1997 Best AwardDesign & Publishing _/_ DT&G _/_ 97 Awards _/_ Photoshop _/_ WEB _/_ Bookshelf

Our favorite is:
Symantec Visual Page

Symantec VisualPage
We've gotten hundreds (maybe thousands) of requests over the past three years from designers, developers and in-house publicists, all wanting to know the best HTML editor to use. We've reviewed them all from the earliest versions of PageMill, through a plethora of shareware programs, to Hot Metal and GoLive.

There are programs that do lots and lots, and there are programs that just do it. You've heard us talk about BBEdit, which is still our stand-by, all-time favorite code crunching tool. But for the most stable, full-featured, down-right nice, WYSIWYG HTML authoring program, Visual Page stands alone in the field.
__ You read our review earlier this year, and VP had been delivered just under the wire for last year's awards. We're still testing and discovering things about VP but don't take our word for it. The best endorsement any software package can get is testing with novices. We tested Symantec's Visual Page with some middle-school students and they were turning out absolutely perfect web pages within a few hours. Try that with Front Page -- sit some 13 to 15 year-olds down, tell them to double-click then check back in an hour or so.
__ Visual Page's intuitive interface is it's cornerstone. Everything is exactly as it should be. It also happens to be one of the most stable and full-featured WYSIWYG editors available -- pages created in Visual Page continually get the green light from BBEdit's HTML checker! Try PageMill, GoLive or Claris Home Page with that acid test and you'll see what I'm talking about.
__ Although Visual Page does have tool bars and pull-down menus, the primary development can be accomplished with drag-n-drop, or key commands. There are several floating palettes to deal with (which I don't like) but they're elegantly designed, (at least) and usable with a keystroke.
__ The most important feature is the Site Window. As long as you have your Site window open, you can move around your site, dragging and dropping files, links, graphics, anchors, and even pages, while keeping everything tidy and well connected. Better yet, the Site Window fully supports FTP, and you can drag and drop into and out of the live web site.
__ The Site Window is made so much better by the fact that VP is very elegantly designed. There's nothing to get in the way of streamlined control... no decoration or trendy map strings. (Some of those programs are so overloaded with decoration and visual junk we're amazed anyone can use them!)
__ We could easily write three pages of features and benefits of Visual Page, but we're running out of space. We could talk about the ability to instantaneously format spreadsheets, pasted or dragged from another application... or VPs wonderful image map editor... or the quick and easy anchor linking, or complete auto sizing of images, dynamic resizing of QuickTime movies, or it's stable support for inline media, Java applets and Shockwave files.
__ On the down side, the documentation is sparse. They're now shipping books with the program, but they're very thin books. The original had NO documentation other than an online HTML suite of tutorials. (Which were very good, by the way.) However if you've seen 13 and 14 year olds churning out perfect web pages without even cracking a book, you'll understand why I'm not going to complain. My one big complaint is the fact that it doesn't always clean up after itself -- sometimes snatches of Links or HTML code is left in the text file when the user thinks they've deleted it. But that just takes discipline.
__ For the price of a dinner on the town for four, Visual Page is a MUST for anyone building web pages. Even if you own one of the big-boys, you'll soon find yourself booting VP all the time. It's trim, requires little memory, and always works. It's simply the one to get.
Visual Page is from Symantec -- http://www.symantec.com/ -- (408)253-9600

...back to the Awards Index

Design & Publishing _/_ DT&G _/_ Photoshop _/_ WEB _/_ Bookshelf


PLEASE Don't forget to take a look at the Trademarks and Copyright information contained in the Legal document, here in the Design & Publishing Center!



DT&G: The Electronic Journal for Design, Typography & Graphics
c/o Showker Graphic Arts, 15 SouthGate, Harrisonburg, VA 22801 (703) 433-8402
Showker@Graphic-Design.com -- on the America Online system: DTG News

Thank you for visiting http://www.graphic-design.com/DTG/Best/
Contents Copyright (c) 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 DT&G Magazine, and The Design & Publishing Center. Reproduction or reuse of parts or all of this manuscript without prior written permission is expressly forbidden.