capsule review

PageSpinner 3.0

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With the death of Adobe PageMill and every other WYSIWYG Web editor under $300, the field of affordable Web authoring tools has narrowed to just one: Optima's PageSpinner 3.0.1. It offers features not found in programs several times the price, but it still shows a few rough shareware 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 e-mail on the Web). It comes with public-domain clip art.

PageSpinner is neither a Web designer's tool like Macromedia's Dreamweaver nor a Web programmer's tool like Bare Bones' BBEdit, but 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 the ticket 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 ten times as much.

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.

Quasi-Wizzy   PageSpinner's approach to Web pages falls between WYSIWYG and plain-text editors.
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