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(BlueFish & NVU) vs Dreamweaver: A Linux Web-Publishing (brief) review-comparison January 22, 2007

Posted by NAyK in First Impressions, Linux, OpenSUSE, Recommendation, Reviews, Screenshots, Software, Windows, Working with Linux.
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Recently I was expressing the need for Dreamweaver in Linux, because my company website (which I build and run) was built on Dreamweaver. Someone (I forget who) said that I should try NVU. And when I specified that I wanted a heavy-duty web-development package, he suggested Bluefish. I of course hadn’t heard of these packages, and eventually gave them a try.

I didn’t try it on my company site (obviously), but on my own homepage, a simple html+flash-based static web page.

Bluefish is scary (for non coders). It has no WYSIWYG whatever. And if it’s there, I couldn’t find it. Instead, it’s a coder’s paradise. No visual distractions, and only code helps. (I didn’t find any code hints, which I think is important).Since I’m not a coder,I was impressed for coders, but I can’t speak for coders… I did do my web-edit on Bluefish… as I would have (could have) done using notepad/krite etc. But, maybe with more time I could use the code helps better. I particularly liked the table tag creaters, which created special tags for all aspects of a table. Nice. I didn’t see any template support either, which was something I really really need for my company site (it’s built entirely on templates and CSS).

In relation to Dreamweaver therefore, I find the biggest drawback the lack of a dual code+WYSIWYG interfact, and template support. In that sense, I find Bluefish more like Macromedia… oops, sorry… Adobe’s Homesite, which is another coder-oriented web-development tool.

So is Bluefish an assett to Linux? Yes of course. Personally, I like having it. I will use it. And in time, I might even learn to love it. right now, though, it’s just a fun programme to have around… and learn.

NVU on the other hand is more friendly. And for professional web-development, a little too friendly. It reminded me too much of MS Frontpage… not in interface exactly, but it was just a feeling. It felt playful not professional. And thus, it makes basic web-design easy, but more complex stuff… not so. It was certainly sufficient for me to do what I wanted on it (for my static page). And I liked the dual code and visual interface. It’s table-view however demanded me to be quite precise and there were times when columns were changing lengths when they shouldn’t.

NVU, I think, is a really good programme to have in the Linux repository belt. It caters to the average home-small office web-designer. But again it’s limitations, as I say it in relation to Dreamweaver, was that it didn’t seem to be as robust as Dreamweaver, plus, it didn’t seem to handle templates like Dreamweaver. Just my humble opinion, but NVU, like many other Linux software, are in their growing stages. And there is a lot of potential there. I liked using it. better than some other linux-based alternatives (cf. KDE or even open office) And it is certainly more friendly than Bluefish. However, in time, it will hopefully make a niche for itself as the ‘Frontpage’ of Linux… which I don’t think is a bad thing.

One reviewer wrote on the positives of NVU. Another commentator wrote on a few NVU limitations here.

So what am I trying to say? I’m definitely NOT dissing these amazing programmes. Both Bluefish and NVU are more than functional for their purposes. And within the OSS, they certain rank as some of the top softwares being developed.

I am however saying that Dreamweaver is unmatched even in the Windows based world. It is beyond doubt, the standard for web-publishing. Something like what Photoshop is for photo-manipulation. And I guess it is important to keep sight of the high standards, even as we try and work with (and sometimes work around) various limitations that encumber us.

My company website is not my own. So I can’t fool around with it. But I’m certainly enjoying using these programmes for my own site, and will hopefully make better use of them in the near future.

Screenshots of Bluefish and NVU (visual view) below.

BLUEFISH

Bluefish web-editing


NVU web-editing (visual view) NVU

ps. I haven’t written anything about Quanta Plus, because I haven’t tried it yet, I downloaded it onto my openSUSE system today. Will try it out someday though. First impression, it does look good… but is it enough? Perhaps it is THE answer!

(latest update: I have testing Dreamweaver MX using Codeweaver on Linux and it works. So, I guess I won’t be trying out Quanta Plus anytime soon… until I get more time of course)

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Comments»

1. cc - January 23, 2007
2. Micah Makaiwi - January 23, 2007

What about Quanta? Quanta has more coding features than Nvu, yet also has a WYSIWIG and hybrid-WYSIWYG interface

3. NAyK - January 23, 2007

to Makaiwi: Exactly. I was just recently (in the last few days) introduced to Quanta and haven’t given it an enough look-in. It looks impressive, and thus is probably more functional than BlueFish. the question remains, can it do/use templates?

