I recently spoke with a web design student from another college who mentioned that their program was taught through Adobe Dreamweaver. As a graphic design instructor and web professional, it’s enough to make one cringe.
While Dreamweaver has a nice search and excels at converting word processor copy to HTML, the “design” view and WYSIWYG (without truly knowing what’s being written for you) has always been a crutch. Furthermore, I can’t say I’ve really seen it used professionally in the last 12 years.
Dreamweaver’s changed so significantly in an attempt to keep up with the industry that, upon opening up CC 2014, I felt like a visitor in a foreign land. Regardless, I take pride in the fact that my program at HACC nearly affords me carte blanche when it comes to curriculum and software, and I’ve exercised that freedom to transition our program from Dreamweaver to Adobe Brackets.
While I personally still lean on Sublime Text 3, Brackets is a great learning tool at the right price for students (free!). Originally the underpinning of Adobe’s Edge Code, the fact that it’s open source leaves no surprise why it left its proprietary sibling in the dust.
It’s not perfect, and I did have to wait for it to become stable prior to introducing it to students, but the extensibility of Brackets is a niece touch. While I wish Brackets’ Extension Manager better resembled NPM, Bower, or WordPress’s Plugins directory (as in, having a solid rating/ranking system and dedicated spot for comments and questions), it still works nicely.
Getting to the meat of the post–here’s a list of extensions I requested installed for my class (In no particular order…I’d love to hear suggestions):
- brackets-beautify. With the push of a button it formats and indents your code.
- brackets-file-icons. I’m still on the fence with using this one, but it replaces the default file icons with more easily-recognizable ones.
- brackets-code-folding. It does just what it says.
- Brackets-HTML-Templates. An absolute lifesaver for creating boilerplate HTML from scratch.
- brackets-minifier. Since minifying code is the new black.
- brackets-show-whitespace. It adds nice little spacers in your code.
- brackets-wdminimap. An feature obviously borrowed from Sublime Text. You don’t realize how necessary it is until you don’t have it.