My Mac is loaded with tools; editors, utilities, applications—some, such as GraphicConverter are general tools, others, such as Transmit, handle specific needs. Amaya may have a place in that tool Box. Or not.
Not? Amaya’s most redeeming quality is the price. It’s free. Alexis is prepping for mommyhood so I’ve been tapped to find a Friday Freebie. Amaya is free.
Another redeeming quality is that Amaya is Open Source and comes from W3C, the international consortium which helps develop standards for the World Wide Web.
Amaya is an interesting tool that appears to have been developed by committee. That means it’s a messy application that may do the job, but doesn’t do it in an elegant manner.
For the most part, Amaya is not a web page editor like any editor you’ve seen recently on the Mac. It’s clumsy to use, non-intuitive, and reeks of early OS X Carbon applications, despite getting started in life back in 1996.
If you need to check a web page for standards compliance, say, XHTML and CSS, both of which are all the rage among web designers these days, Amaya can do that.
Enter a URL and Amaya grabs the web page, checks the code against standards set by the W3C, then displays any errors or warnings.
That’s a good thing, as it helps to validate web page code for compliance.
Even this relatively straightforward process sports an odd implementation. For example, when an error or warning is found, Amaya displays the line number in the code.
That’s all well and good except there’s no way to scroll the code to the right to find the offending item. Find the line number, place the cursor there, then it’s right arrow, right arrow, right arrow, ad nauseum…
Someone in the committee forgot to add a scroll bar at the bottom where the code is displayed, but has one at the top where the web page is displayed. Go figure.
Amaya is not without other issues. The browser displays the web page, but it may not be the web page other browsers see and display.
Even standards compliant web pages often do not get displayed properly in Amaya, resulting in a jumble of columns, misplaced graphics, and other oddities, which render usefulness less than useful.
One feature I like is the ability to click on a section of the page in the browser and see the line number of the code below. That’s handy.
Amaya is a web editor on the order Nvu or Mozilla, but with less capability to create web pages quickly, (other than that provided by entering all your code by hand, something you can accomplish with TextEdit).
The left column tool bar leaves much to be desired and gives the impression of tools stacked without regard to which would be used the most vs. the least.
The end result is that most Mac users will look at Amaya and take the path of least resistance. And move on to another web page editor.
That’s too bad, because Amaya struggles to provide tools, plenty of tools. They’re just out of reach, or hidden.
The tool bar, long a staple of Mac applications (the customizable tool bar being a hallmark of Panther and Tiger), is a bare minimum. Pull down menus give more options than the tool bar or the left column.
Ah, the column of tools. It should be renamed the Alley of Fools. If you can figure out how to use all that’s stacked in the left column, you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din.
The only familiar tool in the column is the scroll bar. Everything else smacks of Classic Mac OS pre-Platinum, let alone the juicy goodness of what makes a Mac OS X application, circa 2006.
To be fair, you can create standards compliant XHTML and CSS, though the effort probably isn’t worth the result. There are far too many Mac web page editors that will do the same, do it much easier, with better results, though none for less money.
It’s hard to beat free, but if your time means anything, anything at all, (and remember, you’re not getting any younger) use Amaya for building a web page only as an example to others on which tools to avoid.
Amaya is bewildering. Not because it doesn’t compare well to Nvu, or the many free applications for building web pages, though it doesn’t. It’s bewildering because there’s such a need for a simple WYSIWYG editor that complies to standards.
Xylscope shows such promise. Apple provides the web kit tools for displaying web pages properly. Why wasn’t that used in Amaya?
I can only conclude that Amaya is a true committee production (in the negative sense; some committees may actually produce something worthwhile).
I’ll applaud W3C for finally getting Amaya to OS X last year, but the whole project is about five years behind where it should be in the marketplace. You’d almost think that Microsoft’s Vista programmers had worked on Amaya in their spare time.
Amaya 9.5 is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, and brings standards compliance via HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.x, CSS, even MathML, though users will struggle to bring those standards into a web site using Amaya.
As a platform, the Mac has plenty of quality web browsers, excellent editors and web tools, and a growing developer community producing exciting applications.
Amaya is not one of them. It’s prom night. The gym is full. The homely Amaya is late to the party and didn’t bring a date.