25 Useful WYSIWYG Editors Reviewed

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When it comes to coding editors, it’s damn hard to a get a clear overview of all the benefits and functionalities different editors have to offer. However, in the end everybody needs one, so it’s important to know which editor is best tailored to your personal needs.

WYSIWYG-editors are often criticized by real coding ninjas for bloated, dirty and not standards-complaint source code they’ve been producing over the last years. However, WYSIWYG-editors have become much better recently. Some of them even produce valid and elegant code.

Sometimes you need to provide your clients with some simple tools to edit or update their web-sites. And this is where the utility of WYSIWYG-editors comes in. As a web-professional you need to provide your clients with some sophisticated advice and offer a simple yet effective tool — e.g. a WYSIWYG-editor.

We believe that it would be wrong to recommend you some “best” editors, because the choice always depends on your requirements, primary goals, skills and experience. Therefore in this article we’ve tried to give you an overview of both useful and deprecated WYSIWYG-editors.

Hopefully, you’ll find some editors you’ve never heard about before. Or maybe you’ll find some features you miss in your current editor and risk to experiment with some promising alternatives to improve your workflow. Besides, you can learn what editors you could use and what tools you shouldn’t use.

What does WYSIWYG mean?

The somehow cryptic abbreviation WYSIWYG stands for “What You See Is What You Get”. In such editors you edit not directly the source code of your documents, but its presentation as it (hopefully) will appear in the final document. So instead of writing blocks of code manually (as you e.g. would do it in Word or Latex), you manipulate with design components using an editor window. This means that you view something very similar to the end result while the document or image is being created.

Notice: this post reviews only desktop-based WYSIWYG-editors which run on Windows, Linux or Mac. It doesn’t provide an overview of JavaScript-based WYSIWIG-editors — you can find an extensive overview of JavaScript-based WYISWYG Web Editors in the post Through The Web WYSIWIG Web Editors — The List1 or WYSIWIG Editors Test2.

Adobe Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver3 (Win / Mac)
Previously Macromedia Dreamweaver, this tool is one of the commonly used editors which can support developers, improve the workflow and save you a lot of time during coding. While previous versions of Dreamweaver sometimes produced rather quirky source code, the last version is able to generate (mostly) quite clean markup.

Dreamweaver also offers numerous helpful tools such as the library of code snippets, ftp management, server debug and an integrated coding development. E.g. you can view CSS information in a single, unified CSS panel that makes it easy to see the styles applied to a specific element, identify where attributes are defined, and edit existing styles without entering Code view. See also our List of Dreamweaver Tutorials4. Price: $400 (version CS3).

Screenshot5

Some of Dreamweaver’s endless features:

  • Advanced CSS Editing
  • Integrated coding environment
  • Spry framework for Ajax
  • Browser Compatibility Check
  • Integration with Photoshop CS3 and Fireworks
  • Code snippets (e.g. CSS Layouts)
  • FTP management
  • XML support
  • FLV support
  • Learning resources (e.g. Adobe CSS Advisor)
  • Numerous Dreamweaver add-ons, e.g. SVN for Dreamweaver6 ($59).

Amaya

Amaya7 (Win / Mac / Linux)
What really makes Amaya different is the fact that it is a hybrid of a web browser and a web-page editing application — thus you can browse in the Web and edit your pages in the same application. Created by the WWW-concorcium, this allround-tool allows you to manipulate web-sites, change or update their content, insert new images or links. Of course, if Amaya can display these pages.

Screenshot8

The last version of the editor, Amaya 10, was released in February 2008. It is able to work on several documents at a time (several (X)HTML, native MathML (.mml) and SVG (.svg) documents can be displayed and edited at a time). E.g. you can insert mathematical formulas using a pop-up: Amaya converts them via Math-ML on the fly.

Amaya also includes a collaborative annotation application (annotations are external comments, notes, remarks that can be attached to any Web document or a selected part of the document) and it has support for SVG, RDF and XPointer. Open-source.

Rapidweaver

RapidWeaver349 (Mac)
RapidWeaver is a powerful template-based website creation tool which can generate pages of different kinds, such as styled text, weblog, contact forms, image galleries, Flash slideshows, and podcasts; it also has a built-in FTP uploader, and integration with iPhoto and .Mac.

Screenshot10

The editor includes podcasting, inline comments, RSS feeds, custom permalink and tag support. RapidWeaver has also been finely tuned to be SEO friendly. It also has many powerful features such as modifiable themes, live php rendering, mix and match WYSIWYG and HTML, smart publishing, XHTML and CSS based site output, viewable source code, built-in error checking. All templates are XHTML and CSS based. What is remarkable is that all the code RapidWeaver generates is valid. Price: $49.

Adobe Contribute

Adobe Contribute11
The main purpose of Adobe Contribute is to allow editing web-sites and blogs for users without any technical expertise. Contribute CS3 enables content authors to update existing websites and blogs while maintaining site integrity. Contribute offers a Dreamweaver integration, enables posting from Microsoft Office and editing from IE 7 and Firefox.

Screenshot12

With a WYSIWYG authoring environment, content authors and contributors can edit or update any website or blog without having to learn HTML. Price: $169 (version CS3).

Adobe Golive

Adobe Golive13 (Win / Mac)
Once Adobe’s flagship, now GoLive is an editor which even Adobe isn’t really happy with. In April Adobe has stopped development and sales of GoLive 9, which makes GoLive a legacy web authoring application. Adobe recommends its GoLive users to switch to Dreamweaver which is why you probably shouldn’t recommend GoLive (actually a remarkably powerful editing tool, see features below) to your clients.

