I came across WeBuilder about a year ago I started looking into various code editors. I was using Dreamweaver at the time. While Dreamweaver is a good product, I always felt that there was probably a product out there that was better and more time efficient. I was mainly looking for a PHP Editor and was willing to use Dreamweaver for HTML and CSS, but a combined editor would have been ideal.
I trailed PHPEdit and phpDesigner before I stumbled upon WeBuilder and Rapid PHP. Rapid PHP and WeBuilder are almost identical products, but WeBuilder can handle additional languages like Ruby, Perl and ASP. They are both made by Blumentals Software.
As soon as I started to use WeBuilder I knew it was a class above the rest. I fall in love with it right away, and a year later I still say outloud "god I love WeBuilder!". Yes my coworkers think I am a little mad!
What I love about WeBuilder
To be honest, it is hard to know where to start with the things that I love about WeBuilder. Before I begin, I should state that I am using WeBuilder 2007. The newest version is WeBuilder 2008 and that looks even more impressive.
What I love about it:
- Integrated FTP
- File Explorer
- Code Library
- Code Explorer
- Syntax Highlighting
- Code Inspector (especially for CSS)
- Code IntelliSense/Auto-complete (PHP, HTML, CSS etc)
- Intuitive and easy to use
- Multi item clip board
- Great Toolbars
Intuitive and easy to use
I hate software that is difficult to use. As far as I am concerned, software should not get in the way of what you are trying to do. If it is well designed, it should just work with minimal figuring out. WeBuilder is definitely well designed. It is probably the most intuitive piece of software I have used and definitely the most intuitive code editor. Things are in the right place. It does not get in the way, but I seem to instinctively know where to go if I need to use the many features. WeBuilder just makes sense. And that is the way software should be.
When you start typing a PHP function, a box will pop up with a list of suggested functions. This includes function hints. You can easily pick one and hit enter. Another box will then pop up with a brief description of it. If you hit F1, it will open php.net with the page for that function. Believe me, that is a time saver. WeBuilder includes PHP syntax checking and debugging. The PHP toolbar is another great little time saver. You can save code fragments (e.g. the guts of an if statement) and paste them into your pages at will.
WeBuilder is a code HTML editor in its own right. The auto complete is a real help. Many common HTML tasks can be done with a few button clicks from the HTML toolbar. Creating tables is very straightforward. It comes with HTML tidying and validation.
The CSS editor is second to none. The auto complete is a real life and time saver if you can’t remember all of the CSS syntax. The code inspector is a huge help when CSS editing. The CSS toolbar can achieve some of the basic CSS tasks with a click of the button. It does simple things well. Like if you want to bold an element. Rather then typing in font-weight: bold; you just hit the bold button (B), and it will insert it for you. Sounds simple, but it is another time saver. If you are adding a colour (e.g. font, background) you can use the built in colour picker.
The code explorer is very handy, especially when it comes to PHP and CSS. For CSS, the elements, identifiers and classes are listed in the code explorer. That makes it really easy to look through to find what you want to edit. For PHP, the list of classes, objects, functions and variables are in the code explorer. So rather then scrolling down a long PHP page, you can get a quick snap shot in the code explorer and navigate to an item just be clicking on it in the explorer.
Anything that you copy or cut will be stored in the clipboard. So if you cut out a bit of code and forget to paste it somewhere else, you can also refer back to the clipboard. You just click on an item and it will automatically be inserted into your page. And this is not restricted to just items that you copy and cut from WeBuilder. Anything that you copy or cut on your PC while WeBuilder is running will be captured. How brilliant is that?
Integrated FTP and File Manager
WeBuilder comes with integrated FTP and File Manager. You simply create projects and FTP accounts and assign an FTP account to a project. So if you are editing a page from a project, with the click of a button you can FTP it up to your live server. And you can nominate your own shortcut. It is actually quite similar to the way that Dreamweaver does it. You can also open up files remotely from FTP and edit and save back in the server. So you do not need to FTP a file down locally, edit, save and FTP back up. You just click on FTP, open the relevant file from the server, edit and hit save. Easy.
Something that should not be over looked is the performance of WeBuilder. It is lightning fast to open and use. It is quite simply a very efficient piece of software that will not use a great deal of memory to run. I have certainly noticed a speed difference when compared to Dreamweaver.
Other Tasty things
WeBuilder 2008 vs 2007
Like I said at the beginning of this review, I am using WeBuilder 2007. The improvements in the 2008 edition include:
- Code collapse
- Secure FTP support
- Faster file explorer
- Improved support for USB installs
- Improved performance and robustness
- Code templates
- Etc etc
I really, honestly do love WeBuilder. It is a high performing, feature packed and intuitive code editor that is simply the best that I have used. It saves time and is a real pleasure to use.
The price is currently £35.85, or $69.85. You can change the price to dollars (or other currencies) at the top of the product page if you prefer dollars. You can also download a trial version from that page (link below).