HTML Editor Reviews
HoTMetaL Pro 4.0
- Windows 3.x/NT/95, Unix and Mac
- Stand alone program
- Hybrid between text style and graphical
- HTML checking -- during editing and importing
- Very Stable
- Commercial: $95 USD, Free trial version available.
Nice features found in this package include:
- Large number or import options
- The package can import a large number of file formats and attempt to
create HTML from them (including Word, WordPerfect, and Amipro. You may
also perform batch conversion of these documents. I also would like to
mention that you can easily drag-and-drop from applications (including
Excel) directly into HoTMetaL.
- Easy to read display
- Tags may be shown using an "icon like" representation. This
simplifies discerning tags from the text in the document. When working
with a document that contains many similar sections (like this one),
this feature is superb. The package does give a "feel" for
what the document may look like when you hide the tag display (headings
stand out, images are shown, etc.). This is very good for most editing
tasks, but SoftQuad allows editing of tags directly using a traditional
text editor style of view.
- Tables in the document are easily edited
- The program makes it very easy insert a table. In addition, the table
can easily be edited after creating it using a table format similar to
those found in word processors. This is very important if the
information changes in the table frequently, because searching through a
series of TD tags can be very frustrating. HoTMetaL Pro allows you to
work with tables graphically, including creating column and row spans
(merging cells) with a single mouse click
- Graphical editing of forms.
- HoTMetaL Pro includes graphical editing of forms in the document.
This includes dialogs for entering selection options and gives a better
feel of the final form.
- Minimal dialogs during tag insertion
- When you select an element to insert or click on the button bar, the
tags are entered using the default attributes. At this point, a menu
selection will bring up the attributes dialog (called attribute
inspector) for the tag under the cursor. This is convenient, since you
don't need to fill in cluttered dialogs unless you need to change an
attribute (especially for new authors who may be unfamiliar with many of
the attributes). For example, when an in-line image is added only the
filename and address are needed. The attributes VSPACE, HSPACE, BORDER,
etc. are available when you edit the attributes. Also, you may leave the
attribute inspector open and quickly modify attributes while moving
through the document.
- Feels like a word processor
- Using the package is very much like using a word processor which
shows formatting. The package is intelligent to simplify some
operations, such as creating a new list element when you press the enter
key over a list element, which speeds entering long lists, In normal "text
style" editors, the author needs to be wary of accidentally erasing
or moving an end tag, but not this package. It forces the user to abide
by the "rules" of HTML (though this can be disabled), and
keeps your documents sound.
- Seamless support for Netscape 2.0 and Explorer 2.0
- Although version 2.0 had rule files available for Netscape 2.0 and
Explorer, they were not seamlessly integrated into the package. Now they
are, button bars are included for elements (such as applet tags) and the
validator will pick-up the new extensions (2.0 validator ignores the new
tags added in a rules updates). Also, an easy to use frame editor is
included and a color picker for fonts and body attributes.
- Built in image editor
- SoftQuad has begun to include Uleads PhotoImpact Special Edition with
the package. This replace the simple SoftQuad package included with 3.0
with a much more powerful tool. PhotoImpact includes Web oriented tools,
such as 3-D button and background tools. In addition, SmartSaver (tool
to optimize graphic file size) and a GIF animator from Ulead are
- New HoTMetaL Information Manager added to package
- HoTMetaL offers a site management tool similar to those found in
AOLPress and FrontPage. This includes numerous view styles (hierarchal,
web, links from a single file). I like the ability to drag the web view
around to quickly view different angles. Also, Information Manager will
search the site for broken internal and external links. As expected, it
offers options for publishing the site either locally and to the final
host computer. Other useful capabilities include creating new links by
drag-and-drop and that it recognizes links within Office 97 documents.
Also, you may perform a site-wide find and replace operation
(independently identifying tags and attributes from content).
- Support for Cascading Style Sheets
- A CSS editor is included. It is relatively easy to create different
rules by selecting the appropriate text, font, and spacing information
for each element type.
- FX Chooser and Power Tools
- SoftQuad included a number of ready to use graphics, page designs,
applets, and scripts which can easily be added simply by dragging them
into you page. In addition to some of the tools mentioned above, Aimtech
Jamba PE (codeless Java development tool), Platinum VRCreator (VRML
tool), Starbase Versions (revision control), ZBserver Pro (web server),
and DTL DataSpot are include. DataSpot is notable, because it allows you
to easily publish data from a database (static pages). Finally, SoftQuad
has included Design Time Controls (DTC). These allow user to insert
numerous dynamic elements, including a Website tour creator and site
- Other features
- The package includes a macro recorder which can replay key/mouse
actions and replay. Also included are spelling checker and thesaurus.
The package also helps authors improve performance by automatically
inserting tags when an the carriage return is pressed. For example, each
time the return is hit at the end of a list item, HoTMetaL will insert a
new list item and place the cursor at the beginning of it. Accessibility
features makes creating pages easier for authors with disabilities.
Missing/Poorly Implemented Features:
- Needs customizable tool bars
- The dialog to change attributes requires the user to make a selection
from the menu (or press the F6 key) since it is not present on any of
the toolbars. I wanted to immediatly make his addition, but was not able
to. The tool bars also take up a large amount of real estate on the
screen. By allowing customization users of large monitors could easily
move buttons to other bars to better utilize the extended width. I also
feel that the tool bars need some revamping and simplification.
- Macro capability needs to be updated
- To Softquad's credit, they are still one of the few standalone
editors to offer any kind of macro support. However, the key stroke
recording technique is limited and needs to be greatly enhanced to
compete with packages which are add-ons to word processors. I suggest
including links for using visual basic for applications (this is valid
for only for windows versions), so authors can create macros which
include logic and looping.
HoTMetaL Pro continues to be a market leader. The latest version of
HoTMetaL is comfortable to use as a graphical, text, or hybrid style
editor. The bottom line is this is a powerful validating editor, which
allow users to easily change tag attributes, quickly create long
documents, and perform some final adjustments to graphics. New authors
may be overwhelmed initially with all the new features, but should move
up the learning curve quickly. SoftQuad continues to add new (and
useful!) features to the product without affecting the solid foundation
found in earlier versions. HoTMetaL Pro continues to be one of my picks
page is brought to you by: Carl
Daviscopyright © 1995,96 Carl Davis
Last Updated: September 9th, 1997