Screenshot14

Some of Adobe GoLive 9 features

  • Designer styles
  • Visual CSS layout
  • Place command
  • Adobe InDesign® integration
  • Color management
  • Platform support
  • Site management tools
  • Publish Server
  • Smart Objects

Microsoft Expression Web

Microsoft Expression15 (Win)
Once being severely criticized for its really bad web-editors (Frontpage), Microsoft’s recent editor, Expression, seems to have learnt a lot from its predecessors. Expression attempts to comfort web-users with features which are remarkably similar to Adobe Dreamweaver. However, in a direct comparison Dreamweaver offers more and produces a cleaner code. Nevertheless, Expression does produce decent standards-compliant code and knows how to deal with CSS and CSS-layouts.

The Studio edition with further software applications (graphic design tool, video encoding tool etc.) costs ca. $500. Single Expression package costs $350. You can get Expression by updating Frontpage and thus save some money. A 60 days trial version16 can be downloaded for free, however a registration is required.

Please notice: Expression isn’t a successor of Frontpage, rather a different development tool. Microsoft Expression, which bears striking similarity to Microsoft SharePoint Designer, is rather designer-oriented, aimed at general web development. Microsoft SharePoint Designer which reflects the emphasis on designing and customizing SharePoint-based sites, can be considered as Frontpage’s big brother.

Screenshot17

Some of Microsoft Expression features:

  • ASP.NET 2.0 Integration
  • Advanced CSS rendering
  • XPath Expression Builder
  • Build and format views of industry-standard XML data
  • Tag Property Grid
  • Accessibility Checking
  • Real-time Standards Validation
  • Full Schema Support

NVU

NVU18 (Win / Mac / Linux)
This editor should once become a real alternative to dominating products: an ultimate WYSYWIG-editor for Linux, Microsoft Windows and Mac which could rival FrontPage and Dreamweaver. And in some aspects Nvu indeed offers more features than one would expect from a completely free software.

Nvu (pronounced as N-view, for a "new view") offers integrated file management via FTP, powerful support for forms, tables and templates and it is indeed very easy to use. CaScadeS, the well-known CSS editor add-on, is integrated into Nvu and enables you to create and manage stylesheets easily and see your style settings applied ‘”live” to the document you’re editing.

Screenshot19

Nvu is open source and released under the Mozilla Public License (MPL). Unfortunately, the development of NVU hasn’t been continued over the last years. An advanced, improved version of NVU is KompoZer2120.

Some of NVU’s features:

  • Site manager allows you to review the sites that you’re building
  • XML support
  • Built-in validator

Kompozer

KompoZer2120 (Win / Mac / Linux)
This tool is a branch of NVU which has been developed further after the development of NVU has slowed down. KompoZer is a complete web authoring system that combines web file management and WYSIWYG-editing.

KompoZer is designed to be extremely easy to use, making it a feasible solution for users who want to create sites without obtaining technical knowledge. Compared to NVU, Kompozer produces a cleaner markup and has visible marks — visible carriage returns and block borders.

Screenshot22

The last version was released in August 2008. Kompozer can be considered as a sound alternative for small projects and for users without technical knowledge. But it’s definitely too weak for professional web-development.

Namo WebEditor 2006

Namo WebEditor 200623 (Win)
Namo WebEditor combines almost all tools which are necessary for creating web-sites in a simple and user-friendly interface. The interface elements are remarkably intuitive, simple and easy-to-use. You can switch between a design-editor, HTML and browser-preview. You can also use a number of wizards to automate your workflow. Namo is powerful, however its WYSIWYG-features are limited. The editor wasn’t updated since 2006 which is why the producing source code is sometimes extremely quirky. Namo Web Editor Pro comes with a Flash editing program as well as a graphics program. A test-version is available. Price: $99.95.

Screenshot24

Some of Namo Webeditor features:

  • Code Helpers for speedy auto tag completion
  • Quick Tag Editor
  • Tag Selector
  • HTML/CSS Reference

Evrsoft First Page 2006

Evrsoft First Page 200625 (Win)
Actually, this editor is highly underrated. It’s not that popular and it hasn’t been updated since 2006, but it has some quite useful features one wouldn’t find in advanced WYSIWYG-editors. E.g. Auto History feature remembers all the attributes and values commonly used and suggests the “right” value automatically.

Dual Preview Engine enables you to preview your web documents in multiple browsers within First Page 2006. You can preview your work in Internet Explorer, Mozilla or view your page in both browsers side-by-side (horizontal/vertical pane swap). And a real-time visual source rendering engine offers document editing and previewing without the typical code tampering usually seen in WYSIWYG editors.

A number of integrated tools produce decent standards-based code, quickly and easily. First Page is freeware. Similar freeware alternative (also not updated since 2005): Selida HTML Editor26.

Screenshot27

Some of First Page’s features:

  • CSS Class Support & Auto Detection
  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Tag Document Selection Tool
  • Tag Auto Completion
  • Tidy HTML Power Tools
  • Preview in IE as you type
  • Image Mapper
  • CSS Style Sheet Designer
  • Server Side Includes Support
  • Highly customizable Toolbars and Interface
  • FTP client
  • Advanced Find & Replace In Files

Microsoft SharePoint Designer

Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2007 (Win)
Microsofts Frontpage successor. SharePoint Designer is a standard WYSIWYG-editor. Apart from support for interactive ASP.NET pages it doesn’t offer something revolutionary. Free trial is available. There is an online-version which requires Internet Explorer and a large potion of patience.

Screenshot28

Screenshot29

Some of Sharepoint’s features:

  • support for interactive ASP.NET pages
  • create Data Views from RSS, XMl, Office XML
  • collaborate with the built-in Workflow Designer
  • CSS tools
  • track customized pages
  • spelling checker
  • SharePoint Server 2007 integration

NetObjects Fusion

NetObjects Fusion30
This editor was once probably the worst yet extremely popular WYSIWYG-editor. It produced horrible source code (only MS Word produced worse source code), but was often given away by web-hosting companies and ISPs. NetObjects Fusion allows you to create web-sites without any technical knowledge. Particulalry if you’d like to create a business card, you may get it done in minutes. But if you want to create professional web-sites, NetObjects isn’t an option worth considering.

