VSE HTML Turbo 2.0

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We've all heard that time is money. On the Internet, however, disk space is both time and money. Larger files not only take longer to transmit to browsers but can also lead to additional charges from ISPs for taking up disk space and bandwidth. Voget Selbach Entertainment's VSE HTML Turbo 2.0 purports to optimize your HTML files, but bugs and design flaws prevent it from living up to its promise.

HTML Turbo does its job in three ways. First, it removes the spaces, carriage returns, and tabs that make files more readable to humans but that browsers don't care about. Second, it removes the attributes that WYSIWYG editors (such as Adobe GoLive) add but that aren't actually part of the HTML. Unfortunately, this internal list of unnecessary attributes is incomplete, and you can't add to it. Third, HTML Turbo helps browsers render pages faster by adding height and width attributes to images and closing slashes to URLs.

The program succeeds, to a certain extent: it rapidly shrunk our test sites 10 to 20 percent, doing a better job on files created with WYSIWYG editors than on those created by hand. But it also throws the baby out with the bathwater, deleting the contents of any external style sheets and JavaScript files. And it deletes all JavaScript comments unless you choose not to compress anything inside <SCRIPT> tags; this makes the program less useful for JavaScript-heavy sites.

Ironically, while developers of larger sites would be the most likely to benefit from HTML Turbo, they're also the ones who will have trouble incorporating it into their workflow process. For example, professional-level WYSIWYG tools let you do everything from editing pages to uploading your site to a server. With HTML Turbo, you create the site with your editor, run it through HTML Turbo, and then manually upload it to your server. That's a lot of overhead just to shrink the file by 10 percent. And because the program isn't scriptable, you can't add FTP functionality yourself.

Although Voget Selbach Entertainment is in Germany, its technical-support staff always answered my e-mailed questions within 24 hours. This is particularly helpful considering that the manual contains a number of errors and is difficult to understand.

If your site is primarily text and you need to cut down on disk space and bandwidth, VSE HTML Turbo 2.0 might be worth checking out. For anyone else–particularly those who use JavaScript or style sheets–the results aren't worth the trouble.


2.0 mice
PROS: Optimizes Web pages quickly; adds size attributes for images. CONS: Buggy; can't use on sites with external style sheets or JavaScript files; can't add to attributes list. COMPANY: Voget Selbach Entertainment ( support@vse-online.com, http://www.vse-online.com ). LIST PRICE: $50.

June 1999 page: 54

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