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Old 04-02-2003, 08:48 AM   #1
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Web development on Linux

Hi all

<-- Utter n00b.

Have finally had it with Windows. Bravely (or stupidly) ditched it a couple of days ago in favour of Linux (currently using RH8, and trialing Debian Woody ).

I am a web developer. My mainstay is in consultancy -> idea development, planning, project management, implementation. When the goings not so good I code (mainly .php web applications), when the goings even worse, I do the graphics as well (I'm not that bad ).

I have been using phpEd (soysal, pre Nusphere), Dreamweaver MX, WS_FTP, Photoshop, Flash (mx), Fireworks (sometimes slicker than PS), Topstyle (absolutely unbeaten on Windows for .css development) and a program called "Snag It" for screen capture.

All of the above are essential tools for me, and now I'm lost at sea! .

I have thus far mustered the following:

The Gimp: It's going to take something of a learning curve, but I can see this as a viable replacement to Fireworks mx and Photoshop. But I have a few questions for users...

* Not that I do it often (almost never), but can you create animated gifs with it?
* Have you noticed any major "missing" features when tested against Photoshop (assuming of course you're familiar with that too).

Looks like it could compete with phpEd, and maybe even DW, but am I missing a trick - is there something better on the market?

Effectively, if I become more comfortable with the above tools, I can see me being a happy web developer. However, I really am going to miss "TopStyle" and "Snag IT".

What Topstyle offers is too broad to explain if you haven't tried it, the website is here:

Snag It is basically a screen capture program. Easy to replace I hear you cry. Where it excells is in it's configurable output (printer, bmp, program), input (you can focus on active window, whole screen, section ect), "hotkeys" and, the creme de la creme for me, the fact that it will "scroll" an active window and present an entire shot (enormously handy for presenting web pages that "go over the fold".

What are people using and can anyone offer advice?

Sorry for the huge n00b question, I'm afraid you may suffer one or two more, but I will help out in any areas I can

Old 04-02-2003, 08:54 AM   #2
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Birmingham, UK
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Welcome to Linux and TheOriginalH!

This is largely a lacking area with Linux I believe. Badly needed apps there.

I believe you can create animated gifs with gimp. There is another enhanced version called film gimp which may better suit your needs.

Have a look around for the other things - that's where you'll find approximations of those apps.
Old 04-02-2003, 09:24 AM   #3
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: Florence, AL
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I have not been able to find suitable replacements for Dreamweaver, Flash, or fireworks . Most of the software available is for hand coding of web pages. I used hand coding when I first designed web pages and do not want to go back to it.

As for WS-FTP, igloo ftp pro and gftp with gnome are suitable replacements.

The GIMP is a very suitable replacement for web graphics in my opinion.

But with all that said, I feel, as a windows to linux (and mac osx convert) that the area severely lacking on desktop linux is the availability of programs for wysiwyg html editing. This is one reason that I have to keep windows XP and dual boot my machine.
Old 04-02-2003, 09:32 AM   #4
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Have a look at the links for some of the sites to browse when looking for software.
Old 04-02-2003, 09:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for responses guys

hmmm - Bugger . That's the conclusion I had sort of come to after quite extensive googling, but was hoping I may be missing out on some secret holy grail ...

I'm quite happy hand-coding as I code to xhtml 1.1 strict standard. Tables are a thing of the past so some of the wysiwyg features are superflous nowadays anyway. Not having in-built local server testing and really good code references and libraries I am going to find something of a pain. The doctypes being old-hat I suppose will be configurable, but the accessibility checking features, code validation etc (well, the list is endless really) are going to make my workflow drag a little ....

Flash is a problem. It is a rarity for me, but there is the odd-job where it's required (and the budget/level doesn't requre outsourcing).

The screen capture is something that I really can't do without though. I spose I could try "Wining" it (an alien concept I've yet to meet), but would really prefer to use linux apps rather than a fudge.

Thanks for welcome as well, I suspect you'll be seeing a bit of me - next stop, getting onto the damn net with my linux box. I'm having to post from a Win machine @ work at the moment, but that's another thread (and some trawling through old ones)..

One other Q: Have just remembered "Bluefish" which I tried a while ago (in an "experimental" pre "the plunge" phase), how does it rate against Quanta - any preferences?

Last edited by TheOriginalH; 04-02-2003 at 09:41 AM.
Old 04-02-2003, 10:11 AM   #6
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Originally posted by TheOriginalH
I'm quite happy hand-coding as I code to xhtml 1.1 strict standard. Tables are a thing of the past so some of the wysiwyg features are superflous nowadays anyway.
Glad someone else out there is doing this I'm a hard-core hand-coder when it comes to HTML/XHTML. I wouldn't let some other program write all my C++ for me, and I won't let one write my HTML either. Too many unknown factors. With a good editor (Vim being my preference) with syntax highlighting, hand-coding is a breeze anyway. Far easier to troubleshoot than any WYSIWYG editor would make it.

The doctypes being old-hat I suppose will be configurable, but the accessibility checking features, code validation etc (well, the list is endless really) are going to make my workflow drag a little...
I have always gotten by pretty well with a combination of off-line validators (such as HTML Tidy, which hits most of the syntactical and some accessibility issues), and free online-validation services such as the w3c Validator and WDG Link Valet. Of course there is a CLI version of Tidy for Linux!

As for your questions about GIMP - I've found GIMP to be a great Photoshop replacement. To date, the only serious weaknesses I see in it are:

1. Lack of pre-print capabilities (which is irrelevant for web development anyway), CMYK, etc.
2. Poor text capabilities. This might be fixed in the newer betas, but the current stable version's text-editing abilities seem pretty lousy (unless I'm just doing it wrong)

Screenshot software... I'm not too sure about that. GIMP has a simple integrated screengrabber (for full-screen or windows only). Check out Freshmeat, there may be something like what you describe. Not something I do too often, though, so I can't be of much help there.
Old 06-28-2003, 11:20 AM   #7
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Have you tried Wine ( It lets you run windows apps in Linux (the website even mentions Photoshop, Acrobat and Dreamweaver). I have the same problems you do (web developer switching over). I have installed a couple of windows apps with Wine but haven't tried them out yet.

I like the way Linux is set up for PHP, MySQL and such. It will help me on getting up and running pretty easy, I think.

Hope this helps.
Old 06-28-2003, 10:20 PM   #8
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I bought Win4Lin 5 emulator($89) to run Dreamweaver and a custom database for my business. So why run win in linux you ask?, well I paid good money for these excellent products and don't fancy slowing down production to introduce alternatives that will create new problems. Plus time is also a factor, right now W4L just works and they have excellent customer support. I love Linux and wish I could be 100% MS free, but for now I will stick to this solution.
Old 07-02-2003, 05:27 AM   #9
Ian Fleeton
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Quanta Plus has recently been put into the main KDE bundle of applications and the developer list on that is busy. I'm using it at the moment for my work.

The lack of WYSIWYG is no problem at all, especially with CSS and the growing spread of platforms. New releases are every couple of months but you can try building it yourself with some of the experimental features.

I bought Studio MX but the dwt templates and WYSIWYG features are not as useful as they used to be. WYSIWYG is a misnomer because web pages will and should look different depending on the visitor, platform and choice of browser. More web sites are going to be built on the fly, customised by the user.

(X)HTML coding nowadays is much simpler with less hacks and code editors are using autocomplete and syntax highlighting to make typing very productive.

I like Quanta. And there's some buzz about something visual coming soon...


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