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Thread: Homesite 5 user looking for upgrade advise

  1. #1
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    Homesite 5 user looking for upgrade advise

    I've maintained a lot of my own sites using this old Macromedia Homesite editor. I believe it was originally supplied with Cold Fusion, and maybe Dreamweaver? (lost track now). The last version I got hold of is 5.5. Its has served me well, and it even came with a basic CSS editor, (TopStyle Lite, v. 3.10). My aging brain can seldom remember all the attributes or legal entries available to a given tag, so I've always appreciated its "intellisense" like dropdown menus offering me constant references.

    Anyway, I'm just fishing to see haw bad off everyone thinks I am using this old tool. I will say that after a recent discussion involving HTML5, I was pretty shocked to discover Homesight actually knew about <video> and <audio> tags, so maybe not as bad as I think?!

    Especially as I'm "between jobs" and can't justify too much that isn't free (or near free) right now. But it doesn't hurt to ask what editors I ought to consider. If it matters, I'm lily going to be learning and working more with these newer HTML5 <video > and <audio> tags soon, and also want to start expanding my understanding of using javascript to exchange data with remote servers and databases, and using functionality such as AJAX and JQuery. Homesite has always seemed pretty weak in the javascript department, but I guess that's to be expected for this kind of editor. I've also felt it left some things to be desired when it came to simplifying page templates and such, and of course its style editor is VERY basic.

    I'm mostly concerned, having been away from web work for several years, that a tool that is no longer supported like this will begin to give me grief as new tags and standards are developed. I know there are a lot of nice convenient WSIWYG editors out there, but I don't think this old dog will ever be comfortable not being able to scratch code.

    Opinions?

  2. #2
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    TopStyle 5.0 is still current, and is recommended by the original writer of Homesite. It is not free, but neither is it vastly expensive, and you can download a free trial. I've not used it yet so this is not a recommendation. Just a suggestion.

  3. #3
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    I am looking for alternatives to Homesite 5.5 as well. I greatly appreciate the dropdown / autocomplete feature and the clean code view. Not a fan of WYSIWYG editors and really want more direct control over what is happening. HTML5 and CSS3 are where I want to be for the updates on my own group of sites with the ability to manage fully responsive pages.

    Mirabyte Web Architect seems to be a comparable product but I'm just beginning to play with it. Not sure about the stability at the moment as some funky things have happened as I try to change my sites tree structure. Also doesn't seem to be a smart with the tag parameters or suggestions. It does include code editing for css, javascript, php, as well as setting the level of HTML you want to work with. On the surface it would seem to be ideal but I'm not convinced yet.

    I hope we see some other input to this topic.

  4. #4
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    Serif WebPlus X5 is what I have along with others, though the X5 is a WYSIWYG interface, it allows you to add in scripting and other things that none of the other editors I have are not able to do.

    The bonus is I picked up a full copy of WebPlus x5 for 20 in a promotion sell off of back catalog items.

    Might be worth you signing up to the site to see what offers are floating around. Google Serif and you will likely be presented with the US site, change site to nearest country location and see whats on offer.
    Yes, I know I'm about as subtle as being hit by a bus..(\\.\ Aug08)
    Yep... I say it like I see it, even if it is like a baseball bat in the nutz... (\\.\ Aug08)
    I want to leave this world the same way I came into it, Screaming, Incontinent & No memory!
    I laughed that hard I burst my colostomy bag... (\\.\ May03)
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  5. #5
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    Thanks rcmcdee. You know, I'm actually hoping someone will chime in and say something like "Hey now its called YadaYadaSite, is now open source, and version 10.x was just released". But I guess the product was never released so no such luck.

    As I said, I was pleasantly shocked to find HS 5.5 actually knew about tags like <video>, but can't understand how that could be. HS was last copyright 2003 according to its "about" box, but HTML 5 is just a few years old, right? So how can HS possibly know about the new tags? Is it possible the tags and attributes get updated by some permanent link to the W3C committee's database? Very mystifying!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by \\.\ View Post
    Serif WebPlus X5 is what I have along with others, though the X5 is a WYSIWYG interface, it allows you to add in scripting and other things that none of the other editors I have are not able to do.
    .
    I don't see WSIWYG interfaces as necessary bad. Heck, back when NETSCAPE was around, and had a built in web page editor, I'd use it in a pinch to throw together a page now and then, especially if it was for something temporary like an item for sale. Do you have any thoughst om Microsoft WebMartix? I think its free, but I'm not sure.