Currently NetObjects Fusion is available in its 10th version. The quality of the produced source code might have changed, but it doesn’t really matter. There is a trial-version which requires you to register in a shop. Which is why we have no screenshot for the product. Price: €100.

Quanta Plus

Quanta Plus31 (Linux)
Quanta Plus is a stable, very comfortable and feature rich web development environment. Quanta has created an editor designed for efficient and natural use and with maximal user extensibility.

The editor is capable of both WYSIWYG and handcoding interface. It features tag completion as you type and tag editing through a dialog interface, script language variable auto-completion, project management, live preview and a PHP debugger. It also has a visual CSS editor, autocompletion for CSS, offers high extensibility and integrated preview.

Screenshot32

The editor has also nice features for project management, including support for local and remote (through the network) projects. Project files can be uploaded to many servers using various protocols. CVS support is integrated, Subversion support is possible through external plugins. Quanta is based on KDE. Released under GPL.

Freeway

Freeway33 (Mac)
Freeway (originally Uniqorn) comes in two flavours, Freeway Pro and Freeway Express. Freeway 5 Pro can be used to create CSS page layouts using absolute positioning. Advanced procedures (like connecting to a MySQL database using a scripting language like PHP) are done through plug-ins called “Actions”. Several Actions can be downloaded for free on several websites, but there are also commercial 3rd Party Actions.

There is a trial-version which requires you to fill in a quite long web form. Freeway has been nominated for the Macworld 2008 Awards in the Creative Web Product of the year section. If you use Mac, FreeWay is together with RapidWeaver349 probably first option worth considering.

Screenshot35

Some of Freeway’s features:

  • Multiple Master Pages
  • Layout Tools
  • Link Map
  • Link Styles
  • Integrated .Mac upload
  • Internet Explorer Compatibility
  • Support for Sliced Background Images
  • Built-in preview within Freeway (Safari/Webkit)
  • Full EPS (Panther & later), Illustrator, Photoshop layered file import
  • Freeway Shop
  • Work with Blogger Templates

Seamonkey Composer

SeaMonkey Composer36 (Win / Mac / Linux)
This editor is a simple yet powerful alternative for large commercial applications. Being a successor of Netscape Composer, SeaMonkey Composer doesn’t really have anything common with it.

Screenshot37

The editor is powerful yet simple and offers dynamic image and table resizing, quick insert and delete of table cells, improved CSS support, and support for positioned layers. The WYSIWYG-editor is built into SeaMonkey, an all-in-one web application suite.

Create

Create38 (Mac)
Create combines the major features of applications like Illustrator, InDesign, Pages, GoLive, Canvas, DreamWeaver, QuarkExpress, Streamline in one easy-to-use, low-cost, OS X native application. Among other things you can add links to text and graphics with drag-n-drop, the tool automatically creates navigation bars and index and you can produce PDF and web-sites from one document.

WYSIWYG Web Builder

WYSIWYG Web Builder39
Web Builder is a highly customizable and extensible application with numerous features, scripts and templates. New design elements are added via drag’n’drop, many scripts. Image editing is available within the software.

Screenshot40

The PayPal eCommerce Tools are integrated; RSS Feed object with podcast option, blog with built-in RSS feed option and Google compatible sitemap generator are available. The editor also has numerous extensions such as password protection, RSS feed, RSS parser, photo album and lightboxes.

Editors for non-professionals, newbies and small companies

iWeb41 (Mac)
iWeb is small, compact and simple. You can switch the theme of any page with the click of your mouse. Mix themes in a site if you wish. You can place Google Maps and Google AdSense ads on your web pages and simplify navigation by dragging your photo albums to a sleek, animated index page. Web widgets, live content from other sites, like video, stock tickers, and headline news can also be added with few clicks. Price: $7. No trial-version is available.

Screenshot42

Sandvox43 (Mac)
Sandvox features drag-and-drop website assembly, live editing without a preview mode, over 40 designs, and 17 different pagelets. It’s an easy and elegant website creation tool for people who don’t want to spend too much time developing their websites.

Drag and drop content, watch your site take shape as you create it, and make it available to others with Sandvox’s publishing assistant. Pricing starts at 49,- USD.

Screenshot44

Sitegrinder45 (Win / Mac)
SiteGrinder is a Photoshop Plug-in that converts Photoshop designs to web sites. It is smart. It has many many features. It is easy to use. Trial-version is available. Pricing starts at $129.

Screenshot46

Studioline Web347 (Win)
The results of Studioline can be observed only if Javascript is activated — otherwise you won’t see anything at all. The source code doesn’t contain tables, but it has a very low quality and is extremely bloated. Don’t try this at home.

Bluevoda48 (Advertising)
BlueVoda is offered as a free download but requires a VodaHost account to publish the website to. BlueVoda looks very similar to Microsoft Office’s interface, like most WYSIWYG editors HTML code is hidden allowing the user to create websites without knowing code and having components such as tables, text formatting and the rest.

Website X549 (Win)
WebSite X5 is a completely visual software: web-sites aren’t coded but “clicked” together. Remarkable: the results are standards-conform. Price: $60+.

Screenshot50

<oXygen/>51 (Win / Linux / Mac)
Actually, <oXygen/> is an advanced XML editor, but it also offers a number of useful tools for both newbies and professional web-developers. In fact, you can exploit the tool for editing (X)HTML-web-documents. E.g. it makes easier the document sharing between content authors by including a Subversion (SVN) client. The SVN client allows you to browse repositories, check for changes, commit changes, update your working copy and examine the revision history. The editor is available as standalone desktop or Java Web Start application, or as an Eclipse plugin. Price: $59.

