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Notepad++, alternative to Dreamweaver


It was time to up­grade my soft­ware and I de­cided to find a free al­tern­at­ive to Adobe’s Dream­weaver. I love DW, but it’s bloated with stuff I nev­er use, and it’s ex­pens­ive.

Note­Pad++ has proven to be a much bet­ter deal. It in­cludes many of the fea­tures I love and ac­tu­ally used in Dream­weaver, but with some slight draw­backs.

The most used fea­tures I love:

  • Pro­ject Man­ager
    Like DW, there’s an aside pan­el that lists all the files for your pro­ject. You can cre­ate as many pro­ject lists as you want and they don’t have to rely on the file struc­ture on the hard drive.
  • Colored cod­ing
    Like DW, the code has sep­ar­ate col­ors for tags, at­trib­utes and vari­ables. You can cus­tom­ize the col­ors as I chose to do, pre­fer­ring a dark back­ground and light text op­posed to the de­fault look — I feel it’s bet­ter on the eyes.
  • Code fold­ing
    A much needed fea­ture for any coder, this comes stand­ard with Note­Pad just like DW. Some­times it’s buggy and doesn’t fold cer­tain ele­ments, but nev­er­the­less, it works for me.

Things to keep in mine:

  • No WYSI­WYG ed­it­or
    I don’t care if this is miss­ing, I’m a hand coder and I prefer to view the ren­der­ing in an ac­tu­al browser. WYSI­WYG seemed to dif­fer from the fi­nal ren­der­ing in a browser so WYSI­WYG ed­it­ors aren’t for me any­way.
  • FTP and SFTP sup­port
    Like DW, Note­Pad’s FTP plu­gin works much the same. The only draw­back is that the pro­ject file man­ager and the FTP have no syn­chron­iz­a­tion. The great thing is you can set up vari­ous FTP loc­a­tions and save them. So whenev­er you want to up­load an up­dated file, all you have to do is open the web­site you saved.
  • En­cod­ing UTF-8 without BOM
    After up­load­ing one of my Word­Press sites, I dis­covered weird code had been ad­ded to my HTML which screwed up the lay­out. I did some search­ing and found out that Note­Pad++ en­coded my page with BOM. The rem­edy was to se­lect “En­code UTF-8 without BOM” on each file, save them, and this fixed the prob­lem.

    Note­Pad++ doesn’t re­place DW easy cre­ation of tables and all its awe­some fea­tures, but it’s a good al­tern­at­ive and you can’t af­ford to pur­chase DW and you’re com­fort­able hand-cod­ing.