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BRIEFLY: A look at some tools for hand coders

PLATFORM: Windows/Mac

BBEdit updated, HTML Editors...
Some news for old-school coders
Words urban75 © August 2007

Old school web authors who remain unimpressed with market leader Dreamweaver's visual approach to building pages might be interested in the latest update to the BBEdit text editor, made by Bare Bones Software.

BBEdit is for those folks that like to get under the hood when it comes to coding, and with its full suite of HTML text editing capabilities onboard it won't be slipping in bits of unwanted code a la Dreamweaver.

Now up to version 8.7, the latest version of the Mac-only BBEdit adds up to a significant update, offering support for the Lua programming language and the ability to use Finder-based Smart Folders as sources for Text Factory and multi-file search operations.

The new release also remembers what documents were in use when the program was closed, automatically reopening them the next time the program is launched.

The latest version retails for US$125, or is available as a free upgrade for BBEdit 8.5 and 8.6 users.


Homesite For PC: HTML EditorsHomesite 5.5 (Windows)

Windows users looking for similar levels of hands-on functionality might want to take a look at the long serving Homesite 5.5.

Although cruelly neglected by its current owners, Adobe, Homesite still rates as one of the very best HTML web editing packages on any platform, offering a highly customisable editing environment backed by macros, projects, powerful search and replace tools and code-checking add-ons.

Coupled with the powerful TopStyle CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) editor - arguably the best style sheet editor on the planet - and the useful HTML Validator, there's enough power on tap to create world beating websites.

This combination has long been our weapon of choice and comes thoroughly recommended to authors who like to stay in control of their code and are fed up dealing with the trigger-happy coding excesses seen on many 'advanced' visual editors.


HTML Editors: Freeloader optionsFollowing coverage earlier in the week of the updates to BB Edit and Homesite 5.5, here we look at the freeloader options.

If you're keen to work in a text based environment but the wallet is only home to a few flapping moths, there's loads of freebie HTML text editors worthy of a look.

Despite its rough and ready website, the Danish Stone's WebWriter looks to be a very capable and lightweight program, while the long running First Page enjoys a wide following.

Advanced users may be interested in the open source Aptana, a robust, JavaScript-focused IDE for building dynamic web applications.

Based on the Mozilla platform and its Gecko layout engine, the multi-platform, open source Nvu comes with CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and JavaScript support and offers a WYSIWYG editing environment for folks who like that sort of thing.

Homesite HTML web editor review
Group test of WYSIWYG web editors

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