No code and text-editors? Wait, there will be more. Tomorrow.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://geniisoft.com/showcase.nsf/WebEditors
  2. 2 http://www.standards-schmandards.com/2007/wysiwyg-editor-test-2/
  3. 3 http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/04/04/adobe-dreamweaver-tutorials/
  5. 5 http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver
  6. 6 http://www.dreamweaver-extensions.net/index.php/SVN-for-Dreamweaver--Windows-and-Macintosh/
  7. 7 http://www.w3.org/Amaya/
  8. 8 http://www.w3.org/Amaya/
  9. 9 http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/index.php
  10. 10 http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/index.php
  11. 11 http://www.adobe.com/products/contribute/
  12. 12 http://www.adobe.com/products/contribute/
  13. 13 http://www.adobe.com/products/golive/
  14. 14 http://www.adobe.com/products/golive/
  15. 15 http://www.microsoft.com/expression/
  16. 16 http://switch.atdmt.com/action/mrtyou_FY07ExpressionWebFreeTrialDownloadLinkDe_9
  17. 17 http://www.microsoft.com/expression/
  18. 18 http://net2.com/nvu/
  19. 19 http://net2.com/nvu/
  20. 20 http://kompozer.net/
  21. 21 http://kompozer.net/
  22. 22 http://kompozer.net/
  23. 23 http://www.namo.com/products/webeditor_professional.php
  24. 24 http://www.namo.com/products/webeditor_professional.php
  25. 25 http://www.evrsoft.com/1stpage3.shtml
  26. 26 http://selida.camelon.nl/features.html
  27. 27 http://www.evrsoft.com/1stpage3.shtml
  28. 28 http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/default.aspx
  29. 29 http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/default.aspx
  30. 30 http://www.netobjects.com/
  31. 31 http://quanta.kdewebdev.org/
  32. 32 http://quanta.kdewebdev.org/
  33. 33 http://www.softpress.com/
  34. 34 http://www.realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/index.php
  35. 35 http://www.softpress.com/
  36. 36 http://www.seamonkey-project.org/
  37. 37 http://www.seamonkey-project.org/
  38. 38 http://www.stone.com/Create/Create_Overview.html
  39. 39 http://www.wysiwygwebbuilder.com/
  40. 40 http://www.wysiwygwebbuilder.com/
  41. 41 http://www.apple.com/ilife/iweb/
  42. 42 http://www.apple.com/ilife/iweb/
  43. 43 http://www.karelia.com/
  44. 44 http://www.karelia.com/
  45. 45 http://www.medialab.com/sitegrinder/
  46. 46 http://www.medialab.com/sitegrinder/
  47. 47 http://www.studioline.biz/EN/products/overview-web/default.htm
  48. 48 http://www.bluevoda.com/
  49. 49 http://www.websitex5.com/en/index.html
  50. 50 http://www.seamonkey-project.org/
  51. 51 http://www.oxygenxml.com/

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Co-Founder and former CEO of Smashing Magazine. Sven is now writing Science Fiction Stories and looking for a publisher ...

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  1. 1

    Amarjeet Singh Rai

    May 7, 2008 7:37 am

    You made a mistake (Kompozer): “The last version was released in August 2008.”

    That should be 2007, I believe.

    0
  2. 102

    Another vote for microsoft’s Visual Web Developer. It’s free, and good.

    0
  3. 203

    I’ve always used notepad+ and i know alot of people who use coffee cup, however dreamweaver was always a hassle for me, but i know alot of people (most of which use it in code view) who use dreamweaver.

    As far as WYSIWYG goes, i’ve seen dreamweaver to be poor spitting out table designs (wethere that’s true or not idk, just what i”ve seen).

    0
    • 304

      Tables?!! We’re seriously talking about tables in the age of divs?

      0
  4. 405

    thanks people..i was facing some editors issues

    it gonna help me a lot

    0
  5. 506

    Nice post!.. I am a web designer making the jump to developer and used Dreamweaver before, but after using VS2005/2008 I think I will never go back. Keep up the good work.

    0
  6. 607

    I code and design all of my sites in my mind. If anyone actually needs to use a computer to code, design, or even view Web Pages, they’re clearly an amateur and have no place in the 21st Century. If I was transported to 1843 I could still code web sites using a hammer and chisel. Alright? So even if you use Notepad or a notepad, keep in mind that real web professionals rely on their wit and self-satisfaction and wouldn’t touch a computer with a ten-foot pole.

    0
  7. 708

    Christina Warren

    May 7, 2008 9:39 am

    WYSIWYG editors have their place, but I think that most people are better off taking the time it takes to actually learn how to code, rather than always having to rely on a slow, antiquated and crashy tool (Dreamweaver, that’s you!). Of course, time isn’t always an option, and some of the editors mentioned have worked out just fine in my experience.

    Personally, I do mock-ups in Photoshop or Illustrator and then code in Coda or TextMate (Mac) — though I have come to absolutely adore CSSEdit.

    0
  8. 809

    For Potential Client:
    You will always find designers who are willing to work for less, and it always shows.
    The way every client out there needs to look at it is this: any one can write a book, but it doesn’t mean it will be done well. So, the real issue is this: are you the kind of client who just don’t care about who writes their book or if it’s well done, or are you the kind who sees the value in what it really is?
    There are plenty out there who just see their web site as just a page everyone will view in Internet Explorer, like it’s some necessity for the web. Like putting their little flag in soil. That’s fine. It will show and reflect poorly on their business.
    On the other hand, there are plenty of clients out there who realise the importance of the web and various things that come with a web site done well, and they will pay for it. After all, it’s not just a web site that mentions your business, it’s part of your presence and branding. Would you pay just any schmuck to build you office?

