Dreamweaver alternatives – Are there any viable freeware alternatives to the Adobe software?

webdesignThe Internet has revolutionised the way we live, and virtually every area of our lives. But arguably the element of our society over which it has had the greatest influence is commerce. The High Street can reflect grimly on this reality, as many established retailers have found that they cannot compete with the commercial power of this still relatively new, but increasingly important medium.

Thus, building websites has become a must for commercial enterprises, and many individuals also like to set up sites in order to house material that is important to them. The concept of building websites has thus become a valuable commercial commodity in itself, and a program which enables individuals with minimal information technology knowledge or experience to make their own site becomes extremely useful and cherished. The market leading development tool for over a decade has been Adobe Dreamweaver. Many uninitiated users, though,know nothing about Dreamweaver essentials and need Dreamweaver training in order to learn how to use this complex piece of software.

This web development tool was first released back in 1997, and has been steadily built up into an extremely powerful piece of software since then. Adobe Dreamweaver is available for both OSX and Windows, and is without doubt the most commonly used piece of software for creating websites anywhere in the world.

More recent versions of the programme have included support for emerging Internet technologies,such as CSS, JavaScript, and various server-side scripting languages and frameworks including ASP, ColdFusion, Scriptlet, and PHP. Whereas using CSS with Dreamweaver often requires training, this programme effectively helps people of modest computing knowledge create their own high-quality websites, and also enables a variety of code editing facilities for more advanced users as well.

However, despite the excellent reputation that Dreamweaver has built up over the last decade or so, there remain a couple of issues that prevent people from using it. The first that comes to mind is the fact that Dreamweaver is not compatible with the popular Linux operating system, which many people who revile Microsoft’s Windows prefer to use as an alternative operating system.

Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, Dreamweaver is not cheap. A brand new retail version of Dreamweaver costs somewhere between $300 and $500 US dollars, making it out of the price range of many people, and making it a poor investment for the majority of home users.

Thus, many people who would love to use Dreamweaver and build their own websites, but aren’t in a financial position to do are seeking an alternative to the genre-defining program. Luckily there are many available, so here are ten of the best alternatives to Dreamweaver:

1. Namo Web Editor 9

This is a superb piece of software if you’re looking for an easy to use web creation tool. Designed for users of all proficiencies, Namo Web Editor 9 does an excellent job of replicating Dreamweaver’s powerful features while making them easy for beginners to operate. There is no knowledge of HTML, XML or other programming languages required; WebEditor’s Site Wizard & Site Manager make creating and maintaining a complete website easy. More advanced users can manage websites easily, and there is a full WYSIWYG Editing Mode & HTML/Quick Tag Editor included.

2. Aloha

Aloha is a very impressive piece of software that is compatible with all main browsers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera) and is another excellent solution for those wanting a Dreamweaver alternative. Boasting HTML5 capacity, Aloha is updated regularly, and has a nifty floating toolbar that makes it very easy to use. Accurately recreates Dreamweaver’s WYSIWYG capabilities, and is a wonderful program given its free status.

3. KompoZer

Another entirely free and open source programme, KompoZer is compatible with every operating system that one could conceivably hope to use it with. This program is particularly notable for featuring a WYSIWYG editor which bears a strong resemblance to the similar function in Dreamweaver, and KompoZer is thus an excellent substitute for Dreamweaver. Its support for tabbed editing of multiple pages finds favour with many users.

4. Text Wrangler

This is a lightweight program which is incredibly simple to use. Designed for the beginner, this is the perfect replacement for Dreamweaver if you’re looking for a free alternative that isn’t too demanding to use.

5. Bluegriffon

Bluegriffon is another free, open source programme which is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, thus giving it an instant advantage over Dreamweaver. This is a feature heavy program which contains such useful tools as page preview, spell checking, templates and web fonts, and there is a particularly powerful vector graphics creator included within the package.

6. Openbexi

Another addition to the raft of free, open source WYSIWYG editors available on the market, this is another free program that puts Dreamweaver to shame by being compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Openbexi features a browser-based interface, and has been designed to be easy to use by including drag and drop widgets in order to make the program easily operable for new users.

7. Coffeecup HTML editor

This is a cheaper alternative to Dreamweaver priced at around $69, and like its commercial competitor it does not support the Java platform. On the plus point, this was the first ever editor to support JavaScript and split-screen editing, and is more powerful than many of the open source editors.

8. Microsoft Expression Web

Once a commercial programme, this has now become a free piece of software, albeit one that is not available on an open source basis. This is not the most flexible program, as due to the fact that it’s a Microsoft product, it only runs on Windows. This program features very similarfunctionality and features to Dreamweaver, and a particular notable function of Microsoft Expression Web is its W3C support enabling those disabilities to design with ease.

9. Amaya

This is another free, open source program which is consequently compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. Has a very strong WYSIWYG editor, along with numerous features including spell checking, a page preview facility, SVG, and MathML. There is no JavaScript support included in this package, though, and only partially supports CSS2.

10. TextMate (Mac) or E-Text Editor (PC)

A program which differs depending on whether you’re a PC user or a Mac devotee, this is a simple but powerful editor that does an excellent job of standing in for the considerably more expensive Dreamweaver. What’s more, the PC version of the program is freeware and won’t cost you a penny.

Conclusion

There are many alternatives to Dreamweaver available, and while they all have plus and minus points, it should not be too difficult to find something to suit your needs.

If you decide to go with Dreamweaver after all, you can learn Dreamweaver Essentials in this course!