Best Lightweight Web Development Tool

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Updated. See below.

Usually, around here, I do the advising. Today, I’m going to ask you for your help.

lightweight-software-graphic I have been using Adobe Dreamweaver CS4, just like everyone else, to do my website creation and management. Truth be told, it is an amazing piece of software and it does wonders when you are building a new website from scratch. But, I have several websites that are fairly mature now that I don’t need all that horsepower to maintain, and let’s face it, Adobe products are not lightweight.

Adobe Dreamweaver is using 84 MB of RAM Private Bytes (98,640 K Working Set). That is having just opened the program with no files open. I haven’t clicked a single time and its already chewing up almost 100 MB of RAM. You can imagine what it looks like when I have a dozen pages and some CSS files open.

Again, for a full-on site development, I have no qualms about Dreamweaver, or what it takes to run it. But, if I just want to make some SEO tweaks, or change a menu item, or add a new freelance writing sample, it is just too much.

I like to tweak my code in Notepad++ which I love, but when I do, that makes the site out of "sync" with Dreamweaver. I could just download what I changed, but if I make a small tweak and it works, it might be months before I look at the site again, and by then, I won’t remember whether I trust the local copy or the remote copy more.

There are two major requirements that have got me stumped in finding an alternative to Dreamweaver.

First, I don’t write all the content of every site I work on. I have to be able to copy and paste slightly formatted text into a webpage and not spend all night fixing the way it looks.

Second, I can’t live without Adobe’s template feature. Having a single template and then using that template on every file to ensure consistent sidebars or other universal items is so time saving that I can’t even imagine trying to manage a site without something similar.

Lastly, I like the way both Notepad++ and Dreamweaver highlight my code according to what it is. That is, CSS files are highlighted based on being CSS files and HTML files are highlighted based on being HTML files.

My question then, dear readers, is, "Is There a Usable Lightweight Adobe Dreamweaver Alternative?"

Please don’t say Microsoft – whatever it is called these days. Those chuckleheads have messed up far too many things, too many times, when it comes to websites and Internet development. They can barely get CSS right in their own browser. There is no way I’m going to let them touch my code.

There used to be programs like HotDog and some others which I will search out, but those seem to not be "current" web developer tools. It seems more like they just keep updating them so that webmasters who are already in love with those products have something to use, but there doesn’t seem to be any real motivating development.

So, how about it?

What do you use for web development when you don’t use Dreamweaver?

Update: Thanks to the reader who pointed out this Freeware Editors HTML page on the DMOZ Open Directory Project.

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