HtmlTool 3.02 - review

Regrettably, I have now (5-9-2000) gone back to the earlier version of Htmltool [1.6.4d -c.1997] due to the "bugginess" of the present version. The new version has many excellent features which I would like to keep, but the constant jumping of the text (right to left) and the "ghost" copies of selected pages loading outside the program window and the default "return to top or bottom of page on save" ... have taken their toll. Hasta la vista Htmltool 3.02, the old free one is, alas, better.

I   
just obtained (January 2000) my registration for Lorenz Graf's HtmlTool 3.02 (presently $19)after having used HtmlTool 1.6.4d for about 3 years (it was free).

Because this is the main program I use ... and I am very happy with it ... I decided to review it in case anyone else is looking for a good text editor.

If you want to learn html code or already know it, this is the program to use. If you want to design by sight rather than code you want something else ... probably much more expensive and it will bloat your documents with excessive code to accomplish what you need done. [I once saw the code output from one of these (wysiwyg editors) and was appalled.]

The features that I most like are:

  • the spell checker that puts a squiggly red line under misspellings and whatever the dictionary doesn't recognize. I found right off an extra "s" in necesssary on my home page which must have been there for 2 years. [now fixed]
  • On my 19" monitor I can use the IE5 preview window and see immediately how it looks instead of having to save and reload IE5 separately.
  • There is an upload utility which I may try (but I don't think that it will beat WSftpPro Exp which is about as easy as it can get. However, if you don't have a utility to do this job ... it's here for you.
  • A documents window shows all the files currently open ... all at once without scrolling.
  • The filer is still there (one of the main reasons I chose it in the free version). This shows the directory tree and files just about like Windows File Manager (aka Explorer).
  • The tab selection mechanism is still there (but needs some refinement - to be discussed).
  • All in all, this is a well expanded version over what I was using. There are many other useful features which I won't touch on here ... suffice it to say that I think the man deserves to make money on this program. It is easily worth it if you do as much html-coding as I do.

    I have tried about a dozen other programs for doing pages and his is the best value. (The multi-buck editors, $200-$400 ... no ... I can't afford to waste money on them. Every time I buy an expensive program I end up not using it. They are just loaded with crap I don't need and ... after stripping away all that fluff ... I would be left with HtmlTool anyway.)

    What improvements I would like to see ...

    1. I would like to see the preview reload to the same place in the document that I'm working in instead of going to the top of the file. I may have to go back to the old way of cascading IE5 behind HtmlTool and hitting the IE5 reload after save. [IE5, as an independent program, reloads to the same position that it was in.]
    2. I would like to have the option of killing the icons. I hate icons except for file type icons which are actually useful. Too many different icons look like hieroglyphics to me and I don't read hieroglyphics. Such an option would replace an icon with a word and ... on rollover ... would expand on that word just as with the icon.
    3. The edit window goes to the left for some reason when you type to the right edge even with wordwrap. I find this distracting ... It's a minor fixable glitch.
    4. The keyboard equivalents should go in all those little popup windows which say what the tag icon is. They would be much easier to memorize and they are important for carpal tunnel reasons.
    5. Would it be possible to alter the "search & replace" feature? To ... replace from here (A) to here (B), i.e. click in a special marker for A then go down the document and click in another marker B ... then do the regular search & replace thing.
    6. Also, can you create a "recursive" search & replace? Like this ... "replace all 42 instances of xyz with xyz01, xyz02, xyz03, ... I once had occasion to do this for progressive hrefs & a-names and it was truly tedious since this is not possibe in conventional search & replace.

    7. A text editor must do two things well.
      Give the user access to tags with minimum clicks ... and ... expand the user's capabilities chiefly by giving him useful scripts.

      A very fast way to accomplish minimal clicks is by "caching" most used tags. Now this doesn't mean monitoring keystrokes, rather, just allow the user to have a tabbed selector of his own into which he can put his own selection of tags or combo tags or scripts ... just anything at all which the editor has to offer.

      Picture of Tab Selector

      And maybe more than one line of user selections could be useful.
      The point here is that you could get to your "most used" tags or combinations of tags very quickly without having to first select a category or go scrolling through a list.

      Another way to do this would require a modification of something already present ... but ... I need to control what functions go in the popup window.
      First, you highlight your text or a single space where you want to insert something. This causes a popup window to display and you move the arrow over to that window and pick out your selected tag (without clicking until the tag you want is selected). This popup window will work like a Mac, i.e. to hover is to select ... or ... hover over down marker to scroll, etc. ... or ... just put in a hierarchy of popups without scrolling.

      Mac type selector

  • Useful Scripts I am looking for ...

    1. A Next button - resident in frame 1 ... but ... controlling frame 2 by referring to a list (in an html document which is not shown) and which loads and updates itself automatically whenever a page is selected for frame 2. If all these buttons were the same gif file, the button would be a constant image even though its href changed. I could accomplish this with a double page load script and the above mentioned html recursion ... but that's just a complex work-around.

    2. Can anything ever be done in reasonably simple javascript about gif animation? This technology is never going to go anywhere because of Compuserve's claim of proprietary rights to this technology. I want to upload a gif89a file and have the script bust it open into, say, gif 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 ... then, javascript these seven images into an animation with numbered loops and reuses of the same image (perhaps even mirror reversals) so that you end up showing a movie like
      1-2-3-2-4-3-7-6-loop to #4 frame 3 times then -6-5-6-5-6-5-stop
      and time of display must be selectable. I know one can buy programs to do this ... but ... if Javascript could handle the above without becoming too large a script, that would be preferable.

    3. I'd like to have a script to just start & stop an animation, i.e. a toggle button.

    Well, I think that's enough for now. You may check it out at

    Lorenz Graf's Page

    
    

    Ebtx Home Page