What Are Alternatives to Adobe CS5 Web Premium?

Being a retired person with little money to burn but a lot of desire to have usable tools at my disposal, what are good alternatives to the Fireworks 5 and all of the pieces that make up CS5 Web premium, such as Dreamweaver, Flash products, Photoshop, etc?

I found Coffee Cup woefully lacking even in interoperability of their products. I had a Macromedia MX Studio many years ago and found it to be at least usable, but lost the box on a move and now have no way to upgrade… so, I have to bypass Adobe products.

Any ideas? What alternatives do people here use?


JLuce, welcome to SitePoint!

You’ve landed in a community of designers who in large part are “standardistas,” and many of whom disdain WYSIWYG software such as Dreamweaver. A lot of people, including myself, will recommend a powerful text editor such as Notepad++, and plenty of time and effort learning HTML and CSS from the ground up, as it were.

I don’t know your skill level or what your ambitions are, so without knowing more all I can say is that you don’t need fancy Adobe products to learn Web design, just a couple of free tools, some well-chosen books and Web tutorials, and a good support community like this one :slight_smile: to help you through the rough spots.

It depends upon taste but you could use the GIMP for graphics, and a good place to look at is http://www.osalt.com/

Just about all of the commercial software has open source alternatives.

For Graphics, there are lots of [URL=“http://sixrevisions.com/graphics-design/10-excellent-open-source-and-free-alternatives-to-photoshop/”]alternatives.

For vector graphics (like Illustrator) there is Inkscape.

There are lots of text editors that can be used in place of Dreamweaver—some with and some without FTP capabilities. For PC there are options like Notepad++ (as mentioned), NoteTab, KompoZer, Vim, Intype, Crimson and PSP Pad (to name a few). For Mac there are Kompozer, Cyberduck, Text-wrangler and KompoZer (to name a few). For both Mac and PC there are Komodo edit, Aptana Studio and NetBeans.

For those text editors that don’t include FTP, there are plenty of free FTP programs, but one of the most popular is FileZilla.

Of course, there are some other great text editors that are pretty cheap, such as Coda or TextMate for Mac and E Text Editor for PC.

Personally I don’t think you need much more than that for web design, unless you want an alternative to Flash. I don’t know about that, although I Googled it and this Free Suite looked inneresting.

I already use notepad++ and love it.

I think my main goal is a Fireworks alternative to fast layout with CSS being generated.

I have never been able to get a handle on GIMP, my artist great-Aunt is probably spinning in her grave at my attempts at “artistic” content.

I am a software engineer by trade who never did UI, so this is a real learning curve.

Thanks everyone, I’ll follow the links!!

Now about Flash… any good alternatives to producing Flash than the high priced spread?

I see we are on the same wave length, my wife is a long time non-profit worker and I want to work with them and other folks with web needs and little money to spend.

Keep up the good “works”.

JL, you’ve been checking sig links. :slight_smile: Glad I finally got my home page looking right! With my bent towards “social consciousness” (or whatever you want to call it), and my non-professional status, non-profits and other “helping” orgs and individuals seem to me to be the way to go for my designs. Nice to meet someone of a similar mindset.


I ran an ill-fated company… Social Conscience Technologies

We took a concept of easy to use forms with a strong database back-end so that domestic violence agencies could have a central repository of all persons involved in DV, as a victim or as a perpetrator.

Everyone loved it, no one could afford the money to be spent on the use of it. I watched perps cross county lines and strike again because no one knew them and they automatically became a first time offender or victim again.

Glad to meet a fellow conscience!

Which puts it about a billion times more politely than I ever could… since the mere mention of Dreamweaver and Fireworks usually pulls from me a stream of expletives that would make a trucker blush.

Don’t know about any alternative Flash development applications, but the alternative to Flash itself. Silverlight, with a lot of the tools freely given (free as in beer) by Microsoft. But I’m sure there are tools out there for Flash I don’t don’t know of any. However, Silverlight may be a little daunting at first due to the free tools are less focused on WYSIWYG editing style, but once you figure out the XML syntax that controls the appearance…


Is that just because some people use it in Design view? It’s a pretty amazing text editor for coders. I’ve never used it in Design view—a means of web design that certainly deserves all of those trucking expletives.

