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Aptana, Nvu Or Kompozer


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#1 Juha

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Posted 06 February 2008 - 05:43 PM

Hi,

I am learning HTML coding and how to design websites. I have been looking for some free/open source programs which I could use.

I have come across NVU (which I have downloaded) and KompoZer. I understand both are based on WYSIWYG and also learned that NVU development has been stopped, but KompoZer sort of unofficially maintains it. I was wondering if there are any major differences between the two. Since KompoZer maintains NVU does that mean it replaces NVU, in other words does it have NVU's features as well as extra ones?

I have also seen another partly open source program called Aptana Studio, which I have just downloaded today after reading some good reviews about it. I guess it is slightly harder than the two above because of the need to manually type the code- just need to learn how to use it...

Anyway, looking for your thoughts.

Thanks.

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#2 groovicus

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 11:24 AM

I think that you will find there are two schools of thought around here. One, the best tool to use is the one that you are able to understand, whether it be Dreamweaver, or any of a number of free alternatives. They all produce web pages in one fashion or another. Some have different capabilities than others, just like any other application. Personally, I am not familiar with any HTML development environments, free or otherwise.

The other school of thought is to simply use notepad and take the time to learn without everything being hidden 'behind the scenes'. The problem with using an IDE (like NVU or DreamWeaver) is that when something happens and your page is not rendered correctly, you will not be able to just look at the HTML and figure it out. HTML is simple. I think it takes longer how to figure out how to use an application to generate the HTML than it does just to type the HTML yourself.

Pick the program you are comfortable with. Or just use notepad, or wordpad, or any other text editor.

#3 Juha

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 03:37 PM

Thanks for the reply.

I like the two main schools of thought. But isn't there a chance to combine the two together! I am already using Notepad to learn HTML. According to the Online Tutorial I am following, I have finished the 'Getting Started/Beginner' stages of HTML and progressing well... I can create simple pages with pictures, sound, links etc... fairly easily now. But I want to create aesthetically pleasing pages. That's why I wanted to know if a program like NVU could help me do this.

The problem with using an IDE (like NVU or DreamWeaver) is that when something happens and your page is not rendered correctly, you will not be able to just look at the HTML and figure it out.

I think you can switch between the HTML code and 'visual' one.

As I said the only reason I want to use the program is to create nice websites, but I am still going to be learning HTML.

Edited by Juha, 08 February 2008 - 03:39 PM.


#4 groovicus

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 04:53 PM

I think you can switch between the HTML code and 'visual' one.


What good will that do you if you don't understand all of the HTML though?

Basic HTML does not give very pleasing results. That's why CSS was invented. Learn how to do everything by hand first, including forms, tables, and menus. Once you understand those, use CSS to beautify it. Once you have a handle on that, use any HTML editor that you want. I am merely making a suggestion. :thumbsup: I know plenty of people that can use Dreamweaver and Frontpage to quickly turn out websites, and from a quantity stand point, they make sense.

#5 Juha

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 08:50 PM

What good will that do you if you don't understand all of the HTML though?

I take your point there. So, I should learn coding with HTML in Notepad well before using a HTML Editor. I assume that Notepad can handle every aspect of HTML coding.

As for the aesthetic side, I also take your suggestion to learn CSS. It definitely makes sense because I am learning for personal use, not doing this for an income. After accomplishing this, then can move forward I guess. (Well, not really forward is it? Just moving from coding with the keyboard to pointing and clicking with the mouse.)

Thanks for your great thoughts once again.

#6 groovicus

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Posted 08 February 2008 - 10:48 PM

Any text editor can handle HTML because all HTML is, is a text document with an .html extension, and using plain English words that your browser knows how to handle. Actually, I do a lot of java code, Perl code, and scripting in Notepad (or Gedit if I happen to be on a Linux system at the time...I don't want to hear anything about not using Vi either :flowers: ) Code is just text that a compiler or interpreter knows how to read.

So, I should learn coding with HTML in Notepad well before using a HTML Editor

I think you should, yes. Honestly, a couple of weeks of practice and you will know most of what there is to know with HTML anyway. And there are plenty of people willing to help you if you need it. :thumbsup:

#7 Juha

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 06:22 PM

Wow, you can actually code Java and Perl in Notepad?! I never knew that. With such abilities, I better respect Notepad then! Also, how come it isn't that popular, or is it me that is not aware of the fact?!

Anyway, I appreciate your input, and I'll take on board your advice.

Thanks a lot.

P.S. I am trying to learn Python Language, just wondering if Notepad can handle it as well...

#8 groovicus

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 07:22 PM

Again, a program is just a text file. All text editors can handle text. Here is a java program:
import javax.swing.JOptionPane;


public class Test {

	public static void main(String[] args) {
		String text = JOptionPane.showInputDialog("Type in some text");
		
		int myNumber = 0;  
		myNumber = Integer.parseInt(text);
		
		System.out.println("My number is " + myNumber);
		
		double squared = myNumber * myNumber;
		System.out.println("My number squared is " + Double.toString(squared));

		double divided = squared/(double)(9.0/5.0);
		divided = divided +562;
		divided 
= ((divided+365)/(11.0))-100;
		System.out.println("My number divided is " + Double.toString(divided));


		//JOptionPane.showMessageDialog(null, text);
	}
}

You could compile that on your computer, and it would run just fine. The magic doesn't happen in the text editor. the magic happens when the interpreter or compiler reads the text and converts it into a language that the computer can understand. You could use wordpad, or Microsoft Office to write your programs if you want. It doesn't take anything special to write a program. For instance, I just wrote that program here, no text editor at all.....

EDIT: Yes, you can write a python program in any text editor also.

#9 Juha

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 09:29 PM

I think I am moving too far from the original topic, but as a beginner programmer I hope you wouldn't mind if I ask some basic definitions. What exactly does 'compile' mean? And referring to the code, you said it would 'run fine'. What do you mean by that? And how could I make it 'run fine'? I am also curious at what the code means. If I copy the code to my Notepad, could I experiment/do something with it? And if so, what? I see you refer to compiler/interpreter... Is this a separate thing, as it being a different program, which is separately installed?

I hope you'll forgive me for the constant barrage of questions. I promise I won't ask any more!

Also, if you can point me to a good guide book/online tutorial, please do.

Thanks again...

#10 groovicus

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 10:02 PM

I don't mind answering programming questions. Compiling code means to convert the code into something the computer understands so that it can run the program. The computer can not understand the code that I showed you. That is called source code. The compiler takes the source code and turns it into object code. An interpreter is bascally the same a s a compiler. They are just programs that convert source code. Nothing really special about them either.

What I meant by "that code will run just fine" was to try and show you that that there is nothing magic about notepad. If you had a pencil and paper, you could write in English, Spanish, German, or any other language. That doesn't make the paper special in any way. If you copied that code onto your computer, and ran the java compiler on it, you would have a java program that would run on your computer.

The code that I listed is just some code that I was using with one of my students to demonstrate how to create simple dialog windows in java, and how to manipulate numbers. You could tinker with it, but unless you know how to compile it, you wouldn't be able to run it. Not that it is very hard.

What sort of tutorials? For what? You were talking about HTML and CSS.. you should probably stick with those until you are ready to move on to something else, like the Python that you mentioned. :thumbsup:

#11 Juha

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Posted 11 February 2008 - 04:30 PM

Thanks for the clarification.

As for the tutorials, never mind. I was just thinking of something that could help me grasp these (programming) ideas. But as you mentioned, I should stick to the HTML/CSS learning first! I kind of rush a lot.

Anyway, thanks again for the great response...

I'm starting to understand the excellent BC Community!

#12 Wysi Free

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Posted 21 February 2008 - 07:24 PM

I was just thinking of something that could help me grasp these (programming) ideas. But as you mentioned, I should stick to the HTML/CSS learning first!


Sorry to come in at the tail end of this. Your original question was, "which one to use Nvu or KompoZer?" The stock answer is whichever works for you. Nvu made the step forward but development ceased after the release of Nvu 1.0, I think that was '05. The program was open source but the name was trademarked by Linspire. The code could be improved but the name couldn't be used.

The code was improved and dubbed KompoZer. KompoZer is still under development and the latest release is 0.7.10. KompoZer is available for free download and I think KompoZer continues under development.

The discussion is right in that you can use notepad to create HTML mark-up or format content with CSS. The simple fact is many of us don't want to mess with all that so an editor like KompoZer enables us to create web pages with no technical background or really understanding how to code stuff. I blog about all that too. I also maintain that KompoZer (or Nvu) is an excellent learning tool.

I know conventional wisdom says we should use CSS to create web pages and KompoZer improved the Cascades CSS editor to help us get that done. I managed to squeak out a site based on CSS. I guess I have learned how to use the power of CSS without really understanding it. I couldn't have done that site with Notepad++ but KompoZer guided me.

