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    Best Java/php development tools?


    I've been development applications, web sites, web services using Microsoft's Visual Studio 2008 (use SQL 2008 backends). My company is at a junction point where we need to decide if we should stick with Microsoft or use other web development tools/platforms.

    Part of the reason to look elsewhere (outside of Microsoft) is that we've encountered numerous bugs and problems (some very significant) on Microsoft's tools, specifically VS 2008 and .NET 3.5 framework.

    Some of the issues that Visual Studio has failed at:
    1. What you see is NOT what you get
    2. No intergrated ability to preview output on the major browser players (IE, Safari, Chrome, Firefox)
    3. Adding Web Services (local or remote) has often crashed Visual Studio IDE
    4. .NET 3.5 framework documentation is often wrong or lacking meaningful content and the examples of usage are often just plain wrong
    5. VS 2008 web page code generator produces some of the worst formatted code I've ever seen
    6. VS 2008 IDE is VERY slow and VS 2010's IDE is even slower
    7. Getting sick of the "lastest and greatest" NEW technology from Microsoft which usually means I have to toss away all my work and start over every 6 months ... I'd prefer NEW technology to evolve not re-invent the same wheel with a different twist
    8. MSDN Ultimate yearly subscription has gone up to almost $12,000 from $2,500 and their server license scheme has also increased about by 500%.
    So my company is at the point where we need to decide if we continue with Microsoft and move to Visual Studio 2010 or look at alternate development tools/platforms. Are the hills truly greener on the other side? Or will I run into the sample problems as I do with Microsoft's development tools/platforms?

    Any input welcome.

    Thanks, Rob.
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    I don't know about the .NET framework, but specifically relating to web design and PHP:

    1. What you see is NOT what you get
    You won't find any very accurate WYSIWYG software for web pages (HTML). Major sites are pretty much never designed using WYSIWYG editors.

    2. No intergrated ability to preview output on the major browser players (IE, Safari, Chrome, Firefox)
    I've never heard of an IDE that supports integrated preview of all four browsers, although there might be one. You're most likely to find integrated support for IE and possibly support for Firefox too. Support for Chrome is less common and finding support for Safari is even less likely.

    5. VS 2008 web page code generator produces some of the worst formatted code I've ever seen
    Web page code generators usually produce pretty bad code. Like I said before, major sites are pretty much never designed using code generators.
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    I haven't found much data on what folks use for "Major" sites nor even what constitutes a Major site -- could you provide where you got your data that suggest major sites are never designed using WYSIWYG IDEs?

    I do agree that I spend most of my time with very tedious task of manually entering format code ... but my editors so far have been limited to Visual Studio and Dreamweaver. I find it amazing in this day and age that I'm still doing everything manually ... I feel like HTML editors are still back in the age of DOS Word Perfect ... remember all the same type of formatting constructs one had to use back then?

    So your opinion is that there are no good IDE's? Hmmm...have to think about that some, find it hard to believe ... or maybe I just don't want to believe

    Dreamweaver CS5 supports a feature called "BrowserLab" which is a part of CS Live -- this does attempt to show you how my web code would work in the various different browsers. Dreamweaver is nice but again I find myself manually coding rather than using WYSIWYG editing.

    Safari actually has more market share than Chrome and if you include iPhone (mobile) it actually puts Safari in the 2nd spot below IE in terms of usage. But basically my browser targets are IE7, IE8, IE9, Safari, Firefox ... Chrome is still a maybe.

    I gotta believe there must be a more efficient way than the tedious task of manually entering HTML. Is HTML construct really so bad that no IDE can do it right? Often makes me re-think large scale web development all together.

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