Website creation: Dreamweaver v open source

Summary:Adobe's Dreamweaver is widely used by web developers, but it won't suit Linux users or those on tight budgets. Free and open-source (FOSS) alternatives are available, but how do they match up?

The website design and maintenance requirements of large enterprises — particularly those engaged in online commerce or publishing — are very different from those of individuals or small businesses. Enterprises are likely to need a dynamic site with a large and growing database of assets managed via a CMS; individuals or small businesses, on the other hand, may only need a site comprising a few static pages to act as a contact point and shop window. Having said that, individuals running their own blogs can still take advantage of a fully-fledged CMS such as WordPress.

Much of the internet's infrastructure depends on open-source software such as Apache HTTP Server, which celebrated its 17th birthday in February 2012, and a great deal can be achieved using a variety of freely available open-source tools. However, Adobe's Dreamweaver has a lot to offer. It's relatively expensive, of course, and won't appeal to committed Linux users, but for those involved in a broad range of commercial web design tasks the investment should pay off quite quickly.

Adobe has made considerable efforts to keep Dreamweaver abreast of current web-design practice, and the latest CS6 release has some very clever productivity-boosting features. It does verge on the Swiss Army Knife of web tools, though, and hardcore programmers might prefer to use a code editor integrated with a particular development framework such as Eclipse.

Adobe continues to expand its portfolio with more web-centric applications. For example, the company owns and develops Business Catalyst, a company that provides a complete Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for building and managing a business website. Adobe purchased Business Catalyst in 2009 and its services are integrated into Dreamweaver. As mentioned ealier, Adobe also acquired PhoneGap creator Nitobi last year.

Finally, Adobe has recently launched Muse, an entry-level WYSIWYG web-authoring tool that allows graphic designers to develop websites without needing to dirty their hands with coding.

Topics: Developer, Enterprise Software, Open Source, Reviews

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