Amaya: A Simple, Yet Useful Alternative to Dreamweaver

While on a project, where money was scarce, we were scrambling around looking for a free or open source HTML editor that can provide us the same functionality as Adobe Dreamweaver. During my analysis of the different HTML editor out there, I came across Amaya. What intrigued me about it was that it was created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). As someone who loves Dreamweaver, I thought that I would never find something comparable to it that was free (open source), but I was wrong.

Amaya is an open-source HTML editor created by the W3C. If you don’t already know, W3C is an international community that develops Web standards. It was founded by Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited as inventing the World Wide Web. In 1998, Amaya was invented. Since then, there have been various releases that have given more functionality to Amaya.

amaya_main

Amaya is the most user-friendly HTML editor that I have come across. One of its features that is very similar to Dreamweaver is that you are able to split the screen to view the visual editor and the HTML code. In this way, you are able to code while seeing the changes, or you can do the other way around. It’s a great way to learn HTML, if you don’t know already. On the sidebar, you are able to easily modify the HTML, like in Adobe Dreamweaver. Different profiles can change the way they see the sidebar displayed.

Another great feature is the CSS functionality. With the press of a button, you are able to create a CSS stylesheet. You do not have to know CSS in order to create one, which is great for people trying to learn CSS and/or if you are trying to design a stylesheet quickly. This is a great way to have your site’s formatting and style be in a different file than the HTML code. It provides a way to add flexibilty to your web site/blog. It also has a debugger to check your code for errors.

amaya_css

One good thing about Amaya is that it allows five different user editing profiles, so if someone wants to change the behavior of the Amaya tool, he/she can have his/her own profile that is different from someone else. In addition, Amaya runs on Linux, Mac, and/or PC, so regardless which OS you are using, you will be able to use Amaya for your coding project.

What’s can be improved on?

Amaya is a quick and neat HTMl editor. I couldn’t find any issues, except that it needs to keep up with the new technologies. For instance, it isn’t made to build smartphones apps, which I saw in other free HTML editors. It also doesn’t support Ajax, which is being used more and more.

When it comes to features, Amaya is definitely not on par with Dreamweaver, but if you are looking for a free, simple, and useful HTML editor, then Amaya is a good candidate.

Have you use Amaya before? Tell us what you like/dislike about it.

15 comments

  1. I tried amaya and as far as it goes is ok. But it does not have the features of quanta in kde3.* (not that I could find anyway). Quantas main advantage is having compare built in and being able to change same entries over the entire site – like it can be done in dreamweaver.

    Have you tried jedit?

  2. @Shevonne

    Jedit has plugins that can be installed to edit webpages – but jedit is basically an all purpose programming tool that I have only dabbled with. Personally I still find quanta to be the best opensource web development package I have come across. Sorry I keep banging on about quanta – pity it has not been ported to kde4.

    The one thing that is missing from all opensource website editors is the feature that dreamweaver has of being able to move the various aspects of the site around and the code correspondingly changes to reflect the difference of position.

    But you cant have everything.

  3. Amaya has improved since the last time I tried it, but it still can’t handle highly styled web pages (like cnn.com for instance). If you are a non-technical user and want to create a simple web page, Amaya or KompoZer will do fine. If you need to make a living on the web, give up graphical editors (including Dreamweaver) because they will just get in your way.

    I notice the screen shots are from a Mac. On that platform, both TextMate ($45ish) and Code ($99) are very good and have live page preview options. (I’m currently using TextMate on my Mac and emacs on my linux box.)

    I used to use JEdit all the time and liked it quite well. I didn’t notice the slowness @Damien mentioned, but java speed depends on the quality of the jvm you have installed, so I don’t doubt his experience. Unfortunately some bits didn’t work well on the Mac and the plug-ins got corrupted during an upgrade.

  4. I am a little disappointed that the writer was unaware of Amaya, since I used it some years ago in an attempt to learn HTML without expensive and time consuming courses.

    Several web development professionals with whom I am acquainted have also told me their “unanimous” support for Quanta Plus as an equal or superior product to Adobe Dreamweaver.

    They indicate one telling issue with Dreamweaver is it’s inability to produce “clean” HTML code, which is another reason many “truly” professional web coders use an HTML text editor, like VIM or EMACS.

    Apparently Ms. Polastre’s experiences in Web Development are more limited than she may acknowledge.

    Wendell Anderson

  5. Wendell,

    I never had to use open source or free HTML editors because I’ve been using Dreamweaver for many years, or just coded it without an editor. Sorry if this offended you.

    Shevonne

  6. This article caused me to try Amaya for OS X again; I had not tried it for more than a year. I running 10.4.11 on a PPC G4.

    Although it is greatly improved, I still find the following characteristics prevent me from adopting it for everyday use:

    1. It crashes about a third of the time on launch, and about one in ten times on quitting.

    2. When it does launch successfully, it takes more than a minute to start (display its menu bar) and another 30 seconds to display my simple home page.

    3. It ignores all but the most basic font family css attributes. Thus the preview display is nothing like the way it actually appears in a browser.

    For now, I’m using SeaMonkey, Quanta Plus, and Aptana Studio.

    • The three you mentioned are good HTML editors as well. Aptana has tons of plugins and functionality that makes it a powerhouse HTML editor. I didn’t have a problem with the crashing that you experienced. Thanks for commenting!

  7. @Shevonne A Polastre

    I was wrong about what I wrote about amaya in so much that I had tried aptana studio not amaya.

    I am just installing amaya on slackware and I will see how it goes.

    Sorry about that.

  8. The screen is unstable in so much it often jumbles what is on screen.

    I didnt seem to be able to edit the source code and it was not obvious how to get the source code to show anyway. In the end I got the source to show.

    I dont think I will be using it.

    All the best

  9. Thanks you for this review.
    Amaya is not as stable and full-features as Dreamweaver, but very useful though, and free.
    Version 11.3 is out!

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