    A

    0
  9. 910

    It’s funny how people here who have said “real professionals” don’t use a WYSIWYG editor to develop their sites. I’ve used Dreamweaver for years and do work for National Georgraphic and Symantec. Guess what? Just because it’s a WYSIWYG editor doesn’t mean you have to use it as such.

    I’ve searched for so-called non-WYSIWYG apps to use that aren’t such resource hogs but have yet to find one that offers code completion and the split screen view so I can view the code that I write by hand in the design view area. I personally like that I can open a new document in DW and my DOCTYPE and meta info plus my body and html tags are there… That’s one less step for me to do which is less time for the client to have to pay for.

    If someone can point me to a Mac app that has code completion and a split view (code and design) plus the ability to create a new document with my DOCTYPE and meta info, I’d happily give it a go but in my searches I’ve yet to find anything that offers that.

    By the way, no one has mentioned the free app Smultron for Mac so I thought I’d give it a shout out. It’s my “text editor” of choice.

    1
  10. 1011

    Dreamweaver? Are you goddam crazy? It makes bad code, it messes up style sheets, it sends files across by FTP when you don’t want it to.

    I used it for a couple of years but dumped it for a code editor as soon as I got proficient.

    Don’t rely on it!

    -1
  11. 1112

    We haven’t even begun to address other bloat produced by DW, such as all the lock and note files. I have had many wonderful moments with DW downloading sites that should have been ~1,000 files altogether but actually consisted of ~4,000 due to such files.

    .lck files are no substitute for real design tools such as Subversion.

    Using the “Ftp” is buggy, and extremely bandwidth expensive.

    If you claim to be a real design and rely on the page rendering in DW alone, a real designer you are not. If you are falling back and checking other browsers, concerning yourself with this aspect of DW as a reason not to leave it is not very legitimate.

    That said, I am perfectly fine with others thinking that their DW is the crock o’ gold Adobe would like you to think it is. The rest of us are all the wiser and our work usually reflects this.

    -1
  12. 1213

    Akiva Levy,

    RE A) DreamWeaver’s “fake” code folding is actually the best feature it has. Using the select+fold method I can fold anything I want, whether it’s a block of code, a big comment, several helper functions, whatever. I love this feature and seriously miss it wherever “real” code folding is implemented. I do not want to be restricted to only folding the data between { and }, as is the case with many editors.

    RE B) I have never noticed any memory hogging problems with Dreamweaver. I often have several files of several *thousand* lines open, among with a couple smaller ones, and I have never experienced any problems with speed. Furthermore, if I have Dreamweaver open, chances are I’m also running Photoshop (which is using anywhere from 500mb – 1.5GB of RAM), Firefox (don’t even get me started), and a bunch of other apps. I’m using an Intel E4300 (1.8GHZ C2D) with 4GB of DDR2 and very rarely experience any kind of lag. And face it, this hardware is dirt cheap and commonly available.

    RE C) You’re complaining about hard drive space… in 2008? A 500GB drive (of which I have 4) costs $100… The only problem here is that CS3 takes forever to install, but that’s a one time process (and if you make a ghost image of your clean system + CS3, it’s the last time you go through it).

    The FTP feature is great because sometimes I get work which had to be done on a remote server through F T P. I would much rather hit CTRL+S and have the file automatically uploaded than save it, alt-tab to another FTP client (which, by now, has probably dropped the connection), upload the new file and then choose “YES” in the replace-existing-file dialog… Dreamweaver’s F T P feature all the way!

    RE D) Never looked at it, never used it. I have custom (independent from Dreamweaver) snippets of code for everything I commonly use.

    RE E) Your reasons over the years cannot possibly be relevant today. Dreamweaver has gone through a couple big updates in the CS series and is a wonderful editor for many reasons. I don’t consider it as a WYSIWYG editor. I look at it as a powerful and convenient development environment. Some of my favourite features (custom code folding, code completion, code prediction, built-in FTP, etc) are flat out not supported by 90% of the other editors. And the ones that DO support these features are plain unusable due to their horrible interfaces. If I can’t look at an editor for longer than 10 minutes, I’m not going to use it.

    The only feature (and I’m probably just missing something here) that Dreamweaver lacks and that I want is customizable themes. I like dark themes such as Blackboard for Textmate (which I’ve been recently using with e Text Editor), and the several dark themes which are available for gedit on Linux.

    In summary, I *do* use Dreamweaver like a “real” designer, and a developer. As it happens I do much more coding (front end – xhtml/css/javascript and back end – php/mysql/cms systems) than actual design, and I love Dreamweaver for every aspect of the development process.

    As it so happens, I despise WYSIWYG editors and their results. If I have to install one for a client’s CMS project (most often Drupal), it will be TinyMCE because I can configure every aspect of it.

    It’s quite foolish to associate certain software with “professionals” and other software with “beginners”. I know professionals who use notepad, and I know complete beginners (and idiots) who use ZendStudio. It’s not what you use, it’s what you produce.

    1
  13. 1314

    Yuriy: I completely agree with your last point. It is the end result. I am speaking from years of experience (even now, one of my employers is an adobe shop and we use DreamWeaver CS3–So I have first hand experiences of all the issues mentioned).

    But let’s call it what it is, if you seriously look into the few aspects that seem unique to DW that you like, and you really look around, you will find many apps do all that with much better results. Take a look at Eclipse/Aptana for example. You can have a fully fuctional IDE with amazing plugins built right in that does everything and more that DW does for free.

    And HDD is a relevant issue. Just because hard drives are cheap now doesnt excuse bloated software. Overlooking the reasons (bad code begind the application itself), it just makes no sense. And that isn’t even talking about CPU and RAM usage.

