Homesite 5 Time For An Upgrade
Posted on 31 Oct 2001
by Christian MacAuley (jellhead)
Rated 4.26 (Ratings: 20)
- More articles in Software
I have had very few conversations with other web people about HomeSite. Italmost seems invisible in the web community, yet I've found it installed on the computers of many, many web professionals. How does it get there? Did we buy it, download it, pirate it, crack it, did it ride in alongside Dreamweaver or some other power app? However it arrived, it's here and many of us are using it.
But will we buy new version? Decide for yourself.
HomeSite 5 was officially released on October 23rd under the Macromedia brandname, without a lot of fanfare. It comes with some notable changes, of which I'm going to highlight just a few.
- Integrated XHTML Support
- The "Secondary Files tab"
- Automatic Backup
- No more stinkin' "Design View"
- "Folder Deployment"
Integrated XHTML Support
This sounds great, but I wasn't sold in practice. It allows me to create a"New XHTML Document" whose
DOCTYPEis set to the correct XHTML DTD, but doesn't automatically validate my code as I type. Pressing SHIFT+F6 to validate my code with the validator I selected in my Settings however, still works just fine.
The "Secondary Files tab"
This is HomeSite's name for a second file explorer tab that you can use toaccess files across multiple directories, drives, or FTP & RDS hosts, at the same time. This is great for those of us who work on many things at once or who just don't keep everything organized in one location. It shouldn't be a revolutionary idea, but it's one that I haven't seen in many programs. Maybe in future versions they'll allow us to open as many Secondary Files tabs as we'd like.
Even though (CTRL+S) I compulsively (CTRL+S) save my work (CTRL+S) I appreciate(CTRL+S) any program (CTRL+S) that backs (CTRL+S) it up for me (CTRL+S) automatically. HomeSite 5 backs up any file that HomeSite has edited in it's program folder by default, but you can turn it off or customize it in the Settings any time. HomeSite will assist you in recovering your files later, if need be. And that's all it will do. If you want your whole web site to be periodically downloaded and backed up on a different computer (which is also a good idea) then you need to try a different program or talk to your web host.
No More Stinkin' "Design View"
Well, I'm really sorry if you were one of the five people who were actually usingHomeSite's "Design View", but it's gone now. I always regarded this "feature" as a real nuisance, something that I would mistakenly click when trying to preview a page. I would then be confronted with an error message that warns me my HTML will be rewritten [badly]. Then I would have to click the "Of Course Not" button and it was all a big waste of time. In short, I'm glad it's gone.
However, the fact that no one mentioned the feature drop caused me to haveconcern for the aforementioned five poor souls who were actually using the feature, so I looked into why they dropped it. It turns out that it relied on a Microsoft basedcontrol for which support was dropped. Did they tell anyone? It was documented in therelease notes, apparently. As if anyone reads those!
Macromedia is pitching this as a feature that is best for beginners, but I say it's agreat feature for anyone who is too busy or lazy (or both) to take the time to uploadmany individual files. It allows you to upload an entire folder onto the web without leaving HomeSite, something that was awkward to do in previous versions.
A More Stable Program?
If you are thinking of upgrading for the sole reason of getting rid of HomeSite'scryptic error messages, don't bother. It looks like they're here to stay in HomeSite 5. However, in the month that I've been using HomeSite 5 for my HTML and PHP development, it hasn't yet crashed once, which is a certainly fewer times than version 4.5 would have.
Will You Upgrade?
HomeSite really is a good program for being as powerful as you want it to be.I've never found it lacking in anything that I've wanted it for, be it syntax highlighting, spell checking, finding and replacing, or image map creating. It can't, however, be as little as you want it to be. If you were happiest using Notepad or Vi over a terminal with absolutely no frills then you don't need the extra confusion of all the other features that HomeSite has to offer.
In the end, a person needs to decide what kind of HomeSite user they are tofigure out whether an upgrade is worth their time and money. If you're only using HomeSite because Notepad doesn't support CTRL-S for saving files, then don't bother. However, if you're like me and you like to use the myriad of features that HomeSite offers including Site Management and FTP support, then new features might be just what you need to save a little bit of time on your web projects.
|Full Version: $99 USD |
Upgrade Version: $29
CNET Review of HomeSite 5
Allaire Support on the Missing Design View