“What is the best PSD to HTML conversion tool?” is an everyday question on many web design and development forums. Often it goes shoulder to shoulder with another eternal chicken-and-egg question: “What is better – PSD to HTML software / automated conversion or hand coding?”
Are there any new answers and points of view out there? Let’s try to dig up some of them.
News from Forums
Here is a collection of answers taken in their original formulation from the web development forums tycoontalk.freelancer.com/html-forum/, webicy.com/web-design/, v7n.com/forums/coding-forum/ and webdeveloper.com:
- “Don’t use a tool, do it Manually.” / “All you need to have is a coder. A coder is a person who is expert in making PSD into HTML codes.” / “Doing it by hand is the best way.” / “There Are No Good Tolls TO Do This Job.”
- “If you want to try out, try [address]. It takes your PSD and create html from it. Will never be as good as a real developer, but for a quick and easy solution, might work.”
- “I don’t believe there will ever be a tool that will do it right. Each website has different design qualities, that a program simply wouldn’t recognize in our age. Adjustable screen resolution, matching of font & color, etc.”
- “There is lots of best software to convert PSD to HTML but the most famous is Fireworks and Dreamweaver.”
- “I totally agree, most cases with psd-to-html converters ends with question “how i can fix it?” as none of programs can learn to think with layers priority as human can do it by just looking at psd.”
Sure, this list does not claim to be exhaustive and thoroughly impartial but, frankly, it is difficult to find the ultimate answer in the forums – so many men, so many opinions.
Practical Point of View
Let’s take a look at the problem from another point of view. Who is interested in using PSD to HTML conversion tools? Here are some possible answers:
- Those who expect to convert PSD to HTML fast without being good at HTML CSS coding or even familiar with it.
- Companies hoping to convert PSD to HTML without external assistance and save some money this way.
- People who use automated tools as a source of exemplary code (e.g., to learn PSD to HTML conversion) or…
- …To generate an initial version of markup (prototype) to save some time for their own work.
However, a closer analysis reveals that on practice all three main options of PSD to HTML conversion
- Do It Yourself
- Automated tools (online ones or stand-alone software)
- PSD-to-HTML services
– are quite widely used (more in the article How to convert PSD to HTML – The best option). It is no wonder: business is business and life is life, and they require to choose an option or tool which is the most appropriate and effective in the given conditions.
Lyrical Point of View
The website content is written by human beings: designers, copywriters, bloggers, and so on. But after being published on the Web, a web page is firstly read by robots: search engines, different web data aggregators and extractors, web statistical resources, and of course browsers. So, converting designs and texts into the website code, HTML/CSS coders are those who link the world of people with the world of machines and translate human ideas, emotions, and thoughts into a language understandable to the robots. It is an extremely important mission, eh?
In my opinion, it is the fact that makes the profession of coders and programmers utterly attractive for many people. It forces people to be more versatile and use both hemispheres of their brain.
From this point of view hand coding is the main option of PSD to HTML conversion because all of us (human beings) prefer to make sure that our thoughts are correctly transferred into the digital form.
Comparative Point of View
To some extent, PSD to HTML conversion is similar to translation from one language into another one. Recently we have discussed that in Hand coded PSD to HTML conversion – Interview with Sergiy Lavryk (also see the excellent article by Alexander Dawson published in Six Revisions, the section “Translation Troubles”). So, what about automation in this field?
The take away in brief: Regrettably, automated translators are not too good at their work yet.
Humorous Point of View
In one of our 1-April tweets we have suggested that “A new version of HTML6 will include tags <LOL>, <RTFM> and <RTFM strong>.” Of cource, it is a joke, but many a true word is spoken in jest :).
Humor is perceived differently even by people, let alone by robots. That is why it is doubtful to imagine that a PSD to HTML conversion tool can correctly translate a design with a humorous content and properly use semantic tags (e.g., such as <LOL> ).
A View Into the Future
PSD to HTML tools are developed by people, not by hostile aliens from Mars or anywhere else. So, the question “What is better – PSD to HTML software or hand coding” is equal to “Who is more clever / successful / achieves more progress – coders who slice PSD into HTML directly or programmers who try to create a universal intermediate system to automate the process once and for all.”
The second task is more complex. But… 30 years ago there were no:
- Home PCs, notebooks, Xboxes, PlayStations (are you kidding?);
- Mobile phones, iPhones, iPads (unreal!);
- Internet (no, this cannot be true…);
- Google, Twitter and Facebook (oh, my God!).
So what about 30 years after now? Can we imagine that new world? It is very likely that the general level of programming, artificial intelligence systems, etc. will be enough then to develop perfect PSD to HTML tools. The question is whether such tools will be in demand in 2040s because there could appear a new generation of the Internet or even absolutely new information transfer channels (telepathy? why not).
From the said above it is obvious that the process of PSD to HTML transformation embraces not only mechanic (algorithmic) processing of one digital file into another one. A comprehensive, perfect PSD to HTML conversion also means creativity, associations, feelings and many other things which are so difficult to add into PSD to HTML tools.
But maybe such thoughts are only results of our human egocentrism and a try to stay in game at any cost? And the future will suggest unexpected new alternatives? Who knows…
Photo credit: Sergio de Candelario Delgado, Flickr.com.
I am often blogging and have first-hand knowledge of what it is all about. I really appreciate your content :).
Your article perfectly shows what I needed to know, thanks!
Nice article and blog. I really enjoy your layout. Regards !
It is simply excellent idea
Working in a web design company I must admit it’s a really interesting article you’ve written there ! At the moment I confirm no tool is close to the quality human HTML coding offers.
Glad you like it :)!
That’s the best answer so far!