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Suggestions for Linux Web Development Software Apps

Posted on 2000-03-22
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I'm interested in recommendations of Linux-based, Open Source software
for the following applications:

1. HTML WYSIWYG editor.

2. Web (site) development/maintenance applications (ex.: In the Windows world, Cold Fusion and FrontPage)

In lieu of Open Source solutions, please suggest Linux shareware or
commercial software products (especially those written in Java!) that would enable web site development and maintainance under Linux.

P.S. - As Allaire is only providing 1/2 of a solution presently for Linux (i.e., Studio V4.5) I am not considering Cold Fusion as a Linux development solution (CF for Linux is 1/2 of a solution thus far ;-) )
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Question by:JimIntriglia
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by:cheekycj
ID: 2645437
Depends on what your goals are?

CJ
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by:JimIntriglia
ID: 2650481
Goals are two-fold:

1) Find a good Linux-based WYSIWYG HTML editor to enable me to bang out a web page quickly when I don't have the luxury of doing HTML with NotePad.

2) Find a web development software application, Linux-based again, that is on par with Cold Fusion or FrontPage web development applications.
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by:cheekycj
ID: 2651336
Have you checked out Some of the linux packages such as WebSphere Studio for Linux (by IBM)

CJ
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kiffney earned 200 total points
ID: 2653786
As far as cold-fusion-like web application servers, a lot of people like php (www.php.net) but I personally have been using Zope (www.zope.org).  Both are free and run on linux, solaris, etc.  Zope is pretty amazing - it's got a fairly steep learning curve, and it helps to know the scripting language python (www.python.org) on which it's based (but python is SO MUCH EASIER than perl to learn).  It integrates very easily with many databases (including ODBC), and once you get it set up I think it's extremely easy to maintain interesting, interactive systems - discussion systems, collaborative projects, calendars, etc, have all been written for it.  And it has a sophisticated security model so you can delegate certain areas to other people to manage.  It took me a month to figure out enough of zope to do what I want, but I'm a slow learner sometimes, and now that I can use it I would never switch.

I don't know about wysiwig editors - but Netscape Communicator for Linux has a simple one (very simple - probably not very useful).  If you find one let us know.
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by:cheekycj
ID: 2655389
Python and php etc are server side scripting languages and are not application servers.  Cold Fusion is a server side scripting language but it is bundled in a application server that provides clustering, load balancing, fail overs, etc.  It is much more powerful- its CF Studio lets you integrate and develop on a common platform and integrates with SCM software for revision control.

that is why I suggested websphere because it has a very powerful team development environment and a complete J2EE compliant application server.

CJ
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by:kiffney
ID: 2655919
Yes, python is a scripting language, but I was talking mainly about Zope, which is an application server like Cold Fusion.  Check it out.  And Cold Fusion is not open source.
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by:cheekycj
ID: 2660762
Open source is good but highly overrated.  Also, it means support is difficult to find, when developing/deploying a project you need to make sure that support is available in an instant such as provided by IBM and Allaire, etc.

Another option is Sybase's EAServer.

One thing to keep in mind is that CF is moving to J2EE compliance as is EAServer and WebSphere- this is a key move by the respective companies in trying to make their systems more universal and scalable.

CJ
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by:kiffney
ID: 2661246
It may be that commercial web server software is 'better' than open source in the sense that there may be more features and better documentation.  But I do have to laugh at the idea that support is available 'in an instant' for any of those systems.  I've myself paid many dollars for emergency top flight IBM engineering support that was unable to complete what turned out to be a pretty simple network integration trick, and for 'next day service' that turned out to be 'week after next service'.  It is easy to kid yourself that 'commercial support' will deliver what it promises.  The only promise they will DEFINITELY fulfill is subtracting from your bank account.  

But what do you do when something goes badly wrong and you need to fix it fast?  Can you run WebSphere/CF/EAServer under your debugger and trace exactly where the problem is and fix it yourself?  No, you cannot; all you can do is call Technical Support and hope for the best (in my experience, often a waste of time).  What happens when you need to extend your platform or modify its behavior in a certain way?  Can you do that with any of those commercial, closed-source products? No, sir.  If you add some neat new capability to Zope, you can contribute that back to the user base and others will benefit.  Zope is a really impressive web application development environment that is free, and it shouldn't be scorned because it is free.
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by:cheekycj
ID: 2661439
OK. not to get into an argument.. I don't scorn free products/services but I do not like developing on an application server or on any product that doesn't have a Customer Support Service that is accessible to me when I need it (BTW: I have had some really good experiences with IBM- but that may be because my company is a Gold Member)

When we scope out a design for a system one of the first things we check is that the software we want to use has full customer support (no matter what the cost) because if you cant get proper support for a product then deployment can be delayed.