  7. #7
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    WSIWYG editors offer fast results without requiring you to know HTML and CSS coding, which is all well and good. But they often come with some baggage in the form of low quality code. Tools like Dreamweaver have come a long way in the past decade, but you can still run into problems on pages that have been edited many times because each editing session tends to leave behind remnants of the previous revisions. And as those remnants accumulate, the slower the page is to render for the user. The worst of them still rely on multiply-embedded <table>, <span> and <font> tags. And those tools that are sophisticated enough to generate CSS will (left to their own devices) tend to use generic labels for ID's and class names like 'style1', 'style2', etc., making the code cumbersome to modify/repair the HTML and CSS code by hand.

    The more you can bring to the table in terms of skills in coding HTML and CSS, the more you can get out of WSIWYG editors, so no matter how you create your websites, it's best to understand the foundations of web page technologies if you need the results to be anything beyond simply 'adequate'.
    Rick Trethewey
    Rainbo Design

  8. #8
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    Serif products are free if you go to their web site, you buy the full version to get all the bells and whistles.
    Yes, I know I'm about as subtle as being hit by a bus..(\\.\ Aug08)
    Yep... I say it like I see it, even if it is like a baseball bat in the nutz... (\\.\ Aug08)
    I want to leave this world the same way I came into it, Screaming, Incontinent & No memory!
    I laughed that hard I burst my colostomy bag... (\\.\ May03)
    Life for some is like a car accident... Mine is like a motorway pile up...

    Problems with Vista? :: Getting Cryptic wid it. :: The 'C' word! :: Whois?

  9. #9
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    Ummm, not quite the truth, maybe for the cheaper end of the scale like some of the free ones like coffee cup.

    Renaming, thats the reason for the RegExp / find & replace that good editors offer!
    Yes, I know I'm about as subtle as being hit by a bus..(\\.\ Aug08)
    Yep... I say it like I see it, even if it is like a baseball bat in the nutz... (\\.\ Aug08)
    I want to leave this world the same way I came into it, Screaming, Incontinent & No memory!
    I laughed that hard I burst my colostomy bag... (\\.\ May03)
    Life for some is like a car accident... Mine is like a motorway pile up...

    Problems with Vista? :: Getting Cryptic wid it. :: The 'C' word! :: Whois?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rtrethewey View Post
    WSIWYG editors offer fast results without requiring you to know HTML and CSS coding, which is all well and good. But they often come with some baggage in the form of low quality code. Tools like Dreamweaver have come a long way in the past decade, but you can still run into problems on pages that have been edited many times because each editing session tends to leave behind remnants of the previous revisions.

    -- snip --
    .
    I had messed with a version of Dreamweaver once, a LONG time back, and due to the times (it was around 2001) its bloated code got me very concerned, and so I abandoned it. I don't think that's as big a deal now, because few people are on slow modems anymore, and CPU speeds are 100 times faster. But this was my issue... it seemed that once I started hand tweaking things in the Dreamweaver generated , the tool and I were always fighting each other instead of working together. Perhaps I just never learned to properly override Dreamweaver, but in all fairness I had hoped it would SAVE me time. One thing I did like in dreamweaver, that I never really say again, was full support for the layering of screen objects, so you could put graphics or rectangles of content anywhere you pleased (not just align="right", left or center).

    So anyway, if I do use a WYSIWYG editor again for SOME quickie jobs, I would insist that it at least First, let me generate my own page templates and styles, and allow me some way (perhaps by recognizing a comment pattern like <!-- HANDS_OFF --> ... my stuff... <!-- /HANDS_OFF --> so I could insert some of my own tricks without it fighting me. And as a wishlist item,. being able to use object layers or planes for free placement of content would be a big plus!

    I do agree with you... nothing beats hand coding. It just a shame its that way. When I pull out a desktop publishing program, its nice to be able to concentrate on layout and appearance, without worry about markup. I guess thats possible with good web tools too, if you're willing to pay big bucks. Its just that there is so much good open source software these days for other fields of design and engineering, I'm surprised there aren't more good open source tools for web work.

  11. #11
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    Ha! I just tried using this so highly acclaimed WORDPRESS in an attempt to see if i could build a reasonably simple site without resorting to code. So far I've already uncovered a glaring bug in the way WP imports graphics (it clobbers the transparency in the pallett of GIF files), And no graphic placement ability beyond the usual <IMG> "align" options. Plus, every time you place a graphic on a page, it generate a full URL for the "src" attribute, instead of the more efficient 9and preferred by hosting companies) relative paths. Then when you go to report an easy to reproduce bug, you get nothing but all the typical "9try re-installing this", "try getting this or that plugin", and a thousand other "its your fault" responses rather than a simple bug report. The page layout was crappy (in my opinion) despite trying several "themes", and i definably could have built the page from scratch 20 times in the time I wasted fighting with it. Maybe its good for a blog, or if you want a forum in some linked web area, but not for a site where I need to market my products and services.


    OK... I guess I'll go look at Serif. But I have a feeling I'll still be using HOMESITE or something like it for years to come.

  12. #12
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    Not a fan of WordPress for my own sites. Seems to be best for situations where multiple people will be creating and modifying content. I am the only person working on my site so will not need the complexity and inflexibility of a CMS.

    I have been working more with Mirabyte Web Architect and find that it really is a good replacement for Homesite. The interface is more like msOffice and can be annoying with the ribbon based command sets. SaveAs is buried off ribbon in a weird dropdown. The interface is customizable but I haven't tweaked there very much yet as I am spending my time understanding how it handles code. It is richer than HomeSite and I like the way the preview pane works in split window mode (code left / preview right) so you preview code changes in real time. Code validation is a button click and does a nice job advising the details of the issues. CSS JS HTML all code in the same panel but with different tools above. The auto complete doesn't seem to be as smart as HomeSite but that may be due to my ignorance of the current code implementations.

    I am now trying to decide between purchasing the standard ($70 US) or pro version ($130 US). They don't distinguish well the differences and I find no pricing for the cost to upgrade from standard to pro. Does anyone know more about this?




    Quote Originally Posted by PeterPan_321 View Post
    Ha! I just tried using this so highly acclaimed WORDPRESS in an attempt to see if i could build a reasonably simple site without resorting to code. So far I've already uncovered a glaring bug in the way WP imports graphics (it clobbers the transparency in the pallett of GIF files), And no graphic placement ability beyond the usual <IMG> "align" options. Plus, every time you place a graphic on a page, it generate a full URL for the "src" attribute, instead of the more efficient 9and preferred by hosting companies) relative paths. Then when you go to report an easy to reproduce bug, you get nothing but all the typical "9try re-installing this", "try getting this or that plugin", and a thousand other "its your fault" responses rather than a simple bug report. The page layout was crappy (in my opinion) despite trying several "themes", and i definably could have built the page from scratch 20 times in the time I wasted fighting with it. Maybe its good for a blog, or if you want a forum in some linked web area, but not for a site where I need to market my products and services.


    OK... I guess I'll go look at Serif. But I have a feeling I'll still be using HOMESITE or something like it for years to come.

  13. #13
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    I guess what I'm seeing in these replies is that if I want anything GOOD, I'm going to have to spend SOME money! All these, Serif, Mirabyte, they sound good. And like rcmcdee, I'm a little leery of going to a CMS style system Its really an ESY jump for someone NOT used to hand coding, but a huge frustration for a hand coder going crazy just trying to wade through generated code ( with meaningless labels like "id3456" ) to try to find where to tweak a color, and dig deeper to make the change part of the template. Its a good thing I have a LOT of hair, because I just about tore out enough to stuff a pillow messing with WORDPRESS.

    Hopefully one of these you folks have recommended will have some free trial periods, and some reviews I can read. My Homesite is starting to show its weaknesses even if it is surprising good for its age, and I wouldn't mind a little bit of "Drag and Drop" so i don't waste so much time getting a page layout to look right. :-)

  14. #14
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    I am now 5 days into my free 14 days of use test period on WebArchitect. I still have HomeSite/TopStyle loaded but now ready to uninstall them. Still learning the quirks of WebArchitect and trying to understand the differences between the standard and pro versions. I would immediately order the standard if there were clear upgrade pricing to the pro posted anywhere. No WYSIWYG but that is fine with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterPan_321 View Post
    Hopefully one of these you folks have recommended will have some free trial periods, and some reviews I can read. My Homesite is starting to show its weaknesses even if it is surprising good for its age, and I wouldn't mind a little bit of "Drag and Drop" so i don't waste so much time getting a page layout to look right. :-)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcmcdee View Post
    I am now 5 days into my free 14 days of use test period on WebArchitect. I still have HomeSite/TopStyle loaded but now ready to uninstall them. Still learning the quirks of WebArchitect and trying to understand the differences between the standard and pro versions. I would immediately order the standard if there were clear upgrade pricing to the pro posted anywhere. No WYSIWYG but that is fine with me.
    Could you post a link to the product you're talking about? Plugging "WebArchitect" into google brought up a lot of things that don't seem to have anything to do with the product you mentioned.
    Randy (PeterPan)
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