Aptana ScreenWhile working on a minor design project, I was looking for an open source HTML editor that had a good live window option.  On occasion, I’m asked to embed custom HTML into our service catalog order forms when building services for our customers.  There are times when the vendor’s out of box form designer doesn’t meet our customer’s requirements so we use fairly simple code to meet their needs.   I was using Notepad and just writing manually but I prefer a tool that’s made for the job.  A co-worker of mine who specializes in Java development, recommended Aptana Studio to me.  As soon as I visited their website and read about the plethora of features the app had, I knew I had to try it out.  The quote below is taken directly from their website,

Aptana Studio is the industry leading web development environment that combines powerful authoring tools for HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with thousands of additional plugins created by the community.

Its core features include HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code assist.  Code assist generates suggestions and hints, it can really speed up your coding time.  You can debug your JavaScript with Studio as it integrates with Firebug for Firefox and IE.  There are multiple debugging options available that include breakpoints, stepping through code, DOM inspection, and more.  Access plugins or extensions and you can add popular JavaScript libraries and frameworks such as jQuery, prototype, scriptaculous, Dojo, RadRails, and more.  The file transfer and synchronization is exactly what you would expect and live preview allows you switch between your code view and the rendered HTML page in most popular web browsers.  I’m also a fan of enabling line numbers in the code view so that’s available as well.

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To summarize, Aptana Studio is a very handy and free IDE (integrated development environment).  Aptana is continually enhancing their products and lists their release notes and even getting started guides on their website.  With my familiarity in Adobe Dreamweaver, picking up Studio was nearly effortless.  I love open source, especially when there’s a community behind the product, and the product is so good that there’s really no need to purchase a premium alternative.  Yes, I said my favorite word, community.  Many users of Studio contribute to a discussion board that covers categories that involve problems, questions, and suggestions.  The time I’ve spent with Studio is fairly minimal still, but I will definitely be using it much more.  Check out the Aptana Studio screen shot to the left that depicts the available plugins in version 2.0.  Bravo Aptana, bravo.

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Do you have development skills and would like to make Studio even better?  Contribute.