Nice Adobe Dreamweaver Replacement

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by RJM62, Dec 7, 2018 at 1:15 PM.

  1. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Two of them, actually, both by the same company.

    Rapid PHP supports PHP, HTML, CSS, JS, and probably some other stuff that I haven't noticed yet. It should meet the needs of most if not all Web developers who work in HTML and PHP.

    WeBuilder includes everything in Rapid PHP, but adds support for Ruby, Python, ASP, Perl, etc.

    Both programs are economically-priced and are sold outright with perpetual licenses. Future versions are discounted to owners of current versions.

    I tested both programs. They installed cleanly and easily, were easily configured, and played nicely with my local Apache / PHP / MySQL server. Everything I tried worked just fine. The layout is customizable, but the default layout is similar enough to Dreamweaver that long-time DW users should be able to pick it up pretty easily. The code hinting works well and the default color schemes are sensible. There are multiple themes included.

    Ultimately I purchased WeBuilder. I don't work in ASP and rarely use Perl or Python; but for the few bucks extra, they were worth having.

    I've been using NetBeans ever since I canceled my Adobe ransom payment subscription; but NetBeans depends on Java, with which I'm less-than enamored. It also hasn't been updated in ages (although now that it's an Apache product, that might change). I also have a pre-subscription model version of Dreamweaver that I bought outright, but it's ancient and outdated.

    I was a loyal Macromedia customer and stayed with that suite of products, usually buying the annual updates, after Adobe purchased Macromedia. I also stayed around for a while when Adobe switched to their present ransom subscription model (but also held on to my old outright-purchased software). But I also made it a point to start finding replacements.

    With WeBuilder, I think that process is finally complete. Netbeans is a good editor (as are Atom, PHP Storm, Sublime Text, Eclipse, etc.). But there's something about DW's layout that I missed. I also missed the built-in preview pane. I never used the WYSIWYG capabilities, but I liked having the preview pane built in. It's really no easier nor quicker than just keeping a browser window open, but it seems easier and quicker.

    I used Rapid PHP as a trial for enough time to know I liked it and that it would work well with my workflow. But when I went to buy it, I decided on WeBuilder instead. WeBuilder automatically imported the settings from Rapid PHP, so setup was a breeze. I'm happy with it.

    Since I'm giving out free plugs, I should also mention Affinity Photo (a worthy replacement for both Adobe Photoshop and, to an extent, the sadly-abandoned and much-missed Adobe Fireworks), and Affinity Designer (a capable replacement for Adobe Illustrator). Both programs are made by Serif, an old-school publisher of inexpensive, but excellent software. They also have another companion program, Affinity Publisher, in open and free Beta.

    And while we're at it, Magix Movie Edit Pro is a worthy replacement for Adobe Premiere Pro for personal and entry-level professional video editing. I don't think it's Spielberg-level, but I'm not Spielberg. It's also easy to use, fast, stable, frequently-updated, and has a lot of built-in capabilities for such inexpensive software.

    All of the software mentioned here is available for outright purchase with perpetual licenses. I don't do subscriptions.

    Rich
     
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  2. Mason

    Mason Pattern Altitude

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    I like Serif software. Use several of their aps.
     
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  3. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, I've been using their stuff since the 1990s. I always thought their software deserved more respect than it got.

    Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer, however, are becoming quite popular and well-respected; so Serif's long-overdue recognition as a publisher of professional-quality software is finally happening. I think Adobe's move to a subscription model helped Serif a great deal in this regard. In my experience, Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are the first programs mentioned on message boards and forums (including Adobe's own) when people ask for viable replacements for Adobe products.

    Personally, I think that people who are new to graphic design and who don't have a huge portfolio of stuff already created with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and/or Fireworks would have to be crazy to lock themselves into a subscription model for the rest of their lives when viable alternatives with perpetual licenses are available. Apparently I'm not the only one who feels that way.

    Magix is another company that got an instant boost in cred, in their case when they bought the highly-respected Vegas Pro from Sony. For users who don't need the staggering capabilities of Vegas Pro, Magix Movie Edit Pro Premium is a very powerful, inexpensive alternative that has an impressive complement of professional-level functionality for its price point. But it also has a simple interface that even rank amateurs can quickly master. All the effects can be manipulated both visually and numerically; so newbies who don't understand the math of audio and video can manage them intuitively, but advanced users can manage them quickly using numbers.

    Because it has a free trial, Magix Movie Edit Pro Premium is always the first software I recommend people try if they need something more powerful than most consumer-level or FOSS editors, but don't need something in the AVID / Lightworks / Vegas Pro / Premiere Pro stratum and price point.

    The only criticism I have about Magix Movie Edit Pro is that renewing the update service costs almost as much as an initial purchase of the software. But because it's so inexpensive to begin with, it's really not a big deal. Also, if one chooses not to renew the updates right away but does so at a later time, the updates start with the version in effect at the time of renewal. They don't have to play catch-up from the time their previous subscription expired. (Early renewals, on the other hand, are tacked onto the end of the existing subscription, so no time is lost.) Most importantly, the software doesn't stop working when the subscription ends. It just stops getting updates. It may still get stability and security updates. I'm really not sure. But it definitely stops getting version updates.

    I'm still too new to Blumentals to say much except that both Rapid PHP Editor and WeBuilder worked flawlessly right out of the box, with minimal configuration and sensible defaults; and that the interface is both intuitive and reminiscent of Dreamweaver, so users migrating from DW should find the learning curve very shallow.

    I should mention that neither Rapid PHP Editor nor WeBuilder are WYSIWYG editors. They speed up coding, provide for rapid testing, and assist in debugging; but they don't write code. I'm not sure I mentioned that earlier because it wasn't one of my criteria for replacing Dreamweaver. The last version of Dreamweaver I used did do WYSIWYG (and I believe the current version still does); but I didn't use it, so it wasn't something I looked for in a replacement.

    Ironically, Adobe's wretched ransom model worked out for me in the end because it forced me to look for alternatives, all of which I actually like better than than the software they replaced -- despite their being much less-expensive and coming with perpetual licenses. So if you're reading this, @Adobe, thanks for nudging me in a better direction than the dreadful and despairing path that you wanted me to walk for the rest of my life.

    Rich
     
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  4. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Pattern Altitude

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    For "lite" users, how do they beat GIMP and Scribus?
     
  5. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "lite" users. But generally, Affinity Photo came closest to approximating the typical workflow of someone who used Fireworks specifically to edit and optimize images for the Web. GIMP (and Photoshop) can do the same thing, but it will take more steps to do it; and when you're dealing with hundreds of images, those few steps make a huge difference in time. Now that I'm familiar with the shortcuts, my workflow for that particular repetitive task using Affinity Photo involves only one additional keystroke per image compared to using Fireworks.

    I'm not very familiar with Scribus. I know it's a desktop publishing program, but it seems more geared toward print work than anything I do. My guess would be that Affinity Publisher, which is in Beta, would have the edge over Scribus only for those who already use Affinity Photo and/or Affinity Designer, strictly for workflow and integration reasons. But that would just be a guess because I rarely use any desktop publishing software and am by no means an expert on it.

    Rich