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New focus for GoLiveHeaven: the web in the GoLive era (1996 - 2008)

In the history of the earth and humankind, the prehistoric era was the period of time before humans had begun to record events in writing, from roughly 2,000,000 years B.C. to roughly 5000 B.C. Then, with the birth of Jesus Christ, we enter the Current Era.

In the history of the web and webmasters, the GoLive era is the period from the release of Gonet GoLive Pro 1.0 in August of 1996 until Adobe officially announced on April 28, 2008 that development and sales of GoLive had ended. The last version was Adobe GoLive 9, released in June 2007.

On January 4, 1999, GoLive Systems, Inc. (then based in Hamburg, Germany) was acquired by Adobe Systems Inc, and GoLive CyberStudio became Adobe GoLive.

For many webmasters and web designers, this piece of news was the worst thing that could happen besides having to consolidate bills and declaring bankruptcy. We were lost.

On March 29, 1999 GoLiveHeaven.com had launched with the mission of providing users with unique and detailed solutions to common questions regarding Adobe GoLive. GoLiveHeaven also contained tutorials on frequent HTML and JavaScript issues, as well as weekly links to industry news and issues. The addition of information on the industry as a whole was also planned.

Throughout the years, GoLiveHeaven has been revised, revamped, and refocused several times by its original editors, until GoLive was permanently discontinued, and the farewell letter below was written.

Today, as the new editor of GoLiveHeaven.com, I want to maintain the spirit of nostalgia but at the same time expand the focus and look at the entire web during the GoLive era, from 1996 to 2008. Twelve years which represent the infancy of the web. It was a unique and fascinating period, and will probably be always considered the most interesting one in the history of the web.

How did website design look back in 1996?
What were the first steps that defined web development and social networking as we know them today?
How did Search Engine Optimization evolve from not even existing as a word to becoming a big issue for webmasters with the raise of Google?

These and other questions will be answered by looking back at how the web was in the GoLive era (1996 - 2008).
The new tag line reflects the new focus of GoLiveHeaven: "chronicles from the GoLive era"

I hope you enjoy,

Thomas Emerson



Farewell GoLive, we hardly knew ye.

February 8, 2009

It's been several years since GoLiveHeaven was last updated, mostly due to other commitments by its editors and contributors. And now, sadly, GoLive is gone entirely, extinguished from existence in favor of a much-inferior tool, albeit one which managed to have much higher market penetration among developers (vs. designers) and did manage to make significant advances in certain fields where GoLive lacked severely (i.e. Dynamic Content).

So where do users who loved GoLive's ease of use in transforming designs into Web sites turn to now? Well, sadly there is no equivalent solution on the market today (and the nearest one has a Klingon interface). Some applications such as Freeway Pro provide the GUI-enabled ability to design for the Web, but don't offer the same kind of powerful control over the code that GoLive did. Others like Coda give users a wonderful amount of control over their code, but don't provide a graphic user interface for visually laying out a Web design.

As we near the end of the first decade of the century, Web designers are in a position to implement their ideas in a way that was never possible before, through the use of "Web 2.0" animations and effects. However, in order to do so successfully (and in fact in order to do great Web design at all in these times), we have to return to an approach that we were turning away from 10 years ago. We have to get back to the code.

If you've been stuck in GUI-world for the past 10 years, you have to relearn what is still current (it's quite likely you haven't kept up on all the latest X/HTML and CSS standards), figure out how to troubleshoot contemporary Web site code, and learn how to build sites that take advantage of the new paradigms and technologies that are in use today. I know, that sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But it's the only way professional Web design is going to get done until the next great tool comes along to make it accessible to the masses. The bottom line is that, at least for now, Web designers will either have to put up with Klingon GUIs to try to do what they want to do, or start learning code and do things the proper way.

I think the most frustrating thing for the developers of software like GoLive is that the Web is a moving target. What worked this week might be deprecated next week, but might still work for a certain percentage of browsers, but not in others, and then this other solution will work in those, but not in the older ones, and ARGH! In the midst of all that the design tools themselves are coming and going (R.I.P. ImageReady) or changing, so both your starting point and your ending point in the design-to-Web process are in constant flux. And perhaps that's why companies often don't have the stamina to continue in this industry.

But all is not lost. Though there may not be an ideal design-to-Web application out there, there have been some significant application advances in both the design and development fronts, especially for Mac OS X. Applications like Iris and Acorn offer a viable alternative to Web designers who, for any reason (budget constraints or significant GUI issues with other software), want to break away from the monopoly that a certain megacorp has on the market. The aforementioned Coda and other apps like CSSEdit give you unprecedented control over your site's code and, once you become familiar with them and contemporary code conventions, over the way your site looks and feels as well.

Rather than looking at GoLive's death as a setback, I believe we can look at it as an opportunity to grow and improve in ways that would not otherwise have come about, using the tools mentioned above. I look forward to seeing what the community of GoLive designers will come up with in the years to come.


David Portela