I'm looking for a few freeware alternatives to Dreamweaver that I can use in my Mac that runs on OS X Lion. Shoot the best free, website development applications you know?

closed as primarily opinion-based by bmike Mar 2 '14 at 16:31

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 7
    This question is a bit vague. Which Dreamweaver features are important to you? Which ones do you not need? – Mathias Bynens Mar 31 '12 at 8:59

Adobe Dreamweaver (for Mac) — $399

As Andrew Larsson said, there is Mac version for latest Adobe Dreamweaver (url is the same as for Windows version).

If it's a tool that you like and already own, but it's not supported by Mac, then you may try to make it work under OSX using Parallels or wine. Some people made different Dreamweaver versions to work on wine (on linux), so you may try to install wine on Mac and then install Dreamweaver in this case.


Easiest and most user friendly editor I've found so far is Fraise. It is small and nice, there's no 'workspaces' like in Eclipse and key-combinations like in Eclipse and Vim. It just stays out of your way and allows to edit HTML (there is preview window for it), CSS, and a lot of other file formats. I haven't seen yet any possibility of code-completion, but is it a big deal?

Fraise editor

Ironically you may need to build it from source (but it's very and fast if you know how to use git and Xcode)

Quanta Plus

They say that it supports both code editing and WYSIWYG and it definitely works on OSX so you may like it. I've never tried it though.

enter image description here

There are also at least 2 tools based on Eclipse that you can use for web development:

Eclipse IDE for JavaScript Web Developers

It incluses tools for JavaScript developers creating Web applications, including a JavaScript IDE, tools for JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and XML.

As alternative you can install any other eclipse but make sure that it contains Web Tools or install them in eclipse of your choice:

Eclipse variants

Aptana Studio

It's also based on Eclipse. Besides HTML, CSS and JavaScript it supports server-site scripting languages (Ruby, Python, PHP). You can preview web pages you edit in built-in browser, but I don't know if it is possible to edit webpages visually in Elipse based IDEs.

Aptana Studio window

  • DreamWeaver works on Mac if you just download the Mac installer from Adobe. As long as you have a license, you can use it on Mac and Windows. – Andrew Larsson Apr 1 '12 at 2:44

As already noted, this question is a bit vague. So I don't know if you want a WYSIWYG editor or not. So, I'll mention Panic's Coda.

It's a great code editor that supports syntax highlighting and (and my personal favorite) auto fill. It will automatically fill in as you type:

Coda auto fill
The other thing is that it has an FTP client built-right into it. This is a great application and well worth $100 you spend for it.

  • Coda and Espresso are really where it's at. I think too many of these answers are from quick google searches and lack personal experience. You'll NEVER use Vi, Vim, MacVim, Eclipse or other editors for this stuff. If you take yourself seriously, you need an IDE with FTP support, syntax highlighting and automatic indentation, auto completion, in-line error messages, etc. – Alexander Jan 17 '14 at 23:28
  • I disagree pretty strongly with that. An IDE is not necessary. A good text editor is a must. Although I'd still recommend Coda, I have switched to Sublime Text, which is just a text editor. And I do take myself very seriously. There's nothing wrong with using Vi, Vim, MacVim, etc., for serious development, as long as you can use them effectively. – daviesgeek Jan 17 '14 at 23:54
  • It's too clumsy to have all these separate tools just to do one job. The higher level functionality saves SO much time. I love how powerful Vi's commands are, and it might be great for a quick edit here and there, but it's awful if your workflow is: edit in vi, upload via ftp client, preview with a browser. Coda's code clips and native PHP implementation alone are a deal maker. – Alexander Jan 18 '14 at 4:19
  • You're right that it can be clumsy. But, you don't have to use an IDE. Things have changed a little. You don't need a full IDE all the time, especially if you are doing local development (which I do about 50% of the time) – daviesgeek Jan 18 '14 at 4:49
  • As of 2019, Quanta Plus looks to be Linux only. – benwiggy Jun 21 at 8:30

vim or MacVim

Vi is already installed on your machine, and you can get to it by using the Terminal (in /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app) and typing vim.

MacVim gives you a few extra features:

MacVim supports multiple windows with tabbed editing and a host of other features such as:

  • bindings to standard OS X keyboard shortcuts (⌘Z, ⌘V, ⌘A, ⌘G, etc.)
  • transparent backgrounds
  • full-screen mode
  • multibyte editing with OS X input methods and automatic font substitution
  • ODB editor support

enter image description here

  • Thanks I didn't know that, I thought it's just vim with own cocoa console and cute GUI buttons. But what is ODB? – Alex Bolotov Apr 1 '12 at 15:59

This question is a bit vague — it depends on how you use Dreamweaver. Which Dreamweaver features are important to you? Which ones do you not need?

If you don’t use the WYSIWYG editor (you shouldn’t!) and you’re just looking for a great IDE / code editor, then Sublime Text 3 might be of interest. It’s currently in beta and free (although you can pay to register if you want). It’s highly customizable, too.

  • 1
    Btw, the WYSIWYG editor in Dreamweaver is far better than anything else I've seen. I have used it a lot to paste copied text - the way it removes the underlying HTML garbage (keeping only the most useful tags) is commendable. Granted, I haven't tried all programs, but I've tried many of them. – Hippo Mar 31 '12 at 9:06

You should look at 'Aptana Studio', currently at Version 3, which is the best free Web-Development Plattform. It's based on the Eclipse Framework, so it's probably not everybodys taste. I think it's a bit sluggish, which is why i bought 'Coda'.

enter image description here


Best WYSIWYG alternative to Dreamweaver for OS X is Kompozer.

Now that Adobe is going cloud only for their software I don't want to spend $200 a year for Dreamweaver. I've found Kompozer to open, change, save my current websites without a problem. Sometimes it is faster for me to make changes via WYSIWYG than by code, sometimes by code.


If what you want is the bells and whistles (graphcal user interface, buttons for everything, project templates with finished page layouts etc) there are alternatives to DW. Personally I can't stand DW because I feel like I loose control over many aspects of the development process, so I usually stick to the mentioned editor "Sublime Text" as it has a large community and plugins for doing all sorts of development, both web based and other.

It takes a couple of hours to get comfortable with, and all the configuration happens in text files using JSON, but it is really worth the money as you can use the same license (even synchronize preferences) between Windows, Linux and Mac machines you may have.

If you want pre-made templates and stuff you can take a look at Rapid Weaver

It has some really cool features that makes web design a piece of pie.


There's also CodeKit. It's new and I'm not overly familiar with its capabilities, but thought I should include it for completeness.

  • CodeKit is a secondary tool for web development. It compiles LESS,SASS, and other languages. CodeKit doesn't fit the OP's question at all. – daviesgeek Jan 18 '14 at 5:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .