Dreamweaver is very nice, but for personal use who’s able to justify the costs of the upgrades. I’ve tried several times to find an alternative to Dreamweaver, but the open source alternatives have just not me my expectations. I’ve tried to use Eclipse several times, but just couldn’t make the adjustment to it. For one I didn’t like managing different plugins for every feature I wanted. I also felt it was designed more for java programmers and I focus on web and PHP.
This time when I was investigating Dreamweaver alternatives at alternativeto.net I saw Aptana. I soon found out it was based of Eclipse so I had my doubts, but seeing that it was focused towards web developers vs java developers I was optimistic. As it turns out I was able to quickly adjust to Aptana and although it’s default layout is different than Dreamweaver I was able rearrange the windows and apply a “Dreamweaver” theme to make me feel right at home with what I was accustomed to. Other than being a really good IDE, I also was very dependent on the file synchronization that I used with Dreamweaver. I know a lot of people frown at using this method and suggest using your source versioning tools for this, but I prefer to keep my source versioning local and synchornize my remote web servers. I find it much quicker than having to login to remote systems for doing updates. Speaking of versioning tools Aptana gave me the added bonus of using Git from the IDE where as with Dreamweaver I had to drop out to the filesystem for my Git related tasks.
I’m also very happy to no longer have all the _notes diretories in my projects.