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Programming IT Technology

Linux IDE For Web Developers? 33

bethorphil asks: "I'm a web developer at a company that concentrates on Coldfusion and Javascript for our applications. I've managed to subvert my workstation to the point where I'm using Linux 80% of the time, yet I'm still stuck with windows for certain aspects of development which are too time consuming without a nice IDE. I need FTP and RDS support integrated into the editor, and it would be nice if javascript debugging were available too. I haven't had much luck running ColdFusion Studio or Dreamweaver through WINE, and VMWare is too expensive. Several of my coworkers have expressed an interest in this too, so I'm pretty sure that a week after I find the right setup, the whole development team will blow away their windows partitions and join the rebel forces... :-) Does anyone have any suggestions?"
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Linux IDE For Web Developers?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    fully extensible using a widely-known language

    What ekthtenthible language, Lithp? I hate Lithp with a pathion. I only uth thee. I wanna know what bathtad thought that the word 'lithp' should have an eth in it. It pitheth me off!
  • I'm a web developer at a company that concentrates on Coldfusion and Javascript for our applications. I've managed to subvert my workstation to the point where I'm using Linux 80% of the time, yet I'm still stuck with windows

    You did know they were a Cold Fusion shop when you were hired, right? Which means NT or maybe Solaris. So what's the problem here?

  • I'm not quite sute what you mean by FTP support integrated into the editor but emacs has nearly everything in it, including support for FTP (ange-ftp) and web browsing. Somehow I doubt whatever you're working on will be viewable in a text web broswer though.

  • UserVFS [] is perfect for mapping ftp (and other odd items) into the Unix filesystem. It so nice using Unix tools on Zope files.

  • Many companies don't want to know anything about Linux (even when their employees have seen the light), so they would see this as an unnecessary expense.

    I agree that it would be a trivial expense. It would even be cheaper to just buy the thing than to pay for the time taken for a developer to argue the case! But management and bean-counters don't seem to view the world rationally. :-)
  • IBM have a product that they used to call TopPage and is now called WebSphere []. It may not provide all the professional functionality that you need, but it would be worth a look anyway. I tried it on some pages a few months ago, and it was quite useable (though I'm no web designer, and I prefer raw html).

    They've ported it from Windows using Wine. Unfortunately, to guarantee that the libraries will remain consistent they needed to distribute their own wine libraries (Doh!). They've also chosen to distribute as RPMs. Not really a big deal, but it can be annoying for those of us who use Debian.

    The downside is that it costs $69 (which doesn't seem too bad to me) and of course it is closed source (but then, so are your other GUI options). There's a 60 day trial available for download so you can see if it is suitable before buying it.

  • Holy crap, that's neat.
  • Hm.... your security? Heh... Maybe you should submit it as an Ask Slashdot??
  • Just buy an X server for your Win32 desktops and run the Linux apps off a server. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face (TM). I use Hummingbird Exceed, and it works very well, including the native cut and paste translate.
  • I love my Visual Slickedit. It is'nt wysiwyg but it has some great features. When you type a < it pops up a list of all the start tags... whichever one you highlight, it gives you a description of the tag, and how it is used. You either choose what you like, or continue typing. It supports this pop-up documentation for PHP, Javascript, HTML tags, Cascading Style sheets, Python....
    ...pretty much every language I use for web development.

    You get the best of both worlds... You don't have to remember the tags, or have to continuously look things up, and at the same time you know exactly what you are doing.

    You can use the Beautify tool to make sure everything is properly nested... It indents nested tags just like indented blocks of code in C... so you can instantly tell when you have a <Atag> <Btag> </Atag> </Btag> situation.

    It will automatically bring up the page you are editing in the browser of your choice too. It is completely cross-platform. I go back and forth between Windows and Linux without thinking twice.

