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Dreamweaver MX helps MBA duo launch online furniture site

Apr 08, 20044 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Latest crop of tools are more capable and affordable than ever

Like a good housepainter, some topics we cover several times. Here, we’ll learn a few things from a small business that created its own unique Web site.

Recently, I spoke with Drew Sanocki and Sina Djafari, the two founders of Edge*Modern, an online modern furniture retailer. The company started six months ago when the founders, who met in Stanford’s MBA program, decided to learn the retail furniture business from the inside, rather than from books. So they hibernated for two weeks and developed their Web site – the company’s only face to the world.

“We looked at pre-built storefronts, like at Yahoo Stores, but found they were very generic,” Sanocki says. “We wanted to look professional immediately.”

Although Sanocki spent four years in Naval Intelligence, and Djafari has Master’s in engineering and spent time in investment banking, neither is a programmer. So they looked for a tool that offered a design view for layout, and a view of the code generated so they could learn to write it themselves. Dreamweaver from Macromedia gave them what they needed.

Macromedia makes a variety of Web site design tools from Contribute 2 through Dreamweaver and Flash and the ColdFusion MX application server. Dreamweaver MX, the latest version, includes the design and code views the pair needed, and works well with PHP, the open source scripting language they wanted to use for customization ($400 retail, free trial download at

With Dreamweaver and the tools at (Open Source E-Commerce Solutions), Sanocki and Djafari built their site with the look they wanted. Just this past week they added additional back-end applications to better handle customer orders and purchase orders to suppliers.

Advertising thus far consists of Google AdWords (

Does the site work? “We paid back our Web site development costs already,” Sanocki says. But Djafari is quick to add they have yet to pay themselves a salary. Sounds like a typical start-up, doesn’t it?

The open-source community has been a huge advantage for Edge*Modern. “We had to learn PHP and also find code we could use,” Sanocki says. “But we found many sites with software already done available for use. We also posted requests to PHP boards, and someone would code it for us overnight.”

You don’t have to have an MBA to program your own Web site. Many of the software tools for creating Web pages are free or inexpensive. The more complicated your Web site needs, the more advanced tools you may need, and there are several options.

Since free is always good, let’s start there. You can create complete HTML pages Web pages using Windows Notepad, the text editor inside your Accessories folder, or any text editor in any OS.

After all, HTML is just text with codes to tell your browser how to display the text and where to show the pictures. For example, the title text for a page looks like this: “

This is the title” To prove this to yourself, open a Web page in your browser then go to View and Source to see the HTML code on that page.

More HTML editor programs arranged by increasing retail cost: – over 20 free HTML editors available for download.

Cute HTML ($20) and Cute HTML Pro ($50) from GlobalScope (

SiteSpinner V2 ($49) Virtual Mechanics (

CoffeeCup Software ($49) CoffeeCup (

Contribute 2 ($99) Macromedia


Fusion 7.5 ($170) Web Site Pros (

GoLive ($399) Adobe (

Dreamweaver MX ($399) Macromedia (

Next time: Sanocki and Djafari’s advice on picking a Web hosting company.