I love a bargain. If Mac applications were stacked at a garage sale, I’m the one date you want to take shopping.
If you build web pages then you need standards-based tools. This one is good and free and solves a long-standing problem.
The problem, besides the fact that there’s twenty-gazillion solutions to building web pages? XHTML and CSS.
For whatever reason, there’s no single, inexpensive editor solution that does a good job integrating both. Is that necessary?
Yes. To keep Microsoft from abusing their monopoly power against web standards, XHTML and CSS become design tools of necessity. If your web site isn’t XHTML validated and you’re not using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), then you should.
Expensive web building tools such as Macromedia’s Dreamweaver and Adobe’s Go Live (take out a second mortgage for each) have plenty of features yet neither does a credible job of giving you quick access to tools for both XHTML and CSS development of pages.
A simple editor called SEEdit mini does just that. Think of SEEdit mini as BBEdit with a focus on building web pages and without the fancy price tag.
In fact, true to my desire to find good bargains, SEEdit mini price tag doesn’t exist; it’s free. It does XHTML and CSS with a simple, effective interface and a competent charm that grows on you.
After twenty minutes of using SEEdit I was thinking, “Where have these developers been? This is good…” It is.
Mac users seem to like applications with palettes. SSEdit mini has plenty but the focus is always on generating clean, XHTML validated code, and clean, integrated CSS.
Open up SEEdit mini and select File > New. What you get is a nice list of all the HTML/XHTML/CSS file types that make up a validated blank document. XHTML 1.1, Transitional, Standard CSS, etc.
For CSS, you may elect to include the cascading style sheet within the document or create a standalone CSS file that links to the XHTML/HTML document. Click, click. Done.
Once you’ve set up a basic XHTML file and linked it to a basic CSS file, you can have both on screen at the same time in separate palettes.
The SEEdit mini’s tool bar features basic browser’s to use as the life preview of your code. Safari. Mozilla. Firefox. Even the dreaded and despised Microsoft Internet Explorer.
The palettes are another story, and I’ll go on record as saying I’m not fond of palettes. It’s that whole left brain, right brain thing. I prefer my tools in the same page as the document.
That noted, I had no trouble using the basic XHTML and CSS palettes; in fact, the “snippet” palettes become very valuable as you add sections of XHTML and CSS code to each. To insert into a document, just select and double-click.
SEEdit didn’t skimp on the Preferences, either. Set a document with Unix, Windows, or Mac linebreaks, specific File and Text creators, File extension, there’s even the ability to set up specific code ‘Quick Search’ options making it easy to get to XHTML, CSS, and PHP scripts.
How does SEEdit mini compete and compare with other editors for web page design? Generally BBEdit will do much more but also costs just under $200. TextWrangler is free and an excellent editor but doesn’t provide the attention to XHTML and CSS as does SEEdit.
Among other editors designed purely for web page construction, only TacoHTML comes close.
For the moment, the new contender, SEEdit mini gets my vote as the best free web page editor. $30 gets you SEEdit maxi which has loads of additional editor features, including a “live” preview (ala BBEdit’s, which I love), quick insert of CSS into the XHTML document, and line numbers (very handy).
As of now, there’s no single web page editing tool that does it all perfectly, not even the expensive, feature-laden Dreamweaver.