The stability of Dreamweavere will have no little bearing on the stability of your web site--Dreamweaver provides tools, it doesn't teach you how/when to use them. Your decision on which way to go should be based on what it is you are trying to sell. If you are selling web site design, then you may want to temper things towards a non-Flash design base so that you can demonstrate your coding skills alongside the graphics aspects of it. If you are selling Flash-based designs, then Flash would be a good vehicle to demo the work itself. If Flash is not a big part of what you are selling, then it should not be a big part of what you put on display. But you can always mix things up, showing Flash elements and html/css elements, if the intention is to show well-rounded skills across the design options palette.
Be prepared for a large swing in differences in the responses.
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Ned's right, there will be big response swings for and against Flash.
Flash is an outstanding tool that allows you to create really wonderful interactive websites. Problem is, Flash doesn't let people with vision impairments interact with your website, so it's not compliant with W3C standards. While you can choose to create alt text for Flash images, where you make Flash do navigation and where you write actual applications in Flash, you cannot recreate those experiences in alt text.
So I tend to write websites in HTML (or XHTML), not Flash. I am careful to make sure that all images have alt text descriptions. And I do find that non-Flash websites show up faster and better in search engines.
So if you are doing design and want to show off your work, I recommend using dreamweaver to craft a really nice website. Use Flash as images or as a means by which you might create a slide show but make your navigation and any body text for your pages HTML. Dreamweaver will get you there.
The website I'm putting together is primarily for print graphics, logos, print and prepress sevices. I'm looking for the easy way out, but not to the extent that it resticts my graphic freedom. I've already designed some pages in Dreamweaver that contains some Flash and it looks okay, but from what I've seen in other designer's sites I can go a lot further. I'm not out to show my proficiency in code.
My big question is the loadup time in Dreamweaver vs. a Flash site and the searchability issue. Doesn't Dreamweaver offer more ways to include metdata. I've noticed that when you search for designer web sites, many don't show up in Google and the ones that do are usually built in Dreamweaver.
I also don't want a searcher waiting 20 seconds before my site opens.
KatyDad, I think you're on the right track. I'm assuming that, by metadata, you are talking about alt text where you describe what you have placed there. All Flash websites take time to load. While Dreamweaver-built websites do take a finite amount of time to load, the HTML code loads incredibly quickly on a high-speed connection in a modern browser. And it loads acceptably fast over cellular networks. Flash loads really slowly over dialup and cellular networks and it looks as if Apple intends to not support Adobe's Flash at all on its iPhone and iPad.
One thing you should definitely be aware of is that you can easily create a small thumbnail of your work and then use Open Picture Window Fever! to pop open a larger window with a bigger version that shows detail. This is all done using HTML. Of course it does lack the interactivity of Flash, but it works in all browsers and is completely compliant with W3C standards. I recommend that plugin to be installed in all Dreamweaver installations, unless Adobe "breaks" it with a new version.
I think I have enough information. I can still see all the animation and eye candy in my head regarding Flash, but a website is absolutely worthless if it can't be found and if it has the possibilty of annoying a customer. I'll stick with Dreamweaver.