Asp4Hs: Why use HomeSite for ASP? (or PHP)

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You may be asking why I'm bothering to build this site or why anyone would want to use HomeSite for Active Server Pages (ASP) development, especially when MS Visual Interdev exists as a relatively mature tool designed specifically for ASP development.

There are actually quite a few good reasons to consider HomeSite for ASP, or for PHP which is very similar.

  1. HomeSite is widely considered to be the best code-based (as opposed to WYSIWYG) HTML editor available for the PC platform. It provides a fast, mature editing environment and a user interface second to none for HTML editing plus a strong set of supporting integrated tools.

  2. From the beginning, HomeSite has been designed to allow and encourage extension of most of its features. This was partly to help keep up with the constantly changing world of HTML, but also to allow users to customize it to how they work and code. Some of the features that can be extended include:

    This design for extension provides many areas where users can create simple or complex add-on's to support their preferred languages and coding styles, including ASP, vbscript and jscript. These add-on's may be easily shared with others, as this site demonstrates.

  3. HomeSite is a code-based editor. This means that, unlike WYSIWYG-style editors, it doesn't change your code. It has various aids which can help you enter or format code, but they are all optional.

  4. HomeSite is easy to learn. It has an intuitive interface and good documentation that will help you to be up and productive your first day of use, yet it offers advanced features that you can learn and use when you're ready.

  5. Many web developers are used to the HomeSite editing environment and like to continue to use it as they move to ASP coding rather than move to a new tool.

  6. As Bart Gerardi says (in his ASPToday article below), HomeSite it can be used as a code editor for many technologies, allowing you to transport it from one language to another, Microsoft-related or not. Allaire and various users have provided syntax coloring parsers and other tools to support a variety of technologies including ASP, ColdFusion, HTMLscript, Javascript, JSP, PHP, Perl, SQL and more.

  7. HomeSite has integrated tools that greatly simplify many common web development tasks. These include code validation, link checking, document weight, spell checking, code cleanup (Codesweeper and HTML Tidy) and a powerful search and replace function. In fact, the extended search & replace can do either normal or regular expression finds or s&r's across a great many files very quickly. Most of these tools can work across sets of either all open files, a directory (or dir tree), or a project.

  8. Other external tools can be integrated with HomeSite in a number of ways. Some tools that work well with HomeSite include the CSE HTML Validator, HTML Tidy, Topstyle CSS Editor, and Linkbot.

  9. Macromedia/Allaire, the producers of HomeSite, are extremely responsive to suggestions and requests from users. The forums are very active and most of the current features and implementation of HomeSite, from major features to minute details, can be traced back to user requests or discussions.

  10. HomeSite's Snippets feature gives developers a way to keep sets of organized bits of code or text for quick reuse. For team development, HomeSite provides shared snippets sets in addition to the private snippets.

  11. Since ASP or PHP files must be be passed through a webserver before they are generally viewable in a browser, it is often difficult to view them in an editor. HomeSite provides Server Mappings that let you pass files through a webserver before they are shown in the internal viewer. This is useful not only for ASP, but also for other technologies such as SSI, PHP or any server-side execution.

  12. HomeSite can interface to a wide range of standard source and version control applications to provide this essential function for either team or individual development projects. It also has powerful and flexible project management functionality.

  13. Cost-wise, HomeSite is quite inexpensive compared to it's competitors, a factor which can be important for small developers, beginners or home users as well as in larger corporate environments.

So... are you using HomeSite for ASP or PHP yet?
If not, why not?
Tell me your reasons either way.
-- Jeff Wilkinson

Just as a note, I've been told there was an ASPwire instant poll survey (in 1999?) that had the following question and answer: Which editor do you use to develop ASP?
     Visual Interdev:39% HomeSite:21% Notepad:17% ASP Xpress:10% Other:12%
If anyone has a copy or link, please let me know.

Other References:

Code-based (text) editors vs. WYSIWYG editors for HTML:

A Few Reviews: