I have had very few conversations with other web people about HomeSite. It

almost 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 brand

name, without a lot of fanfare. It comes with some notable changes, of which

I'm going to highlight just a few.

Selected Changes

Integrated XHTML Support

This sounds great, but I wasn't sold in practice. It allows me to create a

"New XHTML Document" whose DOCTYPE is 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 to

access 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.

Automatic Backup

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 using

HomeSite'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 have

concern 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 based

control for which support was dropped. Did they tell anyone? It was documented in the

release notes, apparently. As if anyone reads those!

Folder Deployment

Macromedia is pitching this as a feature that is best for beginners, but I say it's a

great feature for anyone who is too busy or lazy (or both) to take the time to upload

many 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's

cryptic 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 to

figure 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.

the Details
Price Links
Full Version: $99 USD

Upgrade Version: $29

Macromedia HomeSite

Web Site

CNET

Review of HomeSite 5

Allaire

Support on the Missing Design View