Unfortunately, you also have to include SeaMonkey into the package – you can't get them separately – and added to that, you can't simply launch Composer from the Applications menu, because it's only accessible once you've launched SeaMonkey.

If you're only planning to use Composer occasionally, and can stand the launch irritation, then you might just find that it's sufficient. However, we wouldn't recommend using it to create a multi-page site with a full complement of links to hither, thither and everywhere; instead it's for holding pages and simple HTML documents.

Verdict: Good for basic ad-hoc editing, but it's really showing its age. 4/10

The winner: Bluefish

We were pretty up front from the start – we didn't expect to find any Dreamweaver killers among the crowd assembled here, and we weren't disappointed in this respect. The programs we did find covered a fairly wide potential user base though, and gave us reason to feel hopeful about the future.

We realise that an application such as Dreamweaver has been built over many years, and also has the significant backing of a major software company with a gigantic R&D budget. However, if you're in the market for a graphical web editor, most of the applications that we've covered can plug the gap in one way or another.

Let's start with Amaya; we can see the promise of this application, but wouldn't want to use it for anything other than checking the quality of our HTML code. The technical problems we encountered lead us to pretty much dismiss it out of hand – your mileage may vary, but we were immensely frustrated with the frequent lockups.

Next, we come to Composer, which has been around for a long time and hasn't had any significant changes since it launched. However, it can be useful for very simple editing jobs on an infrequent basis and might be a good place for absolute beginners to start. The only real issue is its reliance on an installed copy of a SeaMonkey, which is a minor annoyance rather than a burden.

Screem is an advanced editor and only really suitable for advanced programmers – it's very good at what it does, but it's far too focused for mainstream use. Kompozer swings the other way, trying to accommodate newbies and not irritate more advanced users – a good middle ground option, but not an outstanding reason to recommend it.

Quanta Plus also works very well, providing a number of useful features such as tag auto-completion, and HTML, XHTML and PHP support.

However, our winner has to be Bluefish, because it provides the best all-round package. The interface is mildly annoying and there's no way to access a preview within the application, but beyond that its excellent reference material and inherent versatility make it a valuable tool for both new and experienced developers alike.

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First published in Linux Format, Issue 115

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