If you haven't guessed my vote is for KompoZer, the new and improved version of Nvu. Hey, what you see is free and if I can you can too. Juha may have figured it out but if you haven't, go get KompoZer and do it.

Wysi
:thumbsup:

#13 Juha

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 01:30 PM

Hi Wysi,

Thanks for your input. No need to apologise. Better late than never!

The simple fact is many of us don't want to mess with all that so an editor like KompoZer enables us to create web pages with no technical background or really understanding how to code stuff.

Yes, I believe that's true. It maybe true for many people who are doing it for business, for example or simply don't have the time...

But for me, I have decided (with advice) to work a little harder trying to learn how to code first before making use of this sort of program. But anyway, I'll still experiment with these programs and see what I can do with them.

Since development for NVU has ceased, I guess I'll uninstall it and see KompoZer.

P.S. I have checked your blog. It looks interesting, so I might check out some time later.

#14 SmileyBri

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 04:31 PM

Juha,

I stumbled upon your thread as I move from Windows to Ubuntu and need a Dreamweaver alternative. First, and no offense to groovicus, but I think you got some good advice from the person who suggested you learn HTML and groovicus is wrong here about a few things in my humble opinion.

The idea of developing Web pages without knowing HTML is preposterous! No program, no matter how good, can do everything for you in a WYSIWYG environment. Not even Dreamweaver!

Where grooveicus is wrong (again sorry) is that good Web tools can actually help teach you HTML. And they can prevent syntax errors. I started out in Notepad also and when I found Homesite (Eventually this app became the code editor in Dreamweaver) I was in heaven. An application that color codes your HTML to help you distinguish it's parts is an awesome way to code, but these tools also go further and help you learn the parameters and options that are available for each tag. Stick your curser in a <font> tag and press the space bar and you get a drop down list of all the available parameters for that tag! Select "font size" and you get a list of the available HTML size options for you to select.

This helps you code faster, it prevents mistakes in typing and it teaches you HTML as you go! There is no better way to learn in my opinion. groovicus said he has no experience with Web development and he was the only one who answered at the time, but I hope you didn't take him to know what he was talking about after he admitted he did not.

I am currently experimenting with Aptana Studio and think it is worth your looking at if you have not settled into something already.

#15 groovicus

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 05:49 PM

but I think you got some good advice from the person who suggested you learn HTML


That was what I have been saying all along. In fact, if I may quote myself:

Learn how to do everything by hand first, including forms, tables, and menus. Once you understand those, use CSS to beautify it. Once you have a handle on that, use any HTML editor that you want.

The point I made was that one ought to learn how to do code by hand first, which implies that one needs to learn the code. So in spite of your contradiction, thank you.

The idea of developing Web pages without knowing HTML is preposterous! No program, no matter how good, can do everything for you in a WYSIWYG environment. Not even Dreamweaver!

Exactly the point that I made several times. At some point, the IDE is going to fail you, and you are going to have to deal with the raw code. If you don't understand HTML, then you are going to be stuck.

I started out in Notepad also and when I found Homesite...I was in heaven

So you have the same experience that I have. You stared out doing things by hand, and then learned how an IDE to help you produce more quickly. So you started out with a base of knowledge first before experiencing the IDE. That was my point also. I also presented both schools of thought in what I thought to be a fair and unbiased manner, along with my opinion on which method I considered to be the best. At no time did I flat out claim that one way was better than another. That makes for an educational experience for all who happen to read this thread. One sided opinions allow for poor decision making.

Juha stated:

So, I should learn coding with HTML in Notepad well before using a HTML Editor

To which I replied:

I think you should, yes. Honestly, a couple of weeks of practice and you will know most of what there is to know with HTML anyway.


I teach classes where students learn both by using an IDE, and notepad. While it is true that those who use the IDE can much more quickly produce content, I find that it is superficial. The students who use a text editor produce much more slowly at first, but have a much better grasp on what it is they are doing. That is the difference between being a programmer, and just a hack.

groovicus said he has no experience with Web development

The one thing about disagreeing with someone is that one should make sure that they actually read the post before doing so. I said "Personally, I am not familiar with any HTML development environments, free or otherwise." That is quite different. I develop web content almost exclusively, and have for quite some time, and manage to make a decent enough living doing so.

but I hope you didn't take him to know what he was talking about after he admitted he did not.

I suppose before one gives that sort of warning (especially about a member of the staff), they ought to make sure that their ducks are in a row, ie, one has actually carefully read the post to understand what is going on. We are all entitled to our own opinions. Those of us that work to maintain our credibility try very carefully to present all sides. So go ahead and think I am wrong.




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