    We have 12 PCs here in this office that all use DW CS3 and all have the same issues, so it’s not an isolated case. So much so, that we have begun migrating away from DW (finally).

    Make your web sites in what ever you want. That was not the point of this SM post. Handing it to your client to develope pages was. Read: Sometimes you need to provide your clients with some simple tools to edit or update their web-sites. And this is where the utility of WYSIWYG-editors comes in.

    Giving your client DW to update their site, you are guaranteed it will break all standards compliancy you (should) have worked so hard for. Period.

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  14. 1415

    @Akiva:

    You simply don’t ENTER new data into the design view. It would be silly, because there’s no way to select exactly at what line you want to insert a div, etc. However, the ability to, in code view, insert a div with a given class “around selection” or “at selection point” or whatever it says (it’s so automatic for me, hehehe) … that’s a real time saver for me, and a perfectly valid use of code and features.

    I have made use of the myriad of DW features… like having a library of snippets I’ve created, for CSS layouts and their corresponding CSS selectors… I manage multiple clients via the “Sites”, etc.

    I don’t believe DreamWeaver was intended to be “primarily a WYSIWYG editor” and I challenge you to find that Macromedia or Adobe intended for most work to be done in the design view. I do all my work in split screen or code view, but I appreciate the design window, for sure. You can see when divs butt against each other without enough padding, when something that should have a background simply doesnt, etc. The design view, without having to preview in a browser on a localhost, is a significantly useful feature.

    I think you have to really use Dreamweaver for an extended period of time to appreciate the features it offers the professional. I also think it is elitist and unnecessary for those who use code editors to condemn its use without giving the CS3 release a test drive.

    1
  15. 1516

    Christian Yves

    May 7, 2008 1:42 pm

    I’d have to pick Dreamweaver out of this list for any WYSIWYG-editing. It’s wealth of features, user interface and presentation are top-notch.

    As an alternative I’d go with (!) Microsoft’s Expression Web. I only mention it (dreadfully at that) because it’s what we have to use in my office. Most of my fellow co-workers got used to FrontPage hence the move to Expression Web. I still hate it’s UI and overall presentation but it gets the job done for the most part. The painful part is when it’s my turn to clean up that code.

    As for non-WYSIWYG editors, I’m a huge, huge fan of Panic’s Coda myself. I use it daily along with BBEdit for hand-coding heaven.

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  16. 1617

    John:

    Dreamweaver? Are you goddam crazy? It makes bad code, it messes up style sheets, it sends files across by FTP when you don’t want it to.

    I used it for a couple of years but dumped it for a code editor as soon as I got proficient.

    Don’t rely on it!

    I’d have to say that I am indeed god damn crazy! Dreamweaver only makes bad code if you use it in design view only and then, the code isn’t so bad. Any site that I develop is done in Dreamweaver and when they are handed over to the client, they ALL validate as XHTML Strict. As far as my continued use of DW? I was proficient in coding before turning to DW. Everyone just seems to assume that if you’re using DW, you’re totally negating the Code view aspect of the app, when that is indeed where I do all my hand-coding with the design view split so I can see how the site lays out as I’m coding by hand. Seems pretty straight-forward to me and if that makes me god damn crazy, then I’ll make a shirt and wave some banners.

    Akiva:

    We haven’t even begun to address other bloat produced by DW, such as all the lock and note files. I have had many wonderful moments with DW downloading sites that should have been ~1,000 files altogether but actually consisted of ~4,000 due to such files.

    .lck files are no substitute for real design tools such as Subversion.

    Using the “Ftp” is buggy, and extremely bandwidth expensive.

    If you claim to be a real design and rely on the page rendering in DW alone, a real designer you are not. If you are falling back and checking other browsers, concerning yourself with this aspect of DW as a reason not to leave it is not very legitimate.

    I beg to differ Akiva. All these “extra files” you are referring to is because someone never set-up their preferences not to have them or they created the sites as templates with only certain areas editable. The power of Dreamweaver is in the preferences. You can set the app up to pretty much render any way you want to. Which includes not using the FTP if not needed. I prefer to use Fetch instead of the built-in function in DW.

    Lastly, as far as your claims of being a “real designer” and using the Dreamweaver design view area to see how your design is rendering, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ve just saved myself 2 steps by using the split view in the app. I also am proficient enough in my coding to know, if it renders correctly in design view, the only browser I’m going to have issues with is IE 6. You’re also assuming that “professional designers” are only relying on the Design view screen to test their site. Sorry, not true. I’ve got a Mac and a PC for browser testing purposes.

    1
  17. 1718

    yeh Im currently using Quanta+ mainly because I found Dreamweaver was more of a WYSIWTF than a WYSIWYG, but I am really interested in taking Amaya for a ride, sounds like a lot of fun
    Thanks for the Linux Apps..

    1
  18. 1819

    I recommend for those that are game, installing ubuntu, setting up 6 desktops on the cube, installing the IE viewer in Wine, on screen 1, so thats 3 ies 5, 5.5 and 6, on screen 2, opera, on 3 Firefox, on 4 Konqueror and on 5 Quanta+ or whatever your editor of choice, then you can test until your brain implodes. justr watch out for those IE`s if they stay open too long they will kill anything.

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  19. 1920

    thanks, excellent post!
    i have an idea for your site, you can add editor’s Suggested. or add your rating.
    thanks

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  20. 2021

    maybe we should make a difference between design a webpage and cut the markup
    how many designers are using a WYSIWYG editor instead of Photoshop or Illustrator? no idea

    in any case nothing is more WYSIWYG than chaeck the page in a browser, not in an editor window

    0
  21. 2122

    I’m still using old Hot Metal Pro 6.0 by Softquad I purchased about 10 years ago. It still works great, even on Vista. It allows me to do raw code as in any ASCII editor, but I can pop over to a Tags View to see the layout, or even WYSIWYG mode so I have three modes. I haven’t seen anything that will let me do all that so I keep using it. It’s paid for itself many times over. Too bad Corel got their hands on it and deep-sixed it like most everything else they touch.

