Alternatives to Adobe stranglehold: Dreamweaver Photoshop Illustrator

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Toe, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. Toe macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    (I know this question gets asked fairly often, but since the tools constantly change, I thought it would be appropriate to ask again.)

    I have a friend who wants to start developing some web stuff, but doesn't want to fork out the huge initial investment in the standard Adobe tools (in this case, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and Photoshop).

    Can you comment on the current state of open source or low-cost tools that come close to these for an aspiring developer?

    I am overly indoctrinated in the Adobe way, but my first guess would be to recommend Gimp for bitmaps, Seamonkey or OpenOffice as (not really good) html development (and no site management tools?), and... I dunno what for line art. What can you offer that may be better/easier/more robust?
  2. Terrador macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2008
    Tell him/her to start with Joomla. It's a browser-based content management system, and there are thousands of templates on the web for it. Components and extensions galore for things like commerce and video and whatever you want. If the user knows how to manipulate js and CSS files, it's easy to customize templates to look like whatever you want.

    But eventually, you'll have to buy some software. Adobe makes the best, in my opinion. I'm learning Flash CS3 now and I'm considering going from making mainly HTML sites to mainly Flash sites because the market is growing and I find it a more...satisfying challenge.
  3. Toe thread starter macrumors 65816


    Mar 25, 2002
    Thanks, she has a CMS (this is for blogging to start, so it's likely to be WordPress), but needs to be able to add graphics to it. I guess a DW replacement isn't entirely necessary as long as she has a blog, but something for image creation and manipulation is the critical need at the moment...
  4. NoNameBrand macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2005
    Halifax, Canada
    Dreamweaver? Learn to code by "hand" in any decent text editor. I use Coda, Textwrangler (free), and VIM (free, heh heh heh).

    As for Photoshop, there are a number of low-cost raster image editors (Acorn, Pixelmator, GIMP), but I'm happy with Photoshop.

    Inkscape is a great alternative to Illustrator.
  5. That-Is-Bull macrumors 6502


    Sep 29, 2007
    Edmond, Oklahoma
  6. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    As to software:

    Dreamweaver can be replaced easily by Rapidweaver which is only $79.00 and a fraction of the cost of DW. Of course you should be *able* to code HTML/CSS via a simple text editor (BBedit), but $80.00 is not hard to part with and the features, templates and GUI are all excellent. Good GUI's save valuable time and make development efficient, even if not everyone agrees on the type.

    Flash is proprietary, of course, but aside from that here are 6 of the top third party frameworks and development tools to try.

    For graphics (i.e. not Fireworks or DreamWeaver, not iPhoto):

    PixelNhance, free,
    GraphicConverter, $30,
    Pixelmator, $59, (also recommended by NoNameBrand, I included the link and cost for you)
    Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0, $99,

    Quick comment on Photoshop CS series (the pro version) - for professional designers, this is the one piece of software any quality oriented designer should use. Period.

    For PHP based CMS's, be sure to check out OpenSourceCMS which allows free online testing, plus they also include listings to demo for blog, forum, eCommerce, Wiki and learning management software. FYI.

  7. Mr.nix macrumors member

    Jan 30, 2007
  8. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Nov 6, 2006
    Norfolk, UK
    Now I'm very much of the view that Adobe is a rip off in the UK but unfortunately due to them being the defacto software its usually best to just cough up.

    As to alternatives (and note only tried NVU) - Italics = free
    Photoshop - gimp, pixelmator (got to say this looks ideal for quick on the go editting though) or photoshop online(beta)/elements
    Illustrator - Lineform
    Dreamweaver - NVU
  9. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    Personally I wouldn't skip on Photoshop, it still is the best application out there for imagery. But with web there are plenty of alternatives that are much cheaper and do a job as good or better than Dreamweaver, personally I don't use Dreamweaver anymore...

    Photoshop Alternatives:
    - Pixelmator
    - GIMP

    - Coda
    - CSSEdit
    - Espresso
    - Forklift
    - Rapidweaver
    - Textwrangler (free)

    - Well all I can't really think of a viable alternative....
  10. Cabbit macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
    I use

    Tacohtml edit



    Image editing
    Photoshop CS3, the only free alternative i could suggest is gimp


    Test Server
  11. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Download the free Flex SDK and use it with eclipse. This allows you a free way to compile SWF files. Actionscript only tho.. if you cant program, however, you need to pay for flash's interface.
  12. torndownunit macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2009
    I'll agree with Coda and CSS edit 110%. They are fantastic. Espresso is still in the works, but it will be interesting to see how it progresses as well.

    I haven't tried many of the budget graphics applications mentioned. I am going to give them a shot. I am pretty happy with Photoshop and Illustrator, but it would be nice to find something cheaper.
  13. Terrador macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2008
    NO sir. I own both RapidWeaver and Dreamweaver and they have two totally different functions as web design software. Dreamweaver is top-to-bottom web development while RapidWeaver is not so different from WordPress. In fact, I'd use WP over RW. I'm not trying to make accusations, just need to clear this up because they most certainly do not serve the same purposes.

    And for the record I'd take Wordpress over RapidWeaver purely the for the fact that Rapidweaver crashes about 60% of the time. At least you can use WP in a browser from any computer.
  14. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    I've never had RW4 crash on me :confused:
  15. SrWebDeveloper macrumors 68000


    Dec 7, 2007
    Alexandria, VA, USA
    Terrador, I do appreciate your sentiment that features and certain functionality is different between RW and DW, that's expected comparing $79.00 to DW's hundreds more list price. I'm not disagreeing with that, but I am with the above quote and also your comments on the crashing (reliability) as it applies to the general public.

    Both DW and RW are client apps that allow top to bottom web development. Although the GUI is different, both have plugins, theme/template support and both allow integration of server side code such as PHP and HTML/CSS which is known as side by side Text/Code.

    WP is a web based blog app with a cool CMS, templates and plugins to extend the function of the basic product. One can easily make a site, but professional developers or hobbyists creating a dynamic database/code driven site from scratch have different requirements, of course and traditionally prefer client side GUI development software.

    As to reliability, thank you for expressing your opinion, but I've been using this forum for a long time and do not recall negative buzz about RW - matter of fact, it's a top award winner for Apple with a history of positive reviews from Macworld and other legitimate Mac resources. Naturally this is not to say a small percentage of users may not like the product or have issues like yours. I'm referring to overall buzz, collectively. So we'll have to disagree on that aspect.

    Thanks for posting your comments, though. I agree 100% that WP and other CMS based software is just fine for many enthusiasts out there, which I take from your tone is one of the things you wish to stress. Yep, I concur.

  16. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    This is my combo as well, I'll NEVER go back to Dreamweaver, and I hope I can always code on a Mac wherever I work.

    I just noticed Espresso 1.0 is out though, downloading now...
  17. Terrador macrumors regular

    Aug 22, 2008
    I get a little too...passionate sometimes about these things. Guess I have no life, eh? It was just the "Dreamweaver can easily be replaced by RapidWeaver" sentence that got me. Sorry for the explosion that was my rebuttle.

    I can say that for someone who doesn't want to make a career out of web design, a CMS is their best option. Out of all the ones I've tried, I recommend Joomla. Go to to download and get a lot of info on the software and all the cool plug-ins.

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