A while back I made a post about the PasteLock service I’ve developed and published. It took me quite a while to develop the service, mainly due to the fact that I am not a webdesigner, I’m a webdeveloper. As such, I usually open up Adobe Dreamweaver to develop anything that requires HTML and CSS work. Why Dreamwaver? You must be cringing if you think I need a WYSIWYG editor to create a website. This is not the case, but I like to see what I develop when I develop it.
Unlike before I decided not to go with Dreamweaver for once and try something new. I came across a web development suite that seemed to meet all of my requirements. WeBuilder 2014, still in beta at the time, had all of the tools I needed, like syntax highlighting, extensive code completion, a live browser preview and even support for PHP debugging. As I was immediately won over by the extensive feature list, I decided to give it a try.
The installation of WeBuilder was fairly standard, nothing extensively custom built, what you’d expect from a smaller software company. Very clean and efficient nonetheless.
The initial setup of the program was a bit of a surprise. I’m used to getting thrown into it, having to tweak every setting manually in the options, if I can find them. WeBuilder on the other hand provides a very clean configuration wizard when you first start the application, to get the application set up properly for use. I personally prefer using the Full IDE layout as I do quite a bit of development, but it depends on your needs. All of the settings in the configuration wizard can also be modified afterwards in the extensive options dialog.
I’ve been using Dreamweaver for webdevelopment for years now, so switching to a new application was a bit awkward. But I’m fairly confident I won’t be going back, as WeBuilder offers a lot of features and performance. The application starts very fast and works very smooth. I ran into a couple of minor bugs while I was developing, but at the time the application was still in Beta, so all of these issues have been smoothed out now. The application was already very stable for a Beta release to begin with.
As I started developing, I noticed I was using a lot of features which I didn’t even know I needed. In PHP I got very extensive code completion for both built-in routines and user-defined ones. The syntax highlighter quickly points out those tedious small syntax errors by highlighting them in red. My favorite feature by far is that it calls the PHP binaries to process your PHP scripts when you use the preview feature (which supports both IE and Chrome rendering).
The support of projects in WeBuilder is also very nifty. It allows you to create a project, linked to a specific folder. You can set up additional rules for the project to include or exclude files and folders where needed.
Even though WeBuilder actually supports the use SQL databases directly from the IDE, I decided to test out the PasteLock software on my server as it got more complex. To this end I used the “FTP” feature. I personally don’t really like FTP and will always use SFTP where possible, so I was pleased to find that WeBuilder does not only support SFTP, but also supports the use of key files.
The FTP setup is fairly straight-forward. You create an FTP server and select this for your project. A target folder can be configured or selected through an FTP explorer. You can then publish your project with the press of a button.
In regards to Cascading Style Sheets, a feature I found most impressive, is the font selection dialog. It allows you to very easily select a font to use in your CSS file and offers support for fonts from Google’s Font servers! If you select one of these fonts, it will insert the correct import statement into the CSS file, to minimize any required effort for the developer.
More notable features I’ve used are the indentation formatters, code formatters in general, HTML Tidy, CSS compressor and many more.
It’s hard for me to go over all of the features in this application, as there are just so many of them. I’m still discovering new features every day. I can honestly say that I love this application, it manages to offer a clean and intuitive interface, while offering tons of features. I would recommend anyone who does webdevelopment or webdesign, whether it’s on a daily basis or just every now and then for fun, to at least give this application a try. You certainly won’t regret it! A 30 day trail is available at the WeBuilder website, and the entire application can be licensed for just a one-time fee of €39.95, which I think is a very good price for the amount of features you get in return.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with this application, so leave a comment in the section below if you’d like to share them.