    I use the same tool to write my Java Servlets, and with a quick Ctrl-M (and a little help from the Ant tool from the Apache-Jakarta project) and my (complex) project is created, and deployed to my test environment. Any errors that are reported show up an an 'Output' window, where I can double click on the file name to jump to the source. Whenever library source is available, you can have Visual Slickedit 'tag' the files. I can move my cursor to any Java function or class and hit Ctrl-. to jump to the source (which includes the comprehensive documentation with java)

    You can open a file on an FTP site as if it was local, and when you do File, Save it does the PUT. I use this constantly to make quick updates to web pages that were originally created with Front Page.

    It integrates beautifully with CVS and MS Visual Source safe... even better integration than in Visual Studio in my opinion.

    When it comes to Javascript debugging... you _really_ have to try all sorts of different browsers on different platforms (Damn that Mac OS9.0) Still, with the Browser integration, it is effortless... I gleefully pay the $100 / year or so to keep up with the latest releases.

    Don't bother with the eval... just pay up.
  • VMWare express [], US$79.00. You can only run Win9x, and it can't be from an existing partition.

    As for the Windows license, he already has one, since he is already dual-booting to use the windows tools he needs to.

    You only need the full workstation product if you need one of the additional features like WinNT/2k support, or booting from raw disks.

  • How can VMware be too expensive? US$79 for a version that will do what you want on linux. If a company can't afford to buy you that, how can it afford to pay your salary?

    I mean, dreamweaver 4 costs US$299 per license, coldfusion US$495. If the company is complaining about another $80, when you are definitely billed out at more than that per _hour_, something is messed up.

    Jason Pollock
  • Try Konqueror []. It was fairly flaky in KDE 2.0, but has become remarkably mature, speedy and stable as of KDE 2.1. It renders output that is very close to that of Internet Explorer, and has a lot of cool features to boot. I have had good luck using it to approximate what sites are going to look like in IE. NS 4.7, which has served me well over the years, is now hopelessly obsolete.

  • This is what I do, I have to keep windows around for IE, Dreamweaver, whatever else I need for creating, testing and maintaining my sites. But I ssh into my linux box (the one with the actual server on it) and do any real programming, tinkering and adjusting using vi. You can set up a mount point on the windows machine that points to your document root on your linux machine.

    I do believe I will look into the VMware alternative though, if anyone could be nice enough to let me know if it is stable and what the pro's and con's are I would appreciate it.

    I could free up another box then, maybe put that new mandrake on it.

  • it is point and clickity if you choose to use Xemacs.. and i feel that xemacs surpasses the emacs effort to port it to X .. now if they juss had a PHP mode.. or HTML mode for web programming. you could really use it for web programming.. ermm.. does anybody know if it supports embedded Perl ??

    Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy and wealthy and dead.
  • Just go to someplace like [] a search for "vmware 2.0.3 linux" to find a crack for it. :-) oh, and forget vmware if you have less than a 450 Mhz processor and 128 meg of ram.

    Or if you don't want to be an evil warez dood, just use something like vim/emacs for code editing. If you don't use raw code for sites anyway, well, linux ain't the OS for you. The JS debugging thing y ou can sort of mimic by turning on the javascript console in Netscape (javascript:console as a url in 4.x, maybe the same way in mozilla)

    News for geeks in Austin: []
  • the only problem with sarcasm is that most people are too stupid to understand it

    News for geeks in Austin: []
  • There's also Win4Lin as well (look it up on Google, can't remember the URL offhand). Supposedly VERY good. Allows you to run Win natively under Linux. Only problem is you have to have a Windows install disk for it. Supports everything but DirectX from what I've heard.


