Linked by Metin Amiroff on Tue 20th Apr 2004 17:30 UTC
General Development N|vu is a web development application with a WYSIWYG interface that is aimed to be user friendly, easy and powerful, sponsored by Linspire. This review looks at this program in detail and aims to help users to get an idea about it.
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hmm....
by Debman on Tue 20th Apr 2004 17:42 UTC

this is an interesting application.

what are the bindings? is it one of those apps that are inextricably tied to KDE or does it just make use of QT so it can be easily ported to Windows and Mac?

really good article, but...
by Jack Perry on Tue 20th Apr 2004 17:49 UTC

I really like the article, especially the comparisons to Macromedia's software. I would have liked to see more comparisons to Mozilla.

There is a problem with the article, however. Some words and examples seem to have disappeared. The first serious example of this is when the author writes:

I changed the margin and border properties on the tag to "0 px" and I got this:I changed the margin and border properties on the tag to "0 px" and I got this:

Very impressive.


But "this", whatever it's supposed to be, doesn't appear, or at least it doesn't appear anywhere near "this". I've checked with Camino, Firefox and Safari.

Please fix this ASAP -- the article is really nice otherwise.

Re: hmm.....
by Blegh on Tue 20th Apr 2004 17:49 UTC

It uses the Mozilla libraries (xul, etc).

addition
by Blegh on Tue 20th Apr 2004 17:50 UTC

..so it runs on all platforms supported by Mozilla ;)

RE: Debman
by Steve S. on Tue 20th Apr 2004 17:50 UTC

well, there are windows binaries available...

RE: really good article, but...
by Eugenia on Tue 20th Apr 2004 17:52 UTC

>But "this", whatever it's supposed to be, doesn't appear

It's this:
<body style="margin-top: 0px; margin-left: 0px; padding-top: 0px; padding-left: 0px;">

(Currently the article is going under proof reading so I can't fix it in the article which is locked by another editor. I will try to fix it later on our backend.)

Thanks Lindows Inc!
by Tima on Tue 20th Apr 2004 17:55 UTC

Looking one year ahead I see Nvu being installed on my Mac OS X Panther computer! Thanks you Lindows Inc for supporting and building opensource software which raise the quality bar of free applications!

If I buy a PC some day in a not so near future I will install Linspire right away!

Still very immature, but promising...
by Ziggamon on Tue 20th Apr 2004 18:15 UTC

I did not manage to create a link... it simply didn't let me enter what the link text would be... and that's as basic as you get...

Another problem with WYSIWYG editors in general is that they produce sucky web sites, which cannot be easily made dynamic, or even updated regularly. That's why there is HTML and why people trying to make web sites should learn it.
Of course, if you are 12 and making "Little John's homepage" this editor will be a good choice (WILL, it is still very immature)

My suggestion as a proffessional web developer is: use bluefish!
Or if you are a KDE person, I've heard good things about Quanta.

Good article, but..
by Kyle on Tue 20th Apr 2004 18:40 UTC

There are a few problems. Not with the article, but with N|vu that haven't been mentioned.

Here's a couple things of note:
1. It produces okay CSS, but not great CSS. The CSS could be heavily optimized for file size/download times:
margin-left: 0px; margin-top: 0px; can be simplified to be
margin: 0px auto auto 0px;

The same goes for padding, font and other tags.

2. The editor should default and use external CSS. Inline styles, although valid, are not recommended because they mix the presentation and layout. This defeats the purpose of using CSS.

The author did a great job pointing out the flaws of N|vu. It really needs to have additional DOCTYPE options (XHTML 1.0, 1.1 Strict and Transitional). HTML 1.0 - 4.0 are depreciated and shouldn't be used anymore.

If you are interested in web development (especially adhereing to standards), here's a few links:
http://www.cssvault.com/
http://www.csszengarden.com/ (check out Wiggles the Wonderworm design compared to the others.. its only CSS changes)
http://www.webstandardsawards.com/
http://www.w3.org/
http://www.sitepoint.com/
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/sell-web-accessibility?&ct=1
http://www.maccaws.org/kit/way-forward/

Nice program, but...
by Ian Christie on Tue 20th Apr 2004 18:43 UTC

there are some small annoyances. Nvu creates fairly good clean HTML, my only real complaints centre around the CSS editor. It would be nice with the CSS editor open, to be able to do other things (edit the page, edit the html, view a preview) without closing the CSS editor. Right now you're bouncing back and forth between the CSS editor and the regular interface.

Also the preview and WYSIWYG screens could do with actually displaying how a browser displays, particular with links showing basic default colours and decorations. Having to open another browser just to see the colours properly is a pain.

It has a ways to go, but even at the point it's at, it does an excellent job.

hmmm.... correction
by Matt on Tue 20th Apr 2004 18:57 UTC

i snagged the 0.1 release awhile back, and unless they changed it since then, nvu is a qt app, not xul. also, there is a windows port already available

Re: Good article, but..
by Truben on Tue 20th Apr 2004 19:01 UTC

1. It produces okay CSS, but not great CSS. The CSS could be heavily optimized for file size/download times:
margin-left: 0px; margin-top: 0px; can be simplified to be
margin: 0px auto auto 0px;


I disagree, it's much easier to read and edit css if it's written the nvu way. The award for writing it the other way is too small, max a few kb.

Re: Truben
by Kyle on Tue 20th Apr 2004 19:28 UTC

I disagree, it's much easier to read and edit css if it's written the nvu way. The award for writing it the other way is too small, max a few kb.

It's a progressive award. The more hits a site gets, the more it pays off. For example, you may save only 1K:

1,000 hits/day is ~365 megs/year
10,000 hits/day is ~3,650 megs/year
100,000 hits/day is ~36,500 megs/year
500,000 hits/day is ~182,500 megs/year
1,000,000 hits/day is 365,000 megs/year
...

Bandwidth can be very expensive at times, too. Especially depending on your host. 365 gigs in a year is no laughing matter for how much money you save. Coupled with the cost save from using a XHTML/CSS only design that is table free, you can have huge cost savings. You will like that, and your boss will too.

Plus, its only easier to read if you aren't used to it.

Re: Truben
by Kyle on Tue 20th Apr 2004 19:35 UTC

I forgot to add that you may save a lot more space. CSS files can get pretty big and complex. They could be 50K (which is pretty big, but okay since they get cached the first time they are accessed on a visit) and you could save 3K - 5K or more. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Here is an older article about the ESPN redesign and how much they save:
http://devedge.netscape.com/viewsource/2003/espn-interview/01/

"The Savings Add Up
* Page reduction (est.): 50KB
* Page views/day: 40,000,000
* Projected bandwidth savings:
o 2 terabytes/day
o 61 terabytes/month
o 730 terabytes/year"

That is an amazing amount of savings. At $10/gig of transfer (very low for a site this big.. its probably more like $40 - $100), they would save $7.3 million per year. $73 million at $100 per gig.

basically, it's mozilla composer.
by avih on Tue 20th Apr 2004 19:53 UTC

daniel glazman IS disruptive innovations (the company behind nvu). he was fired from netscape along with most others mozilla developers few months ago. he was the maintainer of mozilla composer (the html editor which is part of mozilla-the -application-suite). he now gets paied by lindows (lindash/lin-whatever) to continue his development of this tool.

Better Web Development Application
by Asdex on Tue 20th Apr 2004 20:06 UTC

Why that hype about NVU? Because it's form Lindows? Because of it's features? Because it's just Mozilla composer + Lindows color theme?

It's nice to read that NVU starts up 3 seconds faster than Mozilla Composer. ;-)

If you really want to use a free and professional Web development tool, there is Quanta (http://freshmeat.net/projects/quantaplus/ ). If you just want to click together one or two pages there is Mozilla Composer.




Re: Better Web Development Application
by Nx on Tue 20th Apr 2004 20:22 UTC

>> Why that hype about NVU?

