An Open Source Alternative to Dreamweaver?

I just received an email asking me just that.

I see on your site you mention about open source software like open office etc, can you recommend an opensource web design software that competes with dream weaver etc?

Well, here's my thoughts...

There isn't really an open source equivalent to Dreamweaver, but if you are after a desktop based WYSIWYG HTML editor then Kompozer is probably the better of the alternatives.

I consider website 'design' a separate activity to website 'construction', and Dreamweaver is more focused on the later. The best tools for developing design ideas are probably Photoshop and Illustrator (or Gimp and Inkscape). For the actual construction of a website there is no real need for a WYSIWYG editor if you are familiar with HTML and CSS, in which case a good text editor is all you need.

Dreamweaver has helpful templating features, but I would rather make use of a good web-based CMS such as Drupal.


Just saw your site (linked from drupal after a 'drupal drop down menu' search showed your post there as a top result) and appreciate the content, design, and execution.

I am always on the lookout for quality open-source and free programs to recommend to people or make use of and I think you explained the web design / web programmer situation concisely.

Thanks for posting!


Have you tried using Aptana Studio? I'm using it for some time now (almost a year) but I never touched the wysiwyg option so I've got no idea about how well it competes with Dreamweaver.

And I agree with Drupal, I usually go with Joomla tho or Wordpress for small projects.

I'm in total agreement with your comment about Dreamwaver, but sort of baffled by the Drupal vs. Dreamwaver comment.

I've thought that CMS was worth it if you have many cooks in the kitchen (after launch, of course). Multiple sources of content = a big bottleneck for the developer, unless the users can serve themselves.

But if the content is static, or the changes are infrequent at best, does one really need the overhead and burden of using Drupal?

"But if the content is static, or the changes are infrequent at best, does one really" ... expect anyone to visit the website?

the one most like dreamweaver is Nvu found at

you need a web authoring system to create the website and build in CMS, with drupal and joomla they are very boxy and Nvu all look the same. Dreamweaver has plugins that allow independent design for these frameworks and also other cms systems.
for other open source CMS systems see


I disagree that a text editor is a good replacement for Dreamweaver if only for simple things like code coloring and tag hinting. The former makes it much easier to find specific bits of code and the latter saves quite a lot of typing.

Now if there was an open source equivalent that could do both those things I'd be in.

Hi Dave,

When I mentioned that a good text editor could be used for constructing HTML/CSS I had in mind support for syntax highlighting and tag hinting.

I use Kwrite/Kate (cross-platform, but designed for KDE/Linux), but there are plenty of alternatives:

- Notepad++ (windows only)
- Bluefish (cross platform)
- Jedit (cross platform)

Or more advanced programming IDEs:
- Komodo Edit
- Aptana
- Eclipse/PDT