.
I was there and saved the company from using Domino.