& Publishing _/_ DT&G _/_ 97 Awards _/_ Photoshop _/_ WEB _/_ Bookshelf
Our favorite is:
Symantec Visual Page
- 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/
- ...back to the Awards
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