The past and future of Homesite

Filed under: — 2:52 pm

I’ve been using Homesite as my primary HTML/PHP/JavaScript editor for nearly ten years. I think I bought it in 1995 or 1996. Nick Bradbury was a one-man business at the time and Homesite was advertised on CompuServe. I think it was version 1.0. (I met Nick at SXSW 2004 and enjoyed reminiscing about those days.)

I’ve stayed with Homesite ever since, upgrading to version 2.0, then 2.5, then 3.0, then 4.0, then 5.0, and finally 5.5. Along the way Homesite was acquired by Allaire in 1997, and Allaire was acquired by Macromedia in 2001. Homesite development has been pretty stagnant since the Macromedia acquisition. The product always seemed to take a back seat to Dreamweaver. New versions were few and far between, and often added more bugs than they fixed.

Homesite is a programmer’s text editor for HTML and other web languages. While it has a built-in preview and even a simple WYSIWYG mode, it’s most efficient for people like me who think in HTML (and PHP and JavaScript) and just want convenient access to their code. I’ve never had any patience for visual editors like Dreamweaver. Homesite is just my style.

Despite being a fan, I’ve been planning to switch from Homesite for some time, because it didn’t seem to have a future with Macromedia. Now I’m not sure what to think, because Adobe is acquiring Macromedia. I have a feeling this might be the final nail in Homesite’s coffin, although I’d love to see Adobe take better care of it than Macromedia did.

Luckily for me, Homesite creator Nick Bradbury created another great editor, TopStyle, after leaving Allaire. I’ve always figured I’ll switch to TopStyle eventually, but put it off because I’m comfortable with Homesite, and the CSS emphasis didn’t mean much to me. Now that Homesite’s future is more uncertain than ever and I’m doing all of my design with CSS, it’s probably time to take another good look at TopStyle.

5 responses to “The past and future of Homesite”

  1. The end of Homesite? As questioned in a lot of places (here (Nick Bradbury), here) the recent anouncment on the aquisition of Macromedia by Adobe makes the future of Homesite very uncertain.I used Homesite when I started with Webdev (1999), and at that time it seemed like a g

  2. Greg Jordan says:

    Got Mac? Have you tried BBEdit?

  3. Bill says:

    I too am in the same boat as you with HomeSite. I bought it early on and am just trying to ween myself off. In fact I came across your site searching for any news or speculation on the future of HomeSite, now that Adobe owns it. I also have big misgivings on the future of FreeHand also, figuring Adobe will stick with Illustrator. One program I have found that is very HomeSite-like is Rapid PHP 2005. Not as rock solid as HomeSite, but has more PHP features and for $30 a good deal (they make HTMLPad also, but RapidPHP combines all of the features of all of their programs into one. Has good CSS tools also. I am not affiliated with the company. More info is at

  4. Bill says:

    Took your advice and downloaded a demo of TopStyle 3.0… I have used the free “lite” version for CSS, but this Pro version is much more than just a CSS tool… it is very configurable and has Nick Bradbury’s flair with interfaces that made HomeSite such an old friend. This tool seems like it will do the job, and it even let me configure a mapping so I could preview PHP files. $79.00 but seems worth it, I will probably buy it!

  5. delpino says:

    I think they should make Homesite open-source, this would kickstart its development as there are many fans out there.

(c) 2001-2007 Michael Moncur. All rights reserved, but feel free to quote me.
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