You make a good point about debugging but I am developer not a debugger when I rely on a software product, I hope to god I am just debugging my code not the software product itself, otherwise my eval of the software was not good enough.  As far as debugging your own code, all the App servers have debuggers built in for that.

CJ
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by:kiffney
ID: 2664548
I hear what you're saying about evaluating the software, but I've found that the real evaluation comes after you've committed to a product (having done the best evaluation you can) and then you get BIT by something you could never have forseen until you're way deep into it.  

And I'm not saying IBM has always let me down - I'm just saying that even though my former company paid them many hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, there were times when they simply couldn't do what they said they could do, and WE had to fix it ourselves.  You and I might not be the best debuggers in the world, but competent C/C++ programmers who CAN run a debugger are all around, and with an open source server can find the problem and fix it.  That's what I mean by support - where you're not at the mercy of a giant corporation that knows they have you by the short hairs.
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by:cheekycj
ID: 2664804
Thats true, point noted :-)

JimIntriglia: Did you get info or have more questions.

CJ

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Author Comment

by:JimIntriglia
ID: 2664936
Kiffney and Cheekyci - thanks for your posts. Your suggestions and dialog provided food for thought and enabled me to develop a migration strategy (from Window web development to Linux web development platform).

I'll share what I've learned since I posted this question, as well as my plan for migrating to a Linux-based web development platform.

1) It seems that the Amaya browser/editor for Linux, from W3C.org http://www.w3.org/Amaya/ is the best recommendation I have received thus far for WYSIWYG/HTML editing. An RPM is available as well for easy install and maintenance of Amaya.

NetScape Composer is a WYSIWYG editor, but provides no capability to edit the HTML as well. Also, they are now part of the Death Star, AOL, and I am more inclined to drop NS and go with Mozilla as a browser. Moot discussion as the Opera web browser for Linux is receiving good reviews, and Amaya browser may be capable and functional than either NS or Mozilla browser.

I also learned that Allaire recently announced CF V4.5 Server for Linux now in beta, a wise choice on their part to commit to a full web development solution for the Linux platform.

So, what's my plan to migrate my web development software tools from Windows to Linux? Here goes:

1) Install Amaya for Linux, so I can at continue to develop and maintain my existing web site JimIntriglia.com. This will enable me to pull the plug on M$ FrontPage98 on my WinPC and work with my new Linux PC when doing web development from that point on.

2) When I get my Linux web server up and running under Apache, install Zope and begin migrating my web site over to it. I can also checkout PHP if Zope does not meet my needs.

Cold Fusion is also an option which will be a solution for those enterprise IT managers that are not (yet) comfortable with open source web development solutions, or need things like failover support, clustering, etc., which may not (yet) be offered in PHP or Zope.

As for my personal (web site) development needs, I am inclined to stick with open source solutions, as the price/performance and worldwide developer/user support is difficult (if not impossible) for coporate entities to match.

If open source solutions fail me, then I can always shell-out the buck$ for a commercial client/server edition for Cold Fusion V4.5 for Linux. Additional payback on my investment includes the fact that there is a very healthy market for CF developers in the Denver-Metro area as well as other areas.

Starting to see a market develop for Linux and even PHP developers as well - this is good too!

Thanks for your opinions and suggestions - I have created a web page where I will be documenting additional solutions as well as trial and tribulation info as I progress and talk with other developers:
http://www.jimintriglia.com/Library/notebook/linux/Linux_webdvlp.htm

Best,

Jim
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by:kiffney
ID: 2665058
To get into Zope, it's best to start with the various dtml, sql, administrators guides downloadable from www.zope.org under Documentation.  There are very many HOWTOS, including some basic ones.  And it is very helpful to subscribe to the zope mailing list.  That mailing list is searchable on www.google.com by constructing a query like this

zope -archive keyword keyword

And posted questions are generally answered very helpfully.  Zope's biggest failing is in documentation - which is by and large a general area where open-source is sometimes not as good (though I've paid for commercial software that was poorly documented!)
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