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Building HTML 5 and CSS 3 capabilities into modern Web applications is about to get easier for developers, thanks to the release of ActiveState’s Komodo 6 IDE .

Komodo 6 also includes support for the latest iterations of development languages, including Python 3, Perl 5.12 and Tcl 8.6. Improvements to remote server connections, database connectivity and project flow also make their debut in Komodo 6.

The new release builds on the Mozilla Framework used in the Firefox 3.5 Web browser to deliver faster speeds. Komodo 6 debuts as work on finalizing the HTML 5 standard continues and Web developers try to grapple with the new capabilities.

“This is a major release for us and we’ve put over a year and half of development into it,” Jeff Hobbs, director of engineering at ActiveState, told “Komodo 6 starts a lot faster, and in the new features department HTML 5 and CSS 3 are supported, which are becoming more and more popular and used for Web development.”

HTML 5 is still not a complete standard, and implementation can vary across different browser vendors.

“While there are differences in HTML 5 implementations there is a base recommended set of features,” Hobbs said.

From the Komodo 6 perspective, the key enabler for HTML 5 is including auto-complete for tags, he explained. With auto-complete, Komodo 6 will be able to alert developers to close a tag as they are typing.

However, Hobbs believes that CSS 3 is the more relevant piece for IDE users than the nascent HTML 5 specifications.

“CSS 3 is probably a bit more of the style dynamic side of HTML 5 and that is standardized,” Hobbs said. “So Komodo has the full knowledge of what makes a correct CSS 3 document and what the correct properties are for certain items.”

Hobbs added that Komodo 6 also includes code tidbits for color codes and other CSS attributes that can help enable developers to use CSS properly and efficiently.

Beyond HTML and CSS, Komodo 6 includes a new database explorer that provides extended support, allowing developers to more easily to connect to data.

“A lot of a developer’s work is about dealing with data and sometimes the logic errors aren’t in the code, but the data isn’t what you expected,” Hobbs said. “Komodo 6 extends the view beyond the code into the data with the database explorer.”

He added that Komodo 6 also debuts a revamped project system that makes remote connection more stable and reliable.

Built on Mozilla

Komodo is built on top of the Mozilla Framework, and the 6.0 release is using the same sources as Firefox 3.5. Hobbs noted that Komodo is able to leverage the speed and performance improvement from Mozilla’s technology. The previous Komodo 5 release was based on the Firefox 3.0 Mozilla Framework sources.

“It’s not just XULRunner. It is kind of like a modified version of Firefox,” Hobbs said.

Komodo 6 is a full IDE available under a commercial license, but it has some of its roots in the Open Komodo open source effort. The Open Komodo project is funneled into ActiveState’s product portfolio as Komodo Edit 6, which is a freely available Web development code editor product.

“The editor (Komodo Edit) is a great multi-language editor with core code intelligence and project management,” Hobbs said. “But everything that then reaches out into other pieces then becomes the IDE for the integrated part, including debugging, source code control integration, the new database explorer, unit testing and HTTP inspector features.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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