I have been an avid fan of the HomeSite HTML editor since version 1.2. Back in those days, HomeSite was written and distributed by a single individual, Nick Bradbury. He created HomeSite when he got tired of using Notepad to create the HTML code for his online comic strip, “Dexter on the Net.” The product, even at these early stages, quickly became a favorite of HTML developers around the world. Before version 3 was completed, the software was sold to Allaire, which ended its days as a free product. However, it did not end HomeSite’s days as a viable tool, which all too often happens when a major corporation purchases software from private developers. In 2001, Allaire merged with Macromedia. HomeSite 5 is the first official Macromedia HomeSite release. How can the best HTML editor get better?
In HomeSite 4, there was one main issue that almost made me quit using the application. The main issue was the slow file tree. Using the Windows 2000 operating system, it normally would take between 7-12 seconds to show the files. Thankfully it seems that issue has been corrected in version 5.
The features that have been packed into HomeSite 5 are too numerous to list here. Here is a brief list of the key features:
Powerful Code Editing Tools
- Tag Editors
- Tag Insight and Tag Completion
- Tag Inspector
- Code Validator
- Code Snippets
- Integrated Workflow
Customizable Work Environment
- Extensible User Interface
- Configurable Workspace
- Keyboard Shortcuts
Advanced File Management
- Project Management
- Secondary Files Tab
- Scriptable Deployment
- Auto Backup
Superior Code Navigation
- Color Coding
- Split Window
- Collapsible Code
The second file tab addition is great. There are many times when I work in two different directories. The old method was to work within the file tree back and forth. This became irritating. Now, I can keep two folders open at the same time. The split window enables viewing of two areas of code simultaneously, allowing you to find coding errors easily while working with long blocks of code.
HomeSite 5 continues the tradition of including a complete and useful help system. Not only is the complete documentation for the software provided, but also a complete HTML reference guide and another reference guide regarding the use of style sheets. There is even a nice section on developing Dynamic Web Sites, something we hear more and more about these days and browsers get better and better. HomeSite 5 supports HTML’s multiple sets of standards from HTML2.0 -HTML4.0 and includes vast reference sections regarding both Internet Explorer and Netscape HTML extensions. These are fully documented and validated by the HTML validator on command.
It is also possible to configure multiple external browsers for easy viewing/testing of your websites on any browser platform. These can be used to view your pages even before you commit changes in the working documents to disk. The design window can also be split into two panes, one a code view and one a browser view so that you can instantly see the effects of code changes on the output document. This is a handy tool when making changes to a site and cuts down the amount of time the developer must spend switching between Homesite and an External browser or switching the Edit and Browse views within Homesite itself.
Overall, the merger between Macromedia and Allaire has made version 5 even better. Many of the problems or design oversights of previous versions have been totally eliminated. A handful of helpful new features have appeared. I am confident I will be using HomeSite 5 for all of my web development work.
Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000 or XP
Ultraedit, Editpad, Webmaster PRO
Two file tabs, integration with Dreamweaver
Large icons, memory hog, menus can be confusing
Still the best text editor on the market.