HTML-Ed v0.94b- by Chris Wenham

HTML-Ed is a beautifully small and elegant little program that, like a Yorkshire Terrier, packs a lot into a tiny package. As a professional Web designer who swears away from most HTML editors like they were tools of the devil, this one won my heart and my registration money for a few simple but excellent reasons.

Reason #1: It's Small

I use the Workplace Shell to its max. I'm document centric; that is, my applications stay hidden in an applications folder and I do my real work in my documents folders, dragging templates left and right and double clicking data files, not program objects. What I want from an editor above all else is loading speed. I want to double-click and bang!, have my editor open. HTML-Ed is only about 67K -- slightly smaller than the System Editor (which is 71k) -- and can load instantly upon double-clicking an .html file.

Not only that, but it's written in C, meaning fast execution time as well. This is a far cry from other HTML editors that are written in Visual REXX. They're not bad, but the operating system must load the huge VROBJ.DLL file which is nearly a megabyte in size. Also, REXX is an interpreted language, is designed for simple scripting and prototypes, and is not really optimized for speed. It's the OS/2 equivalent of Visual Basic for Windows.

Reason #2: It's Simple

HTML-Ed hasn't got a fancy button toolbar (GIF, 10k) within 100 miles of it. Like most HTML coders, I know most of the HTML language so GUI tidbits don't help me in any way. HTML-Ed still has all of the HTML 2.0 tags and selected 3.0 tags readily available in the menus though, but the greatest convenience is that so many are assigned to keystroke combinations. HTML-Ed is designed to be keyboard driven.

For example, I emphasized keyboard driven just by pressing Ctrl-e. HTML-Ed inserted the <EM> and </EM> tags and positioned the cursor between them, ready for me to type. Alternatively, I could have just highlighted the text I wanted to emphasize with the mouse (or keyboard, using the Shift, Ctrl and arrow keys) and then pressed Ctrl-e.

It makes me faster than I was with System Editor, not only because the program itself is fast, but because the interface lends itself to fast HTML coding.

Reason #3: Built-in Previewer

HTML-Ed comes with a built-in previewer (GIF, 9k) that lets you preview your HTML pages, loading all graphics, backgrounds, tables etc. and displaying them exactly as they would look in WebExplorer. Plus, this previewer loads lightning fast as well and displays within the HTML-Ed window itself.

"Okay," you say, "The program's only 60K and it includes all the routines for loading .GIF and .JPG images, backgrounds, formatting, forms, fonts and all other features of a high-end graphical web browser? Something funny is going on."

Yup!

When IBM designed the WebExplorer, they put the main browsing engine into a set of .DLL files (Dynamic Link Libraries) and used a standard API which they then made available to programmers. What HTML-Ed does is load these .DLL files to provide its built-in previewer. It only loads them on demand (when you hit the "Test!" option on the menu) so it doesn't slow down the program's load time. This also means that any time Web Explorer is updated to a new version, so is HTML-Ed's previewer! You can test the latest HTML tags and features of WebExplorer (even Java) and never have to wait for a new version of HTML-Ed to become available. It's one programmer's smarts taking advantage of another company's design wisdom.

Since it uses WebExplorer's guts to provide this previewer, you can also follow links around your pages to make sure they're all in working order. It all happens in seconds, with no need to wait for the whole Web Explorer to load.

By the way, look for this trick being used in other products as well. The Internet Adventurer (still in Beta, but available on hobbes for download) uses the WebExplorer DLL to provide its own web browser. IBM's own NetComber does the same thing, as do a few other web browsers still in beta testing. This is a stroke of genius on IBM's part, since any developer can make a better browser interface and not have to build a complete browser engine from scratch.

All the other bits

HTML-Ed borrowed a trick from EPM (The Enhanced Editor that comes with OS/2): Ring Editing. Ring Editing is simple, you load several files into the editor at once and flip back and forth through them on a "ring", much like Rolodex files. In the titlebar are two extra buttons, one for flipping backwards through the ring, the other for flipping forwards. You can bring up a list of all the files on the ring too if you need to go directly to a specific one.

HTML-Ed packs an assortment of useful gadgets that HTML jockeys often need. It can convert all uppercase tags to lowercase, or vice-versa (useful for keeping a uniform style). It can also convert all "\" characters to "/" characters. It can even strip all HTML tags out of a file completely, for when you need to give someone an ASCII version of your page.

Conclusions

This is probably the one and only HTML editor that deserves to be called an HTML editor. Some claim to be WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors of HTML, yet conveniently forget to tell you that the World Wide Web is not WYSIWYG. Others are good for beginners, but spend a lot of time loading fluff that experienced coders don't need. Last but not least, HTML-Ed has an UNDO feature, which is great for saving the bacon of world-class twits like me.
 * HTML-Ed v0.94b
by Ian Prest
MSRP: US$20
Chris Wenham is a Team OS/2er in Binghamton, NY with a catchy-titled company -- Wenham's Web Works. He has written comedy, sci-fi, HTML, Pascal, C++ and now writes software reviews.

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