I don't see any "hype"... NVU is a nice application and that's it right now. Mozilla Composer? yeah but I don't have seamokey anymore, it's all stand-alone Firebird here. Quanta? look at the quanta homepage, that's more than enough evidence against it... ;)

I'm going to sound pretty stupid here...
by Dave on Tue 20th Apr 2004 20:23 UTC

Did I miss something? Isn't this just Mozilla Composer? I compared some of the dialogs between the two and they were identical...

What makes NVu stand out beyond Mozilla's Composer?

naive
by Anonymous on Tue 20th Apr 2004 20:27 UTC

Hi

"Quanta? look at the quanta homepage, that's more than enough evidence against it... ;) "


Use the SOFTWARE. pretty web pages doesnt make up a good web editor.

truth
by ahmet on Tue 20th Apr 2004 20:44 UTC

To my knowledge,

- NVU uses mozilla technologies, such as xul,xbl and gecko. not QT.
- NVU is similar to Mozilla composer, but it will be the main development product, always ahead of the mozilla composer.
- NVU's target users are people who wants to make quick and standart compliant pages , at least for now. it is not for replacing the dreamweaver.

RE: hmmm.... correction
by Anonymous on Tue 20th Apr 2004 20:45 UTC

Nvu is NOT a Qt application. It IS a XUL application. You can look at the sourcecode if you don't believe me. The dialogs alone are a dead give away that's it's Mozilla.

Nice article
by blk on Tue 20th Apr 2004 21:03 UTC

Objective statement about whats good and whats missing, hope to see more like this - keep writing!

Re: hmmm.... correction
by Blegh on Tue 20th Apr 2004 21:49 UTC

>> i snagged the 0.1 release awhile back, and unless they changed it since then, nvu is a qt app, not xul. also, there is a windows port already available

No, it's not.
Like said above.

Re: anti-WYSIWIG elitism
by -=StephenB=- on Tue 20th Apr 2004 21:51 UTC

Another problem with WYSIWYG editors in general is that they produce sucky web sites, which cannot be easily made dynamic, or even updated regularly. That's why there is HTML and why people trying to make web sites should learn it.

The reality is more complicated than that. May I infer from your message that you are not a professional web developer? I'm not saying that to be insulting, but because I don't know a single pro web dev who DOESN'T use some sort of WYSIWYG app, at least for creating layouts. There are a couple reasons:

- If you come from a graphic design background (as many web designers do), a WYSIWYG app will be much more comfortable.
- Complex layouts can be hell to code by hand, especially when you're dealing with tables (and nested tables and col/rowspan'ing).
- Not all WYSIWYG editors are Microsoft FrontPage - Dreamweaver, for example, produces code that's pretty bearable.

So, to summarize, WYSIWYG editors do not inherently "produce" sucky webpages. The problem is people who use WYSIWYG editor believing "I can create professional output without knowing anything about web development or graphic design". That's what produces sucky webpages.

vertical-align
by Another matthew on Tue 20th Apr 2004 21:59 UTC

Hmm... the td vertical-align doesn't do what I think N|vu's authors think it does. It's inline alignment, not block. It won't be applied to the td tag.

The inline style is a little weird. They could get the same affect with classes.

Re: anti-WYSIWIG elitism
by Spark on Tue 20th Apr 2004 22:47 UTC

- Complex layouts can be hell to code by hand, especially when you're dealing with tables (and nested tables and col/rowspan'ing).

But you shouldn't do that, unless you still need to support Netscape 4...
I agree though that it might be very handy to have a tool to graphically design layouts. However, since NVu doesn't seem to have layer (div) support, it makes it a non-starter for me. ;)
I would love to have a WYSIWYG web layout application for Linux which is entirely based on CSS and the ideology behind it. Probably something like Layout Master (http://www.westciv.com/layout_master/index.html). I don't know that app but it looks to be pretty much what I'm looking for. It is really tedious to design such layouts by hand, always adjusting values, checking the effect, tweaking a little more, etc...

RE: naive
by urmensch on Tue 20th Apr 2004 23:07 UTC

Use the SOFTWARE. pretty web pages doesnt make up a good web editor.

