Every web designer needs at least one good text editor; preferably one that makes HTML mark up easier to write, includes some advanced text-handling features and automates repetitive tasks. The choice for Mac OS is limited though. BBEdit has been a perennial favourite in this department – but at $120 it’s pretty expensive for a text editor. If you want a dedicated HTML and CSS editing tool for free, Taco HTML is a good choice.
Taco HTML has some cracking features, like tag colour coding, a colour chooser and live HTML syntax checking. You can preview your code in multiple browsers, with individual buttons displayed for every browser installed on your system. With an application like this, though, getting the basics right is the real test. Taco HTML scores high marks for this.
The main document window is an uncluttered code editor, which checks your syntax as you type. The current version supports HTML 4.01, which is still the most widely used standard. Taco lacks direct support for XHTML, but the syntax checker won’t report errors if you choose to follow XHTML standards like lower case tags and closing single tags. The application formats your syntax as you code and automates the placing of most HTML elements. You can use the Insert menu to add more complex elements such as tables or layers. The biggest boon to developers comes with PHP support. If you have PHP installed on your Mac, Taco uses your Apache web server to preview your code live.
Taco HTML isn’t perfect. There’s little in the way of direct support for CSS for example. It encourages you to use HTML formatting, which is deprecated in strict versions of XHTML 1.0 – and missing from XHTML 1.1. Still, Taco remains a compact tool for occasional code tweaking.