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Quanta Plus review

An open source, Linux-based web development package that’s crammed with features. Sukrit Dhandhania takes Quanta Plus for a test drive…

Quanta Plus 01

Quanta Plus

Pros: Quanta Plus is fast, stable, and filled with very useful features. It’s probably the best web IDE for Linux available today
Cons: Although it is packed with features, there are some basic ones missing –
such as support for SVN

Quanta Plus 01

Quanta Plus is an open source web development package from the KDE team. The software has a simple and clean user interface and, though it’s not packed with features, it has pretty much everything one would expect of a web IDE. We have been in search of a good Linux-based alternative to some of the cool web development tools for the Mac and for the Windows platforms. Let’s look at some of the features that make Quanta Plus a force to reckon with in this space.
Quanta Plus supports multiple views of your document as you are working on it. You can use it in code mode, WYSIWYG mode, or use the DOM tree mode. We like this choice as it allows you some flexibility – you can switch between views while working on the document. Quanta Plus also allows you to split your workspace into two views. You can work on the code in one half while having the WYSIWYG mode displayed in the other half. This is neat because you get a preview of changes as you make them in your code, without having to save the file or launch a web browser.
Quanta Plus supports syntax highlighting for HTML, JavaScript, XML, PHP, Perl and other languages. It also does a suggestive autocompletion of your code as you type it out, suggesting possible values for tags and closing the tags for you. We have used autocompletion in both HTML and PHP in several IDEs. The support for these features in Quanta Plus is right up there with the best that we have used. Another great feature of Quanta Plus is that it not only offers autocompletion for your syntax in PHP, but it also has a complete indexing of functions in the DOM view and tie-ins for a real-time PHP debugger.
-Quanta Plus users get pretty much everything they need to build and deploy their website or web application, all under one roof. With support for CVS, FTP, a diff tool and other features, this makes for a great one-stop-shop web development tool for Linux. It also allows you to create and manage projects, which is great if you
are developing a large website. One major feature that appears to be missing is support for SVN, which is the modern replacement for CVS. This is a very big drawback in our book.
There’s a Quanta Plus Handbook that ships with the tool which is quite helpful. It’s available under the Help menu. Aside from this, documentation for HTML, CSS, PHP and JavaScript is also bundled into the application.
For us, this is one of the most important features of a web development tool. An application that has a big community following, or a good set of designers and developers as part of their team, will provide their users with great-looking templates and plug-ins to help them kick off their work. Being an open source project and part of the KDE project, Quanta Plus has a pretty sizable community following and has  number of plug-ins and templates ready for download.

A big advantage that Quanta Plus has over some of its rivals on the Linux platform is that it is part of the KDE project, and as a result it has great integration with the KDE user interface. Even the speed with which it operates is quite impressive considering some of the features it has to offer.

Verdict: 3/5
All in all, we see Quanta Plus as a web development tool that’s almost there. Given some more time and a steady growth to its user base, this software can become the best free alternative to the IDEs that cost hundreds of dollars.
Sukrit Dhandhania

This article originally appeared in issue 84 of Linux User & Developer magazine.
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