Many of you know that I have had a torrid love affair with HomeSite for last several years. She's one lady that I just can't seem to tear myself away from. Perhaps she has ruined me for other editors? Not sure. I know that every time I want to move on with my life, I just can't seem to find anything better. For the last few weeks, I have been trying to use DreamWeaver CS3 on Windows Vista Home Edition and I have to say that it has added a lot of friction to my development process. Now, I am not sure if the problem is just DreamWeaver or if its that I'm using it on Windows Vista (which is a horrid operating system); but, whatever is causing the problem, its driving me crazy and if it weren't for some existing development environment conditions, I would slip right back into the warm arms of my HomeSite.
For starters, it takes time to save an existing document. I am a habitual saver. Just about every time that I stop typing, I instinctively hit CTRL+S. Normally, this wouldn't cause a problem, but in DreamWeaver, there is often a small "freeze" time while the file is saving in which I cannot continue typing or switch documents. This can be anywhere from half a second to upwards of 3 to 4 seconds. What the hell is it doing? Just save the file! This has turned me from someone who saves constantly into someone who has to purposefully NOT save so as not to slow down my typing. (HomeSite on Vista does NOT demonstrate this behavior).
Then, as part of the development process which you are all familiar with, there is a lot of quick flipping between DreamWeaver and the browser. You know the drill: code, save, alt-tab, refresh, alt-tab, code, repeat. Normally, not a problem; however, when re-focusing the DreamWeaver application, again, I get this "freeze" time while DreamWeaver seems to be thinking. What could it possibly be thinking about? I am working on a network folder so its not like its looking at a remote server? I can't imagine it has to refresh the tree every time I refocus the application? This freeze time can last anywhere from 1 to 20 seconds (yeah, I said 20 seconds!!!) in which I cannot do anything. (HomeSite on Vista does NOT demonstrate this behavior).
I am a huge keyboard user. I don't like going to the mouse as it hurts my wrist. As such, I use a lot of CTRL+Left Array and CTRL+Right Array to skip quickly over larger chunks of text. Unfortunately, DreamWeaver doesn't really work well in this capacity because it stops at too many delimiting characters. For example, let's say I have a comment tag:
<!--- Comment. --->
In HomeSite, starting at the left it would take 5 CTRL+Right Arrow clicks to move past that. In DreamWeaver, it takes 11 CTRL+Right Arrow clicks to move past that comment. That's over double the number of clicks! Insanity. And it's not just comments, it's all over the place. DreamWeaver doesn't really understand what a "logical code token" is and how to efficiently jump over them. The CTRL+Arrow keys pretty much don't add any usability to the application.
Then there's Spell Check. In HomeSite, you can run spell check on any kind of document at any time. In DreamWeaver, not only have I run into times when spell check was not an active option, DreamWeaver seems to only be able to run spell check in "Design" mode, not in code mode. This is simply retarded. On one hand, I can sort of see what they were going for - only spell checking the stuff that the end user will see, but come on - should you ever have a case where you STOP the developer from running spell check if he or she wants to? That's just poor application design in which the application has explicitly decided that it wants to be the limiting factor.
Then there's a bunch of tiny things like turning on and off word wrap or splitting the screen into two different code views (not code/design view, but two independent code views); in HomeSite, these are buttons that were always immediately available on the left hand side of the screen. In DreamWeaver, the word wrap is nested in like 2 or 3 drop down menus, and splitting the code view, heck, I'm not even sure if I figured out how to do that.
And don't even get me started on the monstrosity of the single folder/file tree vs. the split folder/file tree in HomeSite!
I could go on, but the fact is, the above mentioned ways in which DreamWeaver has slowed me down as a programmer has already made this an unusable development application. It has made me a less productive developer; it has gotten in my way. I am in the process of setting up a development environment in which I can use HomeSite again. I just have to bear down and muscle through it until then.