  • We have the same problem. All our web guys use Windows so that they can use Dreamweaver, Flash tools etc and of course to check sites in IE.
    Of course you are right, if you have some really hairy Javascript to debug, you need to do it in the Netscape Javascript Debugger - the MS one is the biggest pile of toss on the planet. Now why can't Netscape release it for Linux? Anyway, my solution is to run VMWare - yes, it costs dosh, but it more than pays for itself over having to have a separate Win box. One option you could try, is to set up one big VMWare server and have everyone who needs Windows connect to it. Or a Citrix box. Or something else that can serve Windows over the network. I do tend to agree that using Dreamweaver and suchlike is fine for beginners, but once you really start doing twiddly bits, you have to get in and edit the code by hand, so you might as well write it by hand from the start. YMMV.
  • Try out MMM (Multiple Major Mode) at []
    From the page :
    " MMM Mode is an emacs add-on package providing a minor mode that allows Multiple Major Modes to coexist in one buffer. It is particularly well-suited to editing embedded code or code that generates other code, such as Mason or Embperl server-side Perl code, or HTML output by CGI scripts. It is written and maintained by Michael Abraham Shulman ."
    I guess that it's probably possible to find (or hack) something to use it with PHP.
  • I agree with StandardDeviant. NS 4.x is very different from the other browsers. Especially NS 4.x for Linux. This is why I develop all of my html and javascript in Linux. You can pretty much be assured that if netscape renders html properly, then Mozilla and IE will.

    Javascript is a completely different story. I usually end up doing my initial Javascript coding and checking/debugging in Linux/Netscape. Eventually, I turn things to Windows and use IE, because the Javascript can be interpreted completely different. Mozilla still doesn't run some Javascript properly, and I'm sticking with JavaScript 1.1.

  • Supports everything but DirectX from what I've heard.

    You forgot a few things:

    • Scrollwheel mouse
    • Cut'n'paste between host and guest
    • Win95/98 only (no NT)
    • USB, DVD, PCMCIA (must be done through host)

    Don't get me wrong, I use it every day as I believe it is faster than VMWare and I can customize my screen size (960x768 gives me my wharf on the right side). The networking hack is very poor and its biggest flaw, IMO. It would have been MUCH better just to emulate a network device and require a seperate IP for the guest like VMWare. I get no Network Neighbourhood, no ICMP and flaky TCP/UDP. DreamWeaver's FTP client crashes under Win4Lin.

    Don't tell me to use Samba and mount under Linux. That's hokey as hell and doesn't solve some of my Windows Networking problems.

    Win4Lin also uses the host filesystem (the windows filesystem is just a subdirectory). This is great and terrible at the same time.

  • I have been using bluefish [] for some time now, and I am very impressed. Although the authors says it is not finished yet, I have had no problems using it, it is very stable, and feature packed.

    Cut n' paste from their web page:


    • A What You See Is What You Need interface
    • Nice wizards for startup, tables, frames, and others
    • Dialogs for all HTML 4 tags that have a lot of options
    • HTML toolbar and tearable menu's
    • Open any URL directly from the web, or using drag and drop, etc.
    • Fully featured image insert dialog
    • Thumbnail creation and automatically linking of the thumbnail with the original image
    • A custom menu, specify your own tags or sets of code, and define your own dialogs
    • Project management, link management, etc.
    • Per project customized default dialog settings
    • Reference for PHP3, PHP4, SSI and RXML (over 900 functions referenced)
    • Preview options for dynamic HTML
    • One of the most complete CSS dialogs
    • Syntax highlighting with configurable regular expressions
    • A nice configuration dialog, customizable shortcut keys
    • A very powerful search and replace dialog, allowing regular expressions
    • WML support (WAP enabled websites)
    • Preview window (experimental)
  • Oh, and I forgot: It is GPL :-)
  • I didn't see anyone else mention it, so I will. komodo [] from active state is still really beta, but it may be heading in hte direction you want.

    Personally, I believe emacs is still the best choice of an editor, IDE, and all the other stuff you need in this situation.

    All your event [] are belong to us.

  • I've tried a number of web development environments for Linux, and have finally settled on Quanta [] for KDE.

    v2.0 is supposed to have some IDE features, as opposed to v1.0 which is basically just an HTML editor very much like Cold Fusion Studio. Although v2.0 is in the release candidate stages, I haven't had had time to try it yet. I dunno if it will include any Javascript debugging features.

