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3.21.2008

Linux FOSS Dreamweaver Alternatives

I've recently started working on doing some initial website template designs for work. Back in the day (6 or 7 years ago) I taught a class on Dreamweaver, and loved it. I have since moved to doing all my work in Linux, and no longer have a copy of Dreamweaver. After some shopping I found two alternatives to review. I was surprised I only managed to find two projects with active development. I required the projects I reviewed to have active development and not be abandonware. NVU and Komposer, an NVU fork, were both apparently good, but there hasn't been much done with them in quite a while. So here they are: Quanta Plus 3.5.6 and Bluefish 1.0.7.

Quanta Plus

Quanta Plus 3.5.6 is licensed under GPL v2. It's very easy to use if you're used to any WYSIWYG editors. It has a nice tabbed layout for various visuals such as font formats, tables, lists, buttons, forms, images, and tags. Along the bottom of the window you can switch between open pages. It's simplistic and easier to use, but also a little less powerful than the Bluefish or Dreamweaver. If you want to make basic pages, Quanta Plus could be a good replacement for you.

Quanta Plus will work in KDE or XFCE distributions. It can be installed through your package manager, package name "quanta," or from their website.

Quanta Plus Website

Bluefish

Bluefish is a little smoother than Quanta Plus and has more powerful features in easier to access locales. For example, you have a tabbed layout like Quanta Plus for formatting features, but in addition there are editing tools for C, Apache, DHTML, DocBook, HTML, PHP, PHP+HTML, and SQL in drop down menus under the formatting tabs. As with Quanta Plus it has tabs along the bottom of the editing window to switch between open pages.

Bluefish is built with GTK+, and therefore will work in Gnome or XFCE distributions. It is licensed under the GPL. Bluefish can be installed through your package manager, package name "bluefish", or from their website.

Bluefish Website

Conclusion

In conclusion, I found the features of Bluefish to be much more extensive. Surprisingly, this didn't make it any more difficult to navigate and use thanks to a well designed menu and tab system. If you're designing very simple pages, just text and graphics, then either would work for you equally well. What window manager you use may be the deciding factor. If you use XFCE either will work, but if you have a KDE distribution (Knoppix, Kubuntu, Mandriva, some Debian) then you're limited, for the most part, to Quanta Plus. If you use Gnome (Ubuntu, some Debian, Red Hat) you're limited to Bluefish. I recommend trying both if you can, you just might find the next best thing to Adobe Dreamweaver.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You describe Quanta Plus being suitable "If you want to make basic pages".

Well, maybe it would be suitable, but your general description of Quanta Plus is I think rather misleading.

Quanta Plus is a very impressive application. Templating and code snippets functions, code completion, included support for around 20 different DTD's (to which you can add), WYSIWYG editing and previews, XSL processing, extentixe XML support, support for CVS and plugins for many debuggers, tools etc.... and that's barely scratching the surface.

I'm sure that Bluefish is a fine application and it's of course it's up to you what you prefer to use.

However, guite honestly, from your description it reads as if you just fired up Quanta Plus and saw that it had a few editing bars before closing it down.

http://quanta.kdewebdev.org

web designer said...

Does any know which free web design program i.e. Dreamweaver alternative has feature of working with web templates like Dreamweaver (.dwt)- e.g. if you make some change on main template - you can update those changes with one click on all pages that belong to that web design template ?