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Question on WYSIWYG
html editing programs

Dawn writes:

[ Quote ]

I just read your review of HTML editors, and whilst I've not used Symantec's Visual Page ( and so cannot quibble with its effectiveness or no), I must say that I found the review rather shortsighted to consider the product's efficacy based primarily on the ability of middle school children to master it.
Whilst the ability of newcomers to HTML to readily adapt to a piece of software is certainly a measure of its worth, so is the product's ability to conform to the needs of more advanced users.
__ Indeed, one could say there are really two markets--one for the neophytes and one for those of us who have spent many a day refining those pages because the existing set of so-called WYSIWYG editors can't "do it all" even by a long stretch, and not necessarily a fault of their own, fail to account for the differences between the two major browsers.
__ For example, I have tried out NetObjects. I found it really quite impressive in many ways, however, it has some significant drawbacks. First and foremost is it's heavy reliance on excessive table codes, making it near to impossible to edit the code manually to refine it, and rendering all sorts of extra HTML that increases rendering time. But more than that, it is good only for certain types of formats--complicated formats can be near to impossible to generate. 
PageMill only suffers from much worse inhibitions, and FrontPage is nigh on impossible to set up and again is far from the WYSIWYG capabilities it pretends to have.
__ Your review suggests that a closer look at Visual Page could be worthwhile, but told me nothing about the issues close to my heart, and close to the hearts of many folks who must produce web pages as part of their job functions.
I would not go so far as to call myself a designer, but I must be able to produce web pages within a reasonable time span so as not to end up without a penny to my name.
__ Your review should have been clearly libeled as one for the HTML beginner--maybe next time, you could come up with some qualifiers that would be more meaningful to professional or experienced users.

Respectfully yours,  
Dawn Campbell
Accord Systems Group Ltd.
Excellent comments, Dawn, and very well put.

You're right -- a longer article could have put some meat behind those claims. We apologize for the shortness of our articles. Many times we're editing back to keep the issue under livable download sizes.
__ Visual Page is an excellent program for the beginner, however, it also represents the best bang for the buck for experienced users. The only html errors that VP has generated in all our test pages were those we put in there ourselves. You won't find baggy code in a VP page. We use BBEdit's HTML Check, and NetMechanic to sniff out the mistakes and they are always our fault. The only mistake we've been able to catch them on is VP's neglecting to insert a "Close Form" tag. Although the forms still worked okay, the html checkers balked on that one... and it's been fixed in version 1.01.
__ Let me also quickly note that the middle-school student example was only used to illustrate the elegance of VP's interface and programming. When everything in a program is where it's supposed to be, and does what it's expected to do -- intuitively -- that makes it better software for middle-schoolers and seasoned professionals as well.

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