4. ComputerBob - January 23, 2007

The closest Linux equivalent to Dreamweaver that I’ve found is Quanta Plus. I’ve used it exclusively on my web site since this past September. Here’s my short review of it:

http://www.computerbob.com/reviews/review_quanta_plus.php

5. ComputerBob - January 23, 2007

Yes, Quanta Plus does templates. Here is the first paragraph from the “Templates” section of the Quanta Plus documentation:

“Templates are basically skeleton documents, code snippets and files to link to. Quanta Plus uses templates fundamentally as a standard file system with enhanced organization and interfacing. You can copy, move or link any repository currently on your system into the templates tree. Think of Quanta Plus templates as having roughly the limitations to your imagination that your file system has.”

6. NAyK - January 23, 2007

Wow! So here it is ladies and gentle… QuantaPlus! I will certainly give it a more serious look-in in the coming days. Thanks, ! This last phrase makes you sound like a superhero! :)

7. Chris - February 1, 2007

Does QuanataPlus allow you to edit flashplayer templates? I need a good tool for editing flashplayer website on linux. I’m done using Windows.

8. NAyK - February 1, 2007

to chris: Wow, I have no idea. I haven’t even had the time to try Quanta… and I didn’t think about flash editing, because I have a bit of that on my site. As of now, my guess is that it doesn’t. But that’s just a guess.

9. Chris - February 2, 2007

Yeh everyone I talk to has no idea for a editing tool for Linux and flashplayers. I guess I’ll will just load Slax KillBill addition that comes with wine already installed and load Dreamweaver to it, but there has to be some type of flashplayer tool for linux. I just don’t know what it is.

10. Chris - February 2, 2007

opps…. addition i meant edition.

11. Irfan Habib - February 4, 2007

Nvu has been discontinued, I had blogged about it after an interview with the developer

http://irfanhabib.wordpress.com/2006/11/01/what-lies-ahead-for-nvu/

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13. JayB - April 24, 2007

There is no open source “all-in-one” replacement for Dreamweaver. However, one can use a combinaison of tools very efficiently.

Nvu (see Kompozer) with a few extensions and a proper use of tidy can do a lot for most people. However, editing source code is very inconvenient and the template mecanism can not update existing files.

To edit source code and more, there are plenty of good tools : Bluefish, Quanta Plus, Eclipse, Netbeans, Vim, etc.

To edit images or image maps, you will also need an external editor.

14. Todd - April 17, 2008

I was able to load Dreamweaver in WINE. Haven’t completely tested all the features like server stuff.. but it appears to work just fine to edit/save.

15. Yohans - October 7, 2008

== quanta ==
“An eventual goal is to have a structural template design mode to deal with site layout and structure which you could use to design and interactively update your sites. If you would like to be involved, check out our help wanted page.”
http://quanta.sourceforge.net/quantadoc2/templates.html

== kompozer ==
.. is a more up to date fork of NVU with bug fixes. So use Kompozer rather than NVU. Neither Kompozer or Quanta are able to automatically update a website after a template is modified [well, I ouldn't find any evidence], and this is what makes templates so valuable in Dreamweaver.
http://www.charlescooke.me.uk/web/ugs07.htm

16. sofwan - October 10, 2008

There is another great tool in web and already used for Java and C, it’s eclipse. I use it for PHP programming language currently besides Kate, before that i ever use Bluefish and Quanta. Yes, Linux is a paradise for coders, there are so many tool for coders.
Nvu, i will use it.

17. Sashock - November 28, 2008

Kompozer and Quanta replace Dreamweaver. Quanta the best to me.

18. Craig - December 30, 2008

I’ve been doing web design and dev for 12 years and still think Dreamweaver is awful. I always look at the source of a web site and as soon as I see mm_ I know there’s going to be 5 times more code in the page than necessary. If you want to build slow, code bloated sites, use Dreamweaver. Otherwise use something that doesn’t try to do the job for you, i.e. just learn (X)HTML instead, it’s not hard!

19. Ron Boyd - January 22, 2009

If you say that DW leaves bloated code then you don’t know how to use it correctly..
I actually use DW (as an optimizer) to strip out all the useless code that designers put in. It can do very tight coding.. It depends on who’s using it.
As a Website management tool and design tool there’s nothing that compares…

Anonymous - June 24, 2009

I agree. It really depends on who uses the app. It can, indeed, create very tight code.

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22. BlueFish & NVU vs Dreamweaver | TurboLinux Blog - August 20, 2011

[...] Here is a excellent tutorial show you about BlueFish & NVU vs Dreamweaver: Bluefish is scary (for non coders). It has no WYSIWYG whatever. And if it’s there, I couldn’t find it. Instead, it’s a coder’s paradise. No visual distractions, and only code helps. (I didn’t find any code hints, which I think is important).Since I’m not a coder,I was impressed for coders, but I can’t speak for coders… I did do my web-edit on Bluefish… as I would have (could have) done using notepad/krite etc. But, maybe with more time I could use the code helps better. I particularly liked the table tag creaters, which created special tags for all aspects of a table. Nice. I didn’t see any template support either, which was something I really really need for my company site (it’s built entirely on templates and CSS). [...]


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