Archive for January 17th, 2006

The best tools for the job

January 17th, 2006 by sjan

I am often asked by my Linux-using friends why I am using Windows, while my my Windows-centric friends wonder why I am using Linux or BSD and my Mac-user friends ask why I’m not using Mac at all. The answer to the last is easiest – I don’t have a Mac.

As to the other questions, it depends on what I am doing at the moment. I don’t think that Windows is inherently better or worse than Linux or BSD, nor do I think that all software that costs money is evil. I think it all comes down to asking the question: “What is the best tool for the job I am doing?”

With that in mind, here is the first installment in the list of my picks:

Web Development (HTML/PHP/JavaScript): Adobe HomeSite (previously Macromedia HomeSite, previously Allaire HomeSite). [Windows]

I have been using HomeSite for several years now, and despite the changes in company ownership, it continues to be the best tool available for general web development.

In the realm of rapid development, HomeSite has a built-in ftp client, and you can also set it to use a server running locally to see PHP pages and Perl CGI in action. For that I prefer Xampp from ApacheFriends, because of its ease of installation on Windows and the fact that it makes creating a local Apache/PHP/MySQL setup a snap.

The down side to HomeSite is that it doesn’t understand Python/PSP, and changing the tab settings to use spaces instead of tabs seems to be broken in the latest version. I thought it used to do that, but I may be mistaken.

The only tool that comes close is Bluefish [Linux] which seems to be improving in great strides. When I need to whack out a quick web document while in Linux that is the tool for which I reach.

Although Bluefish understands Python it still doesn’t quite work the way I would like it to when highlighting and parsing PSPs. Maybe, when I have the time I can write a plug-in for HomeSite to do just that.

Tomorrow: Music Editing/Creation Tools