As webdevelopers most of us have been born and bred on Adobe’s (formerly Macromedia’s) weapon of choice Dreamweaver. I have seen the various incarnations of the program through from version 3, to UltraDev (cutting my teeth with ASP), to the latest version CS3. However there are a couple of alternatives available on the market, which are well worth a look if you are on a budget, or are on an alternative platform. Dreamweaver has always been traditionally Windows based, and if you are looking to make the switch to Linux, you need to find yourself a solid alternative. If you are making the switch, have a browse over some of these badboys..
License GPL, cost Free. Platforms Win | Mac | Linux
Some of you will know kompozer as Nvu, which grew out of the Mozilla Composer WYSIWYG editor, as a result its rendering engine uses Mozilla Gecko, so you can pretty much expect to see the same things as the Firefox browser gives you, and for those of you who use CSS layouts when developing, this is an absolute Godsend. Develop for firefox, fix for I.E is the way to go. Kompozer also has built in support for FTP, similar to DW in that respect, the download is also surprisingly small for the capabilities of the program – a testament to how tight the codebase is. Simply download and extract and away you go. As well as a fully integrated site manager, Kompozer also shines with its CSS editor. Think of the way Dreamweaver handles its CSS, well Kompozer is alot cleaner, and gives access to a few more less known CSS attributes. There’s also a useful “HTML tags” window, which allows the same functionality as the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox, outlining all your elements so you can see which part of your code relates to what. Problems I encountered were the support for server side languages. Kompozer doesn’t know how to handle include files, but if you are looking for a good static site editor, Kompozer fits the bill.
License: W3C, cost free. Platforms Win | Mac | Linux
Amaya 10 (released Feb 2008) is the latest incarnation of the web browser and authoring tool from the W3C. As you would expect from the W3C, it has a strong focus on standards, and new web technologies, including SVG image format..(although personally I find SVG as a format complete waste of time) . The download size comes in at around 7 MB, similar to Kompozer, although it extracts to a good bit bigger than that. As well as being a fully featured web page editor, it has the added bonus of being a web browser too, and the program allows you to switch between these “modes” if you want. I’d like to have seen either a site manager, or FTP support built into the editor, one of DW’s strengths is good site management as well as being a good code editor. That said, Amaya has a wealth of options including theming, quick tags and a good css designer.
License: GPL, cost free. Platforms Mac | Linux | (Windows with CYGWIN)
Bluefish is one of the better text editors available for Linux, although it is not as focused on Web development exclusively than some of the other alternatives to dreamweaver listed here. If you are a code monkey on Linux, and need a stable and extremely fast editor, you wont go wrong with Bluefish. They state on their site that the program can open up to 500+ simulataneous documents without so much as a blink, and any of my tests on the program have more or less proven that statement. Not strictly a web editor, but good if you know what you are doing. Bluefish also has syntax support for a number of different programming languages, including the following..
License: GNU, cost free. Platforms Mac | Linux
Whilst Screem supports only POSIX based OS , it has all the features that you could want in a webpage WYSIWYG editor. It has site support / FTP access, built in HTML structure layouts, thanks to the developers of Bluefish, Screem also provides a complete PHP help reference. The find and replace also support RegEx’s which to those who know what they are doing is pretty neato.
License: GNU, cost free. Available for: linux (KDE).
Quanta Plus is steadily becoming a worthwhile competitor to the commercial web editors on the market, the project is steadily gaining a number of open source software developers. Certainly if you use PHP as your main development language it’s going to be very difficult to find a better tool than Quanta. Quanta Plus’s feature set includes multi-document interface, WYSIWYG editing and templates. Among the more advanced features your will find plug-in support and integrated PHP debugging. It also has third party support for revision control, and source control (with teams). It is part of KDE, a Linux distro, so for you Windows monkey’s out there it aint gonna fly.
License: Closed Source Cost Free. Win | Mac OSX 10.4+ | Linux (with GTK)
About the Author (Author Profile)Paul is a regular 30 year old web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.
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