Dreamweaver 8 vs Nvu 1.0

Briefly, Dreamweaver 8 wins hands down. This is a follow-up to my earlier post about tools from PortableApps.com.

I really wanted to like and use Nvu, since I’ve come to love Firefox and Thunderbird. Nvu has the right pedigree, extensibility, speed, rendering and more. Nvu just isn’t as fully featured as it need to be and requires too many compromises and inconveniences for daily work. Currently, there aren’t enough extensions to patch those issues either. For me the key issues were:

  • No “round-tripping” of code; Nvu messes with your indents and line breaks.
  • No ASP/CFM/JSP/PHP/XML editing; I want code highlighting and hints for more than just HTML. And if I wanted to use Eclipse for that, I would have started in Eclipse tools.
  • No local/remote sync; you can work with either local files OR a remote/FTP location
  • No “offset” when editing a remote site; My web site is NOT at the root level of my server. Unlike Dreamweaver Nvu doesn’t have a convenient, way of indicating that “http://mobilemind.net/” is equivalent to “ftp://ftp.mobilemind.net/www-root”. In such cases Nvu gets confused and sees any tags with relative references to the root like “/images/logo.gif” as broken links.

I will still use Nvu as my “thumbdrive HTML editor,” but even that requires a few critical add-ons.

  • HandCoder– Adds advanced source editing tools including code formatting (which requires HTML Tidy), a Dw-like tag structure status line, and tools to link to external editors (for text file formats).
  • Nvu Site Manager ConText– Adds context menus to the Nvu site manager to launch external editor (for ANY file type found in your site). Similar to Launchy extension for Firefox/Thunderbird.
  • URL Cleaner– Nvu extension to transform local URLs (file:///) into relative URLs.
  • HTMLHeader– (Note: Links to XPI file, DON’T click and accidentally install into your copy of Firefox.)- an extension for editing the header of your HTML files

Conveniently, one of those critical add-ons has a FAQ that reiterates most of my gripes (see http://fabiwan.kenobi.free.fr/HandCoder/#faq).