Using a Lasso IDE vs. Text Editor

by Sunny Hoi

Lasso’s revolution has transformed it from a basic Mac-based FileMaker database tool to a vibrant and powerful cross-platform website enhancer that is sufficiently feature-rich to act without a hint of a database. With version 9 now supporting JavaScript , XML, and other languages, Lasso fans without background coding and applet knowledge often struggle to get by without IDEs but which ones are leading the pack?

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An image of Adobe Dreamweaver CS6 Mac Edition.

Dreamweaver has kept its rank at the top of the market for excellent reasons. Backed by the powerful Adobe stamp, it provides features that almost entirely nullify the cons of programming in a text editor. Dreamweaver Lasso Studio’s syntax highlighting and color coding features facilitate the untangling of reams of code, helping developers not only to correct mistakes and take tighter control of results but also to update pages with ease. With text editor junkies siting software’s lack of scripting power as its main disadvantage, this tool is a major coup for Dreamweaver.

An image of RapidWeaver 7 Mac Edition.

In contrast, basic applications such as RapidWeaver rely on direct coding inside the page, yet lack the control that text editors and more sophisticated IDEs offer. Dreamweaver allows users to easily search for text by terms and expressions, reigning in the unruly results of lesser programs. Layout can be achieved by simply dragging and dropping, while JavaScript behaviors can be integrated with the click of a mouse. Integration of Lasso Studio into existing databases is intuitively achieved using a configuration wizard. Studio Form Builder, Studio Property Inspectors and Tag Selectors customize the editing process. The rising popularity of video-based websites is harnessed by integrating FileMaker Pro into the toolbox.

Front End Newbies

Coda, TextMate, and Sublime Text 2

An image of Coda IDE.

Despite Lasso Studio’s colossal reputation, many have begun to abandon it in favor of more dynamic technologies. Adobe’s offering has become sluggish in comparison to Coda, TextMate and Sublime Text 2. These new IDE giants offer shinier bells and whistles along with speedier results: all three offer autocomplete and code hinting features.

Coda 2 is arguably the most generous of the triad, storing users’ most frequently used code so that it can be dragged into the editor. It automatically closes tags and allows the transfer of files between computers. TextMate substitutes Coda’s clips for ‘bundles,’ which turn simple text inserts into comprehensive lists of browser-supported properties.

An image of Sublime Text 2.

Sublime Text 2 is the new kid on the IDE block, and the need to compete against the reputations of more established programs has resulted in a toolbox crammed with plugins. Tag highlights, an extended sidebar, code quality assessment, and support for CoffeeScript, Java, ActionScript, and C++ all add to the fun and usability of this IDE.

Backend Innovators

Eclipse & Aptama Studio

An image of Aptana Studio 3.

Eclipse and Aptama Studio are solutions to the most demanding backend requirements. Aptana Studio 3 supports the development of an entire application in one ecosystem. HTML5, PHP, Python, CSS3 and most other browser technologies are supported, with automatic publishing and hosting services leaving programmers to focus on more complex, interesting tasks. An integrated debugger meticulously combs through every millimeter of text to unearth bugs while Git source code control merges teams into a single remote source code collaboration.

The debate between text editor and WYSIWYG programmers is almost as old as that between Mac and PC users. Fastidious purists have always enjoyed the freedom and accuracy of programming by hand, while page editor fans have held onto the ease and simplicity of their method. Software has come a long way since Dreamweaver first hit the market in 1996, and its evolution has shifted the line between free coding and development tools, blurring boundaries that have pushed many traditionalists across to the other side.

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