When Adobe finally killed off HomeSite a couple of months back, I had to wipe away a tear at the loss of the first proper IDE that I used for coding for the web. In truth it should have been put out of it’s misery a long time ago, as when I used it for some quick and dirty coding back in October last year I was dismayed at how dated it felt.
Upon learning of its demise, Nick Bradbury – creator of the original HomeSite – commented on his pride at the way in which the application had fostered a community of evangelists, due to the close relationship the users had with him, and later, Allaire. That was what gripped me when I first started using it, too – there were developers all over the world creating and releasing “Snippets” for HomeSite, and it just felt like we were all helping to make each other’s lives easier.
Over the last few years I’ve visited Nick’s site many times, hoping for news of him creating a modern take on what made HomeSite so good, but knowing deep down that his hands were probably tied in that regard – so long as the Macromedia, and then Adobe, were peddling the zombie descendant of HomeSite. A couple of times I almost bought TopStyle from his site in a fit of nostalgia, but with it mainly focussing on CSS editing it didn’t deliver the full suite of features I was looking for.
Which is why it took me completely by surprise yesterday when I discovered that TopStyle 4 had been out for a couple of months and now featured tag/code insight for php and JQuery, amongst others. I was even more surprised to discover that Nick Bradbury was no longer responsible for it at all – having passed the baton on to Stefan van As, back in December.
But wow… from the screen grabs, TopStyle 4 it looked like the natural successor to the original HomeSite that I’d been waiting for and, after downloading and giving the trial version a go, I confirm that it is exactly that!
In many ways it’s the perfect riposte to Adobe’s mistreatment of its ancestor. At around £50 it’s as affordable as HomeSite was, back in the day, and undercuts the likes of Dreamweaver by quite a long way. As soon as I can afford it I’m going to buy TopStyle 4 and switch from the dated Dreamweaver 8 license I’ve been using for so long.