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  22. 2223

    Daniel Fisher(lennybacon)

    May 8, 2008 7:28 am

    I write software. Sometimes its for the Web. From the “writing more code”-perspective I prefer Microsofts “Visual Web Developer” (standalone free Express version or commercial as a part of visual studio) over Expression Web. Additionally to be named are features like the source control integration, ability to write add-Ins…

    Pointing to your next review of course it has great coding features ;-)

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  23. 2324

    As a code editor, DreamWeaver is a great tool. It used to be my editor of choice. As a WYSIWYG tool, it’s nothing special, I’d rate it only ok. Similarly, Microsoft Expressions, which seems to be just a DreamWeaver clone, had some good code editing ability, but is not a good WYSIWYG tool.

    I’m sure many of the readers believe that the only good place for a WYSIWYG tool is in the trash, but, as the article stated – they are often handy for novices to build sites, novices to maintain sites developed by someone else, or for professionals who are in a hurry. I’d like to see them rated on these three points.

    Best WYSIWYG Tools for Novice to Build Site: RapidWeaver, Freeway, SiteGrinder (if they use Photoshop).
    But I haven’t looked at Sandvox, Komposer, and some of the others. I find that tools like DreamWeaver, NVU, etc. are not good WYSIWYG tools for novices. They quickly get themselves in trouble.

    Novice to Maintain Site They Did Not Develop: WordPress
    I’m going to check out Amaya again (haven’t looked at it in years). My recommendation would be to set up your site with Joomla, WordPress, MODx, etc. and have the novice client use that. If the site is set up with RapidWeaver, then it is a good tool for a novice to use for maintenance.

    Professional In a Hurry: Do Less, RapidWeaver or SiteGrinder.
    If I’m in a hurry, I just “do less”.
    But if I’m in a hurry and there are a lot of graphics involved in the design, then my recommendation is SiteGrinder .
    If I’m in a hurry and no custom design is involved, then I recommend RapidWeaver.
    FWIW, these are the only two WYSIWYG tools that I think actually boost productivity if what you are doing is within the scope of their limitations.

    Al

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  24. 2425

    bleh I cant use wysiwyg unless im updating my blog, my development its a crutch.

    0
  25. 2526

    thanks for the list: what I really hope is that one of these can be used with WordPress templates with good results.

    0
  26. 2627

    Very nice! This helps a lot. Thanks!

    0
  27. 2728

    I’m a professional web developer and I don’t understand how our designers can use DreamWeaver… I’ve tried so many times to get them using Visual Studio 2008 but they won’t.

    What is so good about DreamWeaver. In my opinion Visual Studio is the best editor for designers, ease of use, it has style builders, style managers and application. It’s way more powerful than DreamWeaver.

    Visual Studio wins hands down over the Express editions, DreamWeaver and anything else you throw at it.

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  28. 2829

    dharma.indviews.com

    May 9, 2008 3:05 am

    Jamie, it is more of a break away from comfort zone when we designers have to move from Dreamweaver to something new, we may use plain notepad but don’t ask us to use Visual Studio :))

    Myself have been using Dreamweaver from the very first version.

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  29. 2930

    nice collection, but i feel Dreamweaver is the best

    0
  30. 3031

    I am not sure if anyone can beat Dreamweaver – I agree with the last post. I’ve been on it for years and love it so much (or set in my way) – It’s very hard to make myself migrate to a new software.

    I have tried a few WYSIWYG editors in my time, and have experienced bloated code and some were hard to optimize for the search engines. Recently, I have found out about a new online editor at http://www.Sitemasher.com- kicked it around under a demo account and was surprised how much better it is than the ones in the past I tested – they are getting better.

    I think it is also my comfort zone, and I have in the back of my mind, that if I learn a WYSIYG editor and design a site I can benefit from it. If I do, atleast I can hand over the site maintenance to my clients and not have to deal with the pain in the butt text edits they call me to do…because they will never learn Dreamweaver and I will never incorporate Contribute as it is not good…. I may be sold on these new editors, we’ll see….

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  31. 3132

    Hello

    Any of you guys know a live css editor like firebug that you can see what you are editing live and after done just ftp?

    0
  32. 3233

    Photoshop and Illustrator is for design for professionals. HTML and CSS just needs a good Texteditor. Aptana with Eclipse is one of them. Its not the big thing to write HTML, Javascript and CSS in source code when you have to do it almost every week.

    0
  33. 3334

    Some of you people need to stop being so self-righteous. The problem isn’t the editor, it is the person doing the editing.

    0
  34. 3435

    aptana is an open-source extension of the eclipse Java Editor. It’s a programmer’s editor morphed into web development, and it may be exactly what you’re looking for. It has syntax coloring and code completion for HTML /XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and many AJAX libraries built in. It has a feature for previewing your page instantly, ability to work directly with an FTP server, and lots of plugins. The community edition is open source and completely free, with all the features you need. I used it extensively with my book, though I also use the Firefox web developer toolbar’s css editor (also free) to edit CSS in real time. This has the advantage of writing your own code but seeing the results immediately.

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  35. 3536

    yeah, Aptana is great, I use it as well.

    However, I hardly think of it as a WYSIWYG editor. It has nice page preview, but it has no placement or layout tools that a non-coder could use. To make any changes to a page, you must edit the HTML and CSS directly. To my mind, this disqualifies it from being listed as a WYSIWYG tool.