When I used DW (while employed at Cisco), I insisted on working in code view, which was basically Allaire HomeSite (a very good code wrangler). No one around me could understand why I didn’t like design view. :slight_smile: I’d use HomeSite now if it were up-to-date.

What’s that cheap (as in not quite free) Flash alternative, Swish?

It’s not just the design view - the templates it comes with often use outdated/outmoded half-assed techniques like javascript for rollovers (what is this, 1998? Every time I see those “mm_” javascript functions I have the overwhelming urge to backhand someone!), the templating system (that DWT trash) insists on inserting comments that can break layouts in IE (yes, I said COMMENTS), the preview pane doesn’t actually render like any real browser - even the one it’s based on… and frankly it’s ridiculous for people to be blowing a grand or more on the functionality of filezilla, a flat text editor, and the ACTUAL browsers.

If you use any of the functionality apart from code view, you haven’t learned how to do anything correctly - if you are only using the design view you’ve thrown money away and what the blue blazes are you even using it for in the first place?

That’s the biggest problem with Dreamweaver - not only does everything outside of code view teach you how NOT to design a website, if you learn how to do it properly only using code view you don’t need it’s fat bloated slow overpriced bull in the first place! Go get any of the dozen or so programmers editors (crimson editor, notepad++, editPlus, text wrangler, gEdit), a copy of filezilla, test in the REAL browsers and not some goof assed preview pane - and learn that Alt-Tab F5 is your friend.

Besides, the best web design tool lies between your ears, not on your hard drive.

I certainly wouldn’t buy Dw for itself. But when it comes with Adobe CS, you might as well use it if you’ve got it, as it is a pretty good tool in code view.

A lot of people keep referring to donkeys in these fora… I don’t get it. :wink: (And whatever you do, don’t tell me I’m being a “smart ass”, as that’s an unacceptable oxymoron.)

Ralph, a possible answer to your confusion:slight_smile:

My boss at Cisco: You’re spending a lot of time on that template.
Me: I’m stripping out all of the trash the software (DW or, worse, FP) generated.
Boss: Why are you worrying about it? It doesn’t change how it looks on screen.
Me: It does change how it displays on screen. And besides, it’s the right way to do it.
Boss: The whole project is moving to San Jose and you’re not going.

Okay, this is a greatly telescoped version of events…

You sold it to the know-nothing suit wrong :wink: “It saves bandwidth, lowers hosting costs, loads faster, makes it accessible to more users on a variety of different devices, and will be easier to maintain in the future.” would go over a lot better. The hosting costs being the best sales technique - explain a little labor now can save them $$$ every month by needing less hosting… Speak to their wallet.

Nowadays though at least we can point at smartphones, show it to them on their blackberry, iPhone or Droid and they’ll understand what you are saying if you take the time to add a handheld.css.

Though I do hear you on that general work environment - a lot of people have a “now” attitude about stuff where they are willing to take all sorts of shortcuts and to hell with what it’s going to cost you in the future. Of course, if people had the common sense to realize they were sleazing along and/or being scammed, things like credit and insurance wouldn’t even exist. “An ounce of sweat now saves and gallon of blood later” is a concept often lost on people.

NOT that doing it properly FROM THE START without the crutch should take more time… But there’s a reason a lot of times I suggest NOT EVEN WASTING TIME trying to fix the rubbish output from those programs and start over from scratch - it’s usually simpler and faster than trying to sort out the train-wreck disasters other people vomit up and call markup.

Actually, a lot of total asses are remarkably smart - kind of like the line from the Wizard of Oz.

[i]Dorothy: How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?

Scarecrow: I don’t know… But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking… don’t they?[/i]

:lol: That’s what they specifically hired me to do. And to give you an idea of the “suit” in charge of the project, she pressed me to find a JS to provide a scrolling message in the status bar of the main sites. Something like this. She thought it was “awesome.” (: