My New Favorite Web Editor

Ok I will be the first to admit that when it comes to web development I am definitely old school. I have tried a multitude of code generation tools and every time I do I swear I will never do that again. Web code is equal parts science and art form. The problem is that most of those tools that create the code for you produce such bloated pages that they become nearly unusable. These tools rarely support all of the web standards you would like and in many cases they produce code that will not pass code validity tests. But while I like to write the code myself so that I know exactly what each line does, I don’t necessarily like using a plain text editor to manage the task.


Years ago while developing on a Windows-based workstation I came across an editor that I just fell in love with (in a purely plutonic sense). HomeSite started off as a simple editor that would help you to manage the HTML code being created. This application gained a cult like following among web developers and was purchased by Macromedia. They continued to support the tool for a while but ultimately the features and functions available in HomeSite were built into Dreamweaver. With the introduction of Dreamweaver CS4, Adobe (who had acquired Macromedia) decided to cease development and support for HomeSite.
While I think Dreamweaver is a great suite, there are times that it is just too big and cumbersome for doing small development projects. Additionally, Dreamweaver is substantially more expensive than HomeSite making it cost prohibitive to many developers.
The HomeSite end-of-life announcement by Adobe happened to coincide with my migration from Windows to Macintosh so it became even more important for me to find an alternative for my beloved web development editor. I looked at several editors including the well regarded BBEdit but in the end I decided that the best tool for my workflow would be Coda by Panic Software. The great thing about Coda is that not only does it do an admirable job as an editor but it includes several other valuable tools such as file transfer, css editing, terminal, and others. The application has hooks that allow developers to extend the capabilities of the software through plug-ins. Instructions for creating these plug-ins can be found in the Coda Developer Zone.
I never thought I would find an editor and development environment that I liked as well as HomeSite but after a few short weeks using Coda I have to admit that the workflow is extremely easy to adapt to. I would have a hard time going back to HomeSite now that I have Coda; it’s just that good.


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