There has long been an unfortunate disconnect between visual design for the web and web design and development. We're over here designing pictures of websites, not websites - so the sentiment goes.
A.J. Kandy puts a point on all this. We're seeing a proliferation of design tools these days, all with their own leaps forward. Yet...
But, critically, the majority of them aren’t web-centric. None really integrate with a modern web development workflow, not without converters or plugins anyway; and their output is not websites, but clickable simulations of websites.
Still, these prototypes are, inevitably, one-way artifacts that have to be first analyzed by developers, then recreated in code.
That's just a part of what A.J. has to say, so I'd encourage you to read the whole thing.
Do y'all get Clearletter, the Clearleft newsletter? It's a good one. They made some connections here to nearly a decade of similar thinking:
- Jason Santa Maria: A Real Web Design Application
- Jeffrey Zeldman: An Indesign for HTML and CSS?
- Jon Gold: The Evolution of Tools
I suspect the reason that nobody has knocked a solution out of the park is that it's a really hard problem to solve. There might not be a solution that is universally loved across lines. Like A.J., I hope it happens in the browser.