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Issue 5.1



Issue: 5.1 (September/October 2006)
Author: Toby Rush
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,241
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 5107
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Coding web pages directly in HTML is not a horribly difficult prospect, but it requires some real patience and attention to detail. Back in the time of Adobe PageMill and Netscape Composer, coding in HTML was a much better prospect than wrestling with a so-called WYSIWYG editor. Nowadays, though, programs like Adobe GoLive give the web designer much better control, and HTML coding is comparatively time-consuming and tedious.

There are times, though, when messing with the raw HTML of a page is necessary. For that, an HTML editor like RAGE Software's WebDesign is a useful tool.

WebDesign is, at its core, a text editor, but it is designed to deal most effectively with HTML documents. HTML tags are automatically color-coded, necessary HTML structures are automatically created for new documents, and several features are included which simplify the process of dealing with the intricacies of HTML.

One of these features is the Tag Attributes window, which displays in tabular form the attributes of the currently selected tag. The arrangement is modeled after the REALbasic Properties window: you can change properties of the tag by editing the elements in the Attributes window, and even open a separate window for longer properties.

Another useful tool is the Preview window, which displays the HTML document as it would be displayed in a web browser. RAGE has made effective use here of the HTML rendering engine built into Mac OS X; even complicated pages utilizing advanced CSS features are rendered quickly and flawlessly.

A featured functionality of WebDesign is the Site Manager, which allows the web designer to organize HTML files into folders within the program. In the Site Manager window, new HTML files and folders can be created, and double-clicking on a file in the Site Manager opens that HTML file in WebDesign for editing.

The functionality provided by WebDesign is impressive -- an exhaustive review of the program's many tools and capabilities would take much more space than is available here -- but in some places there are some notable omissions. In the Site Manager; for example, moving an HTML file will not update links across the site to reflect the change, as Adobe GoLive's site manager will.

There are several places in the program where the interface is confusing. For example, WebDesign provides a tool palette containing often-used HTML structures; the icons are nicely made but unlabeled and sometimes difficult to figure out. There are many places which contain unlabeled controls that do not have tooltips, and require the user to click on them to figure out what they do. Several other places contain controls that are poorly spaced or out of alignment; these tend to stick out, especially since so much effort has gone into other elements of the interface.

WebDesign occupies a difficult niche; it is hard not to compare it to a heavy-hitter like Adobe GoLive, against which WebDesign pales in comparison. But RAGE Software no doubt intends WebDesign to be a low-cost alternative for those who can't afford Adobe's program, and in that light it is a very feature-rich application with a lot of potential.

End of article.