    I doubt it can be made to work with RDS... but I have used it successfully in the past to work on Cold Fusion sites hosted on NT servers, by using the smbmount utility included with Samba to mount a share on the remote NT server.

    I highly recommend that you check it out.

  • Forgot to mention this last night... RDS is also a HUGE security hole on ColdFusion based systems and Should not be used in a production evironment. For the happy hackers out there RDS runs over port 80, listening for a username and password to authenticate. the default username unless the site is using Advanced Security services is 'ra' (short for remote administrator). So then with a tool like dsniff [], you can go and grab the password and be on your way. What you probably don't realize, is that once you have the password you have the equivalent to root on a win box (not sure about linux) all drive letters are available, and you can edit, delete, modify _any_ system file at will. Learned about this from the training people at FigLeaf [] in DC
  • by giberti ( 110903 )
    Just so you know (as I'm sure you do) RDS is an prop. allaire format, try letting allaire know that you want their dev. tools on Linux, they made the leap and made CF4.5 available on linux, but no development IDE... Write a letter, perhaps Jeremy Allaire and the rest of the crew over there will stop playing with the Macromedia merger and work on creating some solid tools for the Linux WebDev crowd. I know I would apreciate it too.
  • Oh my god! No one else has mentioned this? Staroffice comes with a complete web editor.. it's called, originally enough, StarOffice Web. All the nice fancy 'click-me' IDE stuff, no one wants to use emacs anymore, sorry.. That's what advancements in technology are for. :) (Ooo... going to be some burns on that one... I'm just kidding, guys). Anyways, check out StarOffice! It's free, it kicks ass, it runs on Linux just fine! Plus it's only 100megs and includes a write, calculator program, drawing program, presentation program, scheduler, mail, database... the list goes on. Anyways, I used to used frontpage, then dreamweaver.. now I use StarOffice. Another nice thing about SO Web is that ftp access is integrated.. just click on the FTP site on the left, and drag your local files up from a local explorer to the remote one. Click click click... (Author is in no way affiliated with Sun Microsystems(tm)).
  • Basically, NS 4.x is so different from the most commonly used web browser (IE of course) that testing the site with the browser you're clients will be using may well be what keeps you on win32. In addition to the obvious and extremely large differences in the DHTML arena, NS and particularly NS on linux just render shit differently. If your site designs are to a very tight tolerance in terms of appearance, this could become a huge pain in the ass.

    Then again there is vmware to use IE. Or run it under wine. Or have the graphic designers/user interface designers stay on windows while the middle/back-end code monkeys move to linux.

    News for geeks in Austin: []
  • That's what it what was written for, and it's pretty good.
    - "one-button" compilation,without moving your hands off the keyboard
    - integrated debugger (of your choice)
    - integrated source-browser (for instance, the id-tools: mkid, gid, aid, lid, etc).
    - integrated FTP (ange-ftp)
    - integrated web-browsing
    - fully extensible using a widely-known language
    - integrated source-control (rcs,cvs,perforce,cml,whatever)

    It may not be point-n-clickity, but you're a programmer for god's sake, not a luser. Bite the bullet, face the learning curve, you'll be a better geek for it.
  • by lal ( 29527 ) on Saturday March 10, 2001 @04:14AM (#373083)
    I'm a web developer (php, perl, mysql) also, and I use a Linux box running a Windows emulator. I've used VMWare and Win4Lin as the emulator. Here's the breakdown:

    Win4Lin Pluses: Cheaper and Faster than VMWare.
    Win4Lin Minuses: Must patch the kernel (or install patched kernel from RPM)

    VMWare Pluses: Can run OSes other than Win9X in VMWare Pro (e.g., Linux on Linux to test installations). No kernel change required.
    VMWare Minuses: Slower than Win4Lin and more expensive.

    I use Win4Lin now, mainly to check pages in IE. My IDE of choice is Emacs.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.