Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Applications found while not finding a real web design application

Jason Santa Maria wrote a long post called A Real Web Design Application, where he talks about searching for a tool that has the creativity of Photoshop with more of a native understanding of the web. It's a good read, and the comments are over 250 and counting.

I remember talking about how Dreamweaver is dead as part of my 3 Stages of Dynamic Systems talk at Web Directions North 2008. And yet, just the other day I met with someone that was doing a content-based startup and had built hundreds of pages with Dreamweaver templates.


Today, I tend to still reach for OmniGraffle for prototyping, site maps, and so on. On the other end of things, I'm still using a basic text editor for coding (Smultron). I love the team at Balsamiq, but I just haven't been able to get over my distaste for AIR apps. I don't use Photoshop, because I'm design-disabled :P

In any case, I found two interesting tools in the comment thread that might at the very least be Dreamweaver killers.

I'm still interested in a "tool" that will make it easy for all those people using static-HTML-making desktop apps to switch to working with web apps like WordPress, Drupal, etc. (static HTML.... why? why??! KhAAAAAAANNNNN!)

The first is Flux. The front page does, indeed, have a quote calling it a Dreamweaver killer. I was immediately intrigued by the fact that it has "plugins". These are standard JavaScript libraries and effects bundled in a special packaging format so they can be handled by the WYSIWYG editor / inspector. Wait… a tool thingie that uses the same libraries we use all the time when hand coding? Great!

I poked around the Flux forums a bit and didn't find anything about CMS support other than a thread where everyone asks them to support their favourite CMS. A link found there talks about some of the code abilities in Dreamweaver CS5 over at

The second tool is Antetype. This is definitely much more in the direction of a prototype builder, and not exclusively targeted at only web design. It's not publicly available yet, but the widget libraries and web viewer export make it very intriguing. More of a potential OmniGraffle replacement than anything to do with HTML.

So, will a code editor grow design abilities or will a design tool grow code abilities? I see what Jason is looking for as a design-centric tool that can manipulate chunks of code as objects tied to design elements, with of course CSS abilities for applying styling to text across projects (aka cascading, of course).