Windows expert to Redmond: Buh-bye

Scot Finnie says "sayonara" to Windows, but his