Software Review:Allaire's HomeSite 3.0
The testing doesn’t stop there. HomeSite also includes a spell-checker, link checker (which checks the validity of the URLs; you must be online at the time though), and a DocumentWeight tool which shows you approximately how long the document will take to download at 14.4, 28.8 and 57.6 baud rates. This worked well for pages with locally accessible images, but images with fully qualified URL sources (i.e. image src = "http://www.webdeveloper.com/wdev.gif") caused an error within the HomeSite program. Although it didn’t crash the program, it just would not work. Given that the version I reviewed is a beta, perhaps this is a bug which will be worked out for the full release. What other features does HomeSite 3.0 have for developers? How are these for starters?
HomeSite’s Tables tab enables developers to create tables by clicking on the individual buttons for table sections, such as TR and TD, and for those simple, basic tables, HomeSite features a FastTable button which allows the designer to click once, opening a drop-down visual guide (See Figure 3) which enables you to move the mouse up or down, and by clicking at a particular place, add the HTML code to the page you’re working on.
- A built-in file browser which allows you to select HTML pages by clicking on them. Double-clicking on them causes them to be opened up in the editor.
- The help documentation is available by clicking on the help tab, and by selecting the particular help topic, it appears in the lower pane of the file.
- The ability to import pages directly from the Web
- The ability to FTP whole projects to your Web server from within HomeSite.
- Color coded HTML source.
- Customizable toolbars
- The ability to search and replace within all opened documents
- The ability to convert text into HTML or the reverse
- The ability to browse, view and edit files on a remote server
- The ability to right mouse click and instantly add HTML tags to your code
- A Tag snippits window (tab) where you can store your own tags for future "instant" use one click on the FullScreen button and the editing area takes up all the screen architecture. Another click brings you back to the previous size.
Figure 3: The HomeSite FastTable utility As a Web developer and product reviewer, I’m so used to seeing products advertised as WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) that Allaire’s own acronym for HomeSite, "WYSIWYN" (what you see is what you need), took me by surprise. Just what did they mean "what you need?" After using HomeSite 3.0 for a while, I realized that they’d named the tool appropriately. This tool isn’t for those with no experience in HTML. It isn’t for those who want to create a Web page from scratch without doing any coding at all, although it is fully capable of creating Web pages using the many Wizards that are included. This HTML editor—and that’s what it is, an editor—is for professionals, people who care what their code looks like, people who actually like to work right in the HTML source. HomeSite 3.0 is a tool for developers who don’t wish to be limited to using basic HTML; those who want to learn and work with Dynamic HTML and Cascading Style Sheets right now.