    (Several of the tools that did make the list should have been disqualified). There is a separate list of 25 Best Code Editors. Aptana belongs there.

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  36. 3637

    As a noob, I learned more from the comments here, than from the article!

    I’m starting with just a text editor. I’m a GNU/Linux fan, use Debian (KDE), and currently using the KWrite text editor. It’s become obvious to me the best way to learn is writing code by hand with a text editor (thanks for this tip!, it makes sense). It’s also astonishing how much bad advice there is for a ‘noob’. WYSIWYG for a noob? Morons.

    As I get better, I’ll probably move up to a better editor, like bluefish.

    When I start learning PHP, I’ll probably move up to Quanta Plus.

    I find it hard to believe anyone would actually PAY MONEY for a tool, when there are many great tools available for free!

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  37. 3738

    I have now tried more than 10 of these on the list for Windows. I find the free Eversoft First Page 2006 best suited. It has split view with real wysiwyg. BUT only problem is site management: A pity it isn’t possible to list whole sites, only seperate files. Anyone know a solution?

    Another favorit is Kompozer, but it seem only to handle html documents. When I try to open an .asp file from the project list, a message sais it is not an html document, and it won’t open.
    Any ideas to workaround?

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  38. 3839

    Funny that NetObjects Fusion didn’t get a fair shake in this review. It’s a great tool and produces very pro results. When you need a pin-point accuracy in terms of object placements on a page, NOF is the tool. The code got better too over time. NOF isn’t really the best thing for those who pride themselves on using Notepad to produce a 100-page site. But for a designer who works lots in InDesign or Photoshop, NOF makes lots of sense. Anywho, if using Windows, I strongly prefer NetObjects Fusion or GoLive. With Mac OS X, I prefer working with Freeway Pro but also frequently use Sandvox and RapidWeaver.

    0
  39. 3940

    so no one uses Serif WebPlus then?!?!

    0
  40. 4041

    I use textmate for mac. It’s a pretty awesome tool. Check out the videos on their site. Google it.

    0
  41. 4142

    Where is coda for mac????
    I am surprised to see its missing… :-(

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  42. 4243

    “Some of you people need to stop being so self-righteous. The problem isn’t the editor, it is the person doing the editing.”

    I agree with Lynsey. Reading half of these comments would make you sick. Each to their own in my opinion. Its the end result that matters, not how you did it. If your client is happy that is all that matters. Also DW is a brilliant DESIGN tool. I was forced to use Notepad recently, which I havent had to use for a few years, to mock up a page. It took 10 times the amount of time to do it than if I had used DW. I can hard code and did have to but why do it when half if not all of the work is done for you in something as powerful and graphical as DW?

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  43. 4344

    XHTML on a legal pad and CSS on a shorthand pad? That’s just for wimps. Real coding is on paper in binary (and not namby-pamby hexadecimal), then entering the code into the system through a USB enabled Altair 8800, operating one switch at a time.

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  44. 4445

    i am using dreamweaver, it’s very comfortable to me but please list out the good html and css editor software and also this list is very useful to me, thanks a lot ……

    0
  45. 4546

    Alexis J. Bravo Ll.

    June 28, 2008 9:51 am

    Aptana is great, cross platform, and it’s FREE.

    0
  46. 4647

    I use Mozilla Firefox 3. I’ve added two great Add-Ons, Codetch & FireFTP.
    Even though I have Dreamweaver, I still prefer to use Codetch over Dreamweaver. I’m not much for WYSIWYG editors unless there’s something in the code that I can’t figure out, after I’ve read many tutorials on that matter.

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  47. 4748

    “Some of you people need to stop being so self-righteous. The problem isn’t the editor, it is the person doing the editing.”

    ABSOLUTELY. The egos on some of these people are out of control. Is it good to know how to code? Yes. Does it mean you’re lazy or incompetent if you don’t? Not in the least. In some cases, using a WYSIWYG editor is the best available option. For instance, I work for a large corporation that manages various properties all over the US, UK, and BC, and each property has it’s own unique website. Since we are so widespread, most of our collaboration takes place on conference calls and it is much simpler to say “click here, type here, open this, close that, etc.” rather than get into a buch of coding jargon. If the company had no choice but to invest the time and money to train all of these people how to code I’m sure they would, however in this case it is much MUCH easier to have a simple program that basically anyone can learn how to use without extensive training, and there is nothing even remotely unprofessional about the end results. If you don’t like WYSIWYG programs, fine. But I have to say it’s a bit unprofessional to seek out an article like this just to gripe about it and tout your own self-appointed superiority.

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  48. 4849

    second that. wysywyg editor is horrible. for abs. beg. only

    -2
  49. 4950

    Ahh, if anyone has a text editor that will count “unique” events of words, would they please post a result.
    html
    css
    php
    ajax
    xhtml
    aspx
    rapid-dreamweaver
    java
    ….
    Looks like we need a “web-site language” instead of the mish-mash of many languages.

    Do you guys realize you are pressed to program/integrate multiple languages to accomplish (1) website ?

    PS, I wonder about the guys that post with misspellings. They need a programming language to correct their typos?

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  50. 5051

    I use whatever works-
    html when necessary
    templates when necessary
    cut and paste html
    notepad, PSPad, etc.

    Whatever works.
    Then again, my primary output to the universe is a typepad blog whose html and css I occasionally tweak: *impulse

    IAdditionally, I have coded for a few friends and for a few artists, but nothing extensive. My viewpoint is more one of principle than of practice.

    It is almost certain that eventually a WYSIWYG editor will be developed that integrates everything nicely and outputs compliant code…this will work fine for a few years and will wipe out notepad coders until it falls into obsolescence, and then there will be a renaissance of coding. Didn’t this sort of already happen?

    Paul

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