What started this review? I was browsing through MacUpdate and found the latest version of Rapidweaver, downloaded it, and read a few of the posted comments. This one caught my eye as no one had responded to it yet.
“Tommy Pavlicek – developer of Site Studio:
“I have to say that there is a rather interesting story between the new rapid weaver plus and Site Studio. About a week, week and a half before release I started advertising Site Studio in my iChat name.
Unknown to me, Mark Davis had me in his iChat list, well I knew, but I thought he abandonded that name and didn’t think he could do anything. Well, he saw it and snooped through my beta folder and found a beta. He and that Daniel guy at Realmac Software threw the Rapidweaver plus beta together and release it on the Thursday before I released mine and claimed that they have been working on it for six months and that I was a back stabbing beta tester.
Interestingly enough dotsw.com was hacked on tuesday and thus my release went from wednesday to friday. But anyways, enough about that.”
Legitimate issues or not, I can’t say. I decided to download Site Studio to check out the similarities (hence a review on HTML editors). Site Studio and Rapidweaver have similarities. A few. Both are quick at creating attractive web pages using themes. Both are intuitive and low cost.
I’ve used Rapidweaver many times and collected most of the available themes. If you want to produce attractive web sites and don’t want to dig deep into HTML, XHTML, or CSS, Rapidweaver is a good buy. Back in November I did a review of Rapidweaver. Click Here to read it.
Though it shows promise as an HTML web page editor, Site Studio, on the other hand, hasn’t been updated in many months and crashed a few times. Stability is important to me. There were not as many templates available as with Rapidweaver, though they, too, were attractive.
Site Studio is intuitive, and stability issues aside, seems to work OK and creates competent web pages (I did not check the HTML code it generated).
Still, that got me to thinking, “what else is out there?” I’m not going to mention Dreamweaver (Macromedia) or Adobe’s GoLive, as they’re in a different league altogether. It’s a price you’ll pay for full site, multi-site, cooperative editing management. Both are expensive.
I’ll leave BBEdit off the list, too. I use BBEdit. I use it a lot. It’s never failed me. But there are faster ways to create web pages than line at a time. As an aside, I use Dreamweaver for HTML tables. Click, click, click. Done.
A quick search on MacUpdate for “HTML editors” will turn up more than you need, some free, some not, many quite good. Here’s my list of the later.
Taco HTML Edit 1.7
I like this little editor. It’s not fancy and there aren’t many tools, so it assumes you have some knowledge of HTML (or CSS or PHP, as needed) but it renders pages using Apple’s Safari rendering engine.
Click Here for a look at what 4 Stars and Free will get you.
Back in the Mac OS 9.x days, this was one of my main editors. It’s still very good and boasts many excellent features, and menu selections. For $30 you’ll get an HTML editor that’ll keep you busy in page building for years.
As with many editors, PageSpinner assumes you have knowledge of HTML and CSS, otherwise the learning curve is much different than with Rapidweaver, which assumes you don’t know HTML/CSS et al. Click Here for a review of PageSpinner. For money you get 5 Stars.
This HTML web page editor has improved rapidly. Tag is fast, giving you quick “live” previews of your code changes (even BBEdit doesn’t do that; sometimes I have to refresh). The newest version has a nifty “auto complete” feature.
Tag also handles CSS and stores code chunks in snippets. It’s more intutive and your $20 will get you 4 Stars. Click Here to check out more detail.
As I went through the list of HTML editors on MacUpdate what struck me right away was how many editors were listed. And how many hadn’t been updated recently.
I don’t mind trying out new or up-and-coming applications for the Mac, but no update in a few months (or six months, or a year, or two years) is a sure sign to avoid that software.
The above isn’t a comprehensive list. I could have mentioned the HTML editor embedded in Mozilla. It’s a bit slow, but the features are there and the generated code is decent. It still feels like Windows.
Also, I didn’t neglect to mention Freeway (I’m mentioning it now). It’s been around awhile and receives regular updates. It appears to have more features than Rapidweaver, but that comes with more complexity.
Freeway has both a Lite and Pro version. Even the Lite version will set you back $100 (one hundred reasons why I haven’t tried it out, despite the trial), and the Pro version is a whopping $250. Click Here to check on Freeway Pro (there is a try-before-you-buy period).
One of the Not Quite Ready For Prime Time Players is Nvu 0.80 from Daniel Glazman. Nvu uses the Firefox engine and is WYSIWYG with a number of attractive features. Click Here for Daniel’s attractive site.
Finally, it boils down to this. No one editor does everything I need to create HTML web pages, so I use a few. Rapidweaver for web logs that need near instant development. BBEdit for the tough code and validation checks. Dreamweaver or PageSpinner for tables. CSSEdit and StyleMaster for CSS editing.
Your mileage may vary.
What’s your choice? Do you have a favorite web page editor? Why? Share your thoughts and experience with other Mac readers and click the Comments link below.
Here’s what I’m looking for in an HTML editor. First, stability. It just can’t crash. No one likes to do things over again. Second, point and click. I want to get tables in a click or two. Third, hints. An HTML editor has to provide a few hints or examples for nearly everything.
Validation is handy, too. More and more I’m working with XHTML code that must be validated. Make it easy. Same with CSS as it goes hand in hand with XHTML.
Finally, live preview. That’s a must these days. As I change code, I want to see the results. Is that a tall order? Maybe that’s why I’m using multiple tools.
tera gram At the suggestion of a reader, I downloaded WebDesign from RageSoftware and gave it a whirl. This one is more work than Rapidweaver but also provides more control over pages as you see the HTML as you build web pages. The price is nominal, though features are about the same as the free version of Mozilla.
I’d like to see a good editor with a live preview that combines CSS and XHTML.