Dreamweaver vs Aptana for PHP development

I recently started working with Aptana Studio after spending years on Dreamweaver  : one can only find advantages for such a migration. Aptana Studio, distributed freely, stands the comparison and comes with additional features worth trying. Here I write down some quick elements of comparison.

  • both handle righ clik FTP uploading : Aptana via the synchronisation menu and Dreamweaver via the profile configuration. I have found that my dreamweaver version (v8) sometimes forget FTP user and password configuration : this last bug was actually my main reason for trying out APTANA studio !!
  • XML validation : the default DTD validation parser in Aptana seems to have a bug : won't find the declared DTD for a XML file that stands in the same folder ...
  • PHP function browser : the PHP PDT eclipse extension works in Aptana and delivers wonderful class and function browser. Very useful ! 
  • Project wide search : Aptana allows you to work while it's searching, while Dreamweaver (v8) freeezes until it has found all occurences. But aptana doesn't have multi line search.
  • Memory usage (Windows XP) : I compared both softwares executing with one file open. On this point Dreamweaver has an advantage. If you can't afford heavy JAVA memory usage (250 Mb) for Aptana, then you might think of lighter Dreamweaver (50Mb).
2 replies
  1. James
    James says:

    Aptana Studio does have multi-line search via regex, not as convenient but I rarely need it so it doesn't bother me.

    TBH, I think Aptana Studio wins hands down once you delve deeper into Aptana and Eclipse (the platform it is based on), with/without plugins, such as synchronisation, perspectives, database exploration, team integration, PHP debugging/profiling, JS debugging/profiling, etc. etc. and even the simple things, being able to press F3 on code to open the function declaration or the file referenced and so forth.

    Memory usage is probably the only weak point but that is compensated by the feature set of the Eclipse backend. Besides, memory is cheap and if you are anywhere near serious about web development, $40 on a few gigs of RAM isn't an issue to make the 250-500MB memory usage of Aptana/Eclipse compared to other IDEs negligible.


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