PageSpinner 3.0.1

With the death of Adobe PageMill and every other WYSIWYG Web-editor under £150, the field of affordable Web-authoring tools has narrowed to just one: Optima’s PageSpinner 3.0.1. It offers features found in programs several times the price, but still shows a few rough edges. PageSpinner is actually a suite that includes StyleSpinner (for writing Cascading Style Sheets [CSS]), FAQ-Spinner (for writing FAQs), and MailSpinner (for publishing Eudora-based email on the Web). PageSpinner is neither a Web designer’s tool like Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, nor a Web programmer’s tool like Bare Bones’ BBEdit – but is something in between. While you see every HTML tag you write (as in BBEdit), the content between those tags appears as it would in a browser (as in Dreamweaver). Extremists on both ends will find this unacceptable, but it might be just right for the masses in the middle. With PageSpinner’s latest upgrade, Optima has brought the program up to current Web standards. It now supports HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0. And, unlike BBEdit, it helps you add both JavaScript and CSS to your pages. You don’t need to know how these work; just fill out the fields in an assistant, and PageSpinner does the coding for you. Its code isn’t as lean as that written by a knowledgeable person, but it’s comparable to anything produced by PageSpinner’s WYSIWYG competitors – which cost far more. However, PageSpinner isn’t ready to completely supplant the big timers. To change a tag’s attribute, you have to delete the tag and re-create it – if you try to edit an existing tag, PageSpinner will insert a new tag, sometimes right in the middle of the current one. And while the HTML checker generally works well, it did flag some error-free code and missed a few minor errors – and it doesn’t check CSS or JavaScript. PageSpinner uses AppleScript to find and replace text across pages, causing a significant performance hit. And with no built-in FTP capability, PageSpinner uses AppleScript to talk with third-party programs.

OUR VERDICT

At $30, PageSpinner is a great bargain and the simplest way to learn to write HTML on the Mac. Although its editing style is a little quirky, it’s worth trying out.

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