Come on. Quanta's web site is a direct reflection on the tool that they use to make it! Especially if it's WYSIWYG.

RE: naive
by Spark on Tue 20th Apr 2004 23:16 UTC

But Quanta isn't WYSIWYG, or rather wasn't at the time they probably created the website.
That said, I don't like the Quanta interface at all, it feels bloated to me and makes me feel uncomfortable. Features aren't everything (for me).

Re: Good article, but.. / Re: Truben
by testerus on Tue 20th Apr 2004 23:22 UTC

If you compare the traffic caused by different stylesheets you need to compare the compressed size of them. Most pages use gzip based compression, even bzip2 may be used in the future (http://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=173044)

I guess the compressed size does not differ that much, does it?

Mac Binary
by opa on Tue 20th Apr 2004 23:39 UTC
Dreamweaver still the best, Quanta is okay
by bxb32001 on Wed 21st Apr 2004 00:46 UTC

Nice article, though it's tough to be compared to Dreamweaver right now, specially for NVU. Articles like these will be good for it, IMO. Perhaps NVU can look to Dreamweaver for some points on where to go.

Dreamweaver is what I use at work, but when I'm home, I use Quanta... not bad at all. I also use Bluefish when I'm on the Gnome desktop and find that it's also a good app.

I'm still most efficient with Dreamweaver and would prefer to use it when I need to churn out stuff in a limited time.

re:Mac Binaries
by Debman on Wed 21st Apr 2004 01:12 UTC

it sure would be nice if he would upload those to the project page.

the app seems pretty nice on the mac, but I wish there was a binary on the website.

CSS and XHTML could make a killer app
by CaptainHaddock on Wed 21st Apr 2004 01:58 UTC

I'm a professional designer, and for years I've relied on Dreamweaver to streamline web design, which until recently always relied on complicated table layouts, spacer gifs, and browser bug avoidance (I'm talking about you, Internet Explorer!).

But that was then, and this is now. Elegant and simple code are back in vogue, thanks to XHTML and CSS. And right now, the only way to make a good XHTML page is with a text editor. No WYSIWYG editor offers a complete, CSS-oriented design solution. Dreamweaver's CSS support is still a lamentable afterthought. I think Nvu is a great project, but a new paradigm has arrived and Nvu is still chasing the Old Way of doing things.

Mark my words: the first application to implement completely and correctly a CSS-centric design environment will be the next killer application in web design. Just tacking on limited or buggy CSS support isn't good enough. This is a terrific opportunity for open source to lead the way for once, but I don't see it happening.

v the fact that you think HTML is code
by Debman on Wed 21st Apr 2004 02:03 UTC
@Debman
by opa on Wed 21st Apr 2004 02:29 UTC

Daniel Glazman has stated he won't accept 3rd party binaries. He claims to need a Mac so he can do it himself. I think there's a collection fund somewhere. :/

Quanta and WYSIWYG
by joe on Wed 21st Apr 2004 02:39 UTC

I've tried Quanta under KDE 3.2, the latest version has WYSIWYG features, but damn it's soooo buggy!

I've Nvu under Windows, and it's WYSIWYG functions are excellent, or at least acceptable. It seems to lack the advanced features that is already available in Quanta though. But Nvu is great for beginners.

quanta still the best in linux
by tetsuo on Wed 21st Apr 2004 04:08 UTC

quanta is able to compete with coffeecup html editor of windows.

WYSIWYG funtions works fine on kde 3.2

i tried nvu still lacks of many advanced features of quanta

by PantherPPC on Wed 21st Apr 2004 05:02 UTC

WYSIWYG editors are great tools for the simple reason that it's faster and simpler to clean up code than it is to write it from scratch when you are making a site that's even remotely large or complex. The key is that the WYSIWYG editor must also have a great text/code editor. Dreamweaver does a great job with this.

Templates?
by Gonzalo on Wed 21st Apr 2004 05:38 UTC

I tried 0.1 and 0.2. They said 0.2 would be nicer on editing 'more than HTML', but I fed it some Smarty templates and it messed them up. I tried with different simbols but to no avail.

Can Nvu really be used to edit jsp/php/asp/templates/anythingOtherThanHtml? has anyone been successful?

It was also quite buggy and crash-prone. Still, I know it's beta and it looks interesting. I hope it gets better soon.

Thanks for comments...
by amiroff on Wed 21st Apr 2004 07:52 UTC

Thank you guys for your good comments about the review. Actually this is my very first article. I was at exam so I could not reply to the comments above, but I think most of them are clear now.

There are some problems with the article right now, so I put a temporary pdf version to my site for offline reading. http://www.amiroff.com/files/nvu.pdf

nice balanced review
by Andrew D on Wed 21st Apr 2004 11:56 UTC

no punches pulled, but no point scoring either. well done.

i had a quick look at nvu at 0.1 and might give 0.2 a look at the weekend because i could see it had potential. i'm not a big fan of wysiwyg editors... in fact i never use them for my work... but i know that i'm quite probably in a minority so good to see the choices being expanded.

about Nvu
by Daniel Glazman on Wed 21st Apr 2004 14:22 UTC

First Metin, thanks for having dropped a mail in my inbox about this article. I appreciate.
Second, I like your article, trying to really test the complex features of Nvu; and I like it even if you have quite negative comments ;-) Just remember me you owe me a beer next time we meet :-)

I am preparing a detailed answer to all the points you raised, but won't be in a position to post it today unfortunately. I am in San Diego to prepare the Desktop Linux Summit and will be very busy all day.

I just would like to add a short answer to avih's comment above : no, i AM not Disruptive Innovations. This is a company, and I am the founder. And the company is not reduced to my person. I am not paid by Lindows, my company contracts for them and it gets paid. Then my company pays me. The company worked with 2 freelance developers in the recent past and is about to hire a full-time developer. We have several new contracts ready to start and Lindows is only one of our customers.

My comments
by Daniel Glazman on Wed 21st Apr 2004 17:32 UTC

Finally found a few minutes to write those comments.
Available from http://glazman.org/weblog/index.php/2004/04/21/285-CommentsOnOsnews...

Re: anti-WYSIWIG elitism
by John on Wed 21st Apr 2004 20:00 UTC

- Complex layouts can be hell to code by hand, especially when you're dealing with tables (and nested tables and col/rowspan'ing).

But you shouldn't do that, unless you still need to support Netscape 4...


I totally agree with Spark here. Tables had their time. They can still be useful but not for creating layouts. CSS gives web developers a lot more power and are supported enough to be used.

I agree though that it might be very handy to have a tool to graphically design layouts. However, since NVu doesn't seem to have layer (div) support, it makes it a non-starter for me. ;)

I am developing Dynamic Architect ( http://www.dynamicarchitect.com ) which is totally WYSIWYG even for creating Dynamic JavaScript Code. Web developers may not agree with its philosophy but we believe anyone should be able to create its own web page, even if he/she doesn't like technology or doesn't want to spend time to learn complex languages and notions and worry about inter browsers incompatibilities. You may want to give it a try.

- Not all WYSIWYG editors are Microsoft FrontPage - Dreamweaver, for example, produces code that's pretty bearable.

I have to agree here, Macromedia has done a great work enhancing its generated code. However it is far from being able to correctly render all the CSS and is sooooo slow to load!

RE: Quanta and WYSIWYG
by Yes on Wed 21st Apr 2004 20:15 UTC

> I've tried Quanta under KDE 3.2, the latest version has
> WYSIWYG features, but damn it's soooo buggy!

There is no KDE 3.2. ;-) Do you mean KDE 3.2.0? A recent release of KDE is KDE 3.2.2 and I don't see any Quanta bugs.

> It seems to lack the advanced features that is already
> available in Quanta though. But Nvu is great for
> beginners.

Quanta's comprehensive HTML-,PHP-,Javascript documentation makes it suitable for beginners, too. With NVU a beginner gets frustrated, but with quanta he can do just anything and by the way learn HTML and PHP.

I'd love to try Dynamix Architect but...
by Robin Milleler on Thu 22nd Apr 2004 02:16 UTC

"I am developing Dynamic Architect ( http://www.dynamicarchitect.com ) which is totally WYSIWYG even for creating Dynamic JavaScript Code. Web developers may not agree with its philosophy but we believe anyone should be able to create its own web page, even if he/she doesn't like technology or doesn't want to spend time to learn complex languages and notions and worry about inter browsers incompatibilities. You may want to give it a try."

Sadly, this doesn't seem to be available for regular operating systems like Linux, only for Windows. I'll be happy to try it when a regular version comes out.

The interesting thing is...
by Leon Brooks on Thu 22nd Apr 2004 03:00 UTC

...that so early in its development cycle, someone is willing to compare Nvu with DreamWeaver at all. If I was MacroMedia, that would be a biiiig wakeup call for me! (-:

not Qt indeed
by Joeri on Thu 22nd Apr 2004 10:20 UTC

Nvu does indeed use xul, but xul is not a native toolkit. Xul uses gtk1/gtk2 on linux. Nvu, if I'm not mistaken, is built with gtk2.

Layer support is included
by Joshua on Thu 22nd Apr 2004 11:23 UTC

N|Vu has layer support, even if not very discoverable. It's the button on the narrower toolbar that looks sort-of like a note stuck with a thumbtack. The layers it makes are dragable and resizable with convenient handles.

Re: Quanta comments
by Eric Laffoon on Thu 22nd Apr 2004 16:42 UTC

I thought this was interesting to see what was happening with what I view as a "dead language" program. Several people did note that NVU is going after the old way of doing markup. I personally felt that pursuing a non XML/CSS/XSL approach, let alone not addressing PHP and other languages, would be a serious error and a sad legacy of my efforts.

We will be releasing a new BE version of Quanta within a week or so previewing new CSS tools and integration with Visual Page Layout mode as well as text mode. I would be very interested to see a comparison review of that release. Quanta can load any XML DTD on the fly for auto completion and validation in text mode and supports all modern XHTML DTDs in VPL mode. Future plans include XSLT based support for pure XML. I don't think NVU is foundationally equipped to compete on a professional developer level and my feedback is that Quanta is already good for new users (who are not afraid to learn) with context sensitive help and all the assists. It will only get easier in the future.

To the moron who is campaigning against Quanta because of the web site, we have a team of people working on a new site at kdewebdev.org, but taste is relative so no doubt you will be able to dislike it too. Much of the current site was done in HTML 3.2 by Alex and I think it sucked. I did some clean up and some visuals. Frankly I'm too busy in my spare time working on Quanta issues to futz with a site. However since you appear not to understand the fundamental concepts required to evaluate software I'm probably wasting my time explaining this to you... evaluate the latest release of the software to evaluate the software. Incredible work can be hand coded and the best tools can produce garbage, so the only place to evaluate output is from your own efforts... besides none of us will be making pages for you anyway.

RE: hmmm.... correction
by Scott Carr on Thu 22nd Apr 2004 17:16 UTC

NVu is built from the Mozilla suite of tools. You build NVu from Mozilla code with the STANDALONE_COMPOSER flag set.

You do not need QT on the system to do the build.

It runs on all systems that Mozilla Suite currently runs on. Windows and Linux included.

Nvu pro
by Daniel Glazman on Fri 23rd Apr 2004 13:41 UTC

Eric Laffoon wrote:

> I don't think NVU is foundationally equipped to compete on
> a professional developer level

Not for the moment, I agree on that, not for the moment...
And about the old way of doing markup, I just do not know what you mean with that and I recommend you follow forthcoming Nvu improvement on the CSS and layout side. You could be surprised.
By the way, the screenshot [1] is not exactly what I call a new way of doing markup, sorry to say... Quanta is much more than an editor, it's an IDE, and it's not wysiwyg. Nvu is not an IDE and it's wysiwyg, strictly wysiwyg, its rendering engine being Gecko.

[1] http://quanta.sourceforge.net/screens/be_attrib_edit.png