Can Web Designers Use Linux to Build an Effective Site?: Page 2

Want to build a better website? We look at Linux tools that offer the graphics and development features you need to go open source all the way.
Posted November 21, 2011

Matt Hartley

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Aptana Studio is customizable, provides for GIT integration, offers an integrated debugger and offers users solid CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby authoring tools. The downside, if you want to call it that, is that runs Java. Some people, myself included, don't find this to be a problem. As long as a Java app is coded well, then it's going to run just fine. Most people who have issues with Java applications, forget that not all apps run the same way. Some of them are slower than others. So remembering to try something first before judging it, is the best advice I can offer.

Now for those of you who would rather keep things simple and stick to a "WYSIWYG" feel, there are some decent solutions available. One that I was fond of until it was discontinued was called Quanta Plus. Far from perfect, it offered great support for templates and with a bit of patience, could be quite useful if you'd rather not code everything by hand. Sadly, this editor is no longer available.

Next up is an application called Bluefish. It makes for a nice bridge between Quanta Plus and Aptana Studio. Bluefish does lack the WYSIWYG functionality found with other editors, but still offers other decent features. If you know what you're doing, you'll find that Bluefish is robust enough for the most skilled among you. And instead of offering functionality that simply gets in the way, it provides you with a great set of organizational tools to keep your workflow moving forward. As you move Bluefish into the standard bar, you instantly realize that this is a powerful editor. With Bluefish offering great template action for HTML, PHP and Apache, you really come away feeling like it wasn't a wasted download.

Despite the glowing review above, Bluefish isn't for web developers who aren't familiar with coding from a standard text editor. This is an advanced development tool, so don't let the silly name fool you. This isn't a toy by any stretch of the imagination. Though, I will mention that having the capability to let the software handle repetitive tagging for you, is a real-time saver worth investigating.

Above I mentioned the discontinued web editor Quanta Plus? Well, there's another one that offers similar options and rather than being tossed aside, it has been given new life with a new name. This editor was called Nvu and over time, went on to become what is known as KompoZer. Unlike Bluefish, KompoZer hasn't seen the level of activity that you might expect. The last update appears to have been sometime in 2010, which makes it difficult to rely on as HTML standards and other issues progress.

It seems that unless something significant happens, KompoZer could face the same fate as its Nvu cousin. I hope this isn't the case, but it's really difficult to recommend something that hasn't been updated in such a long time. There may still be some activity behind the scenes, it's difficult to say for sure though.

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Tags: Web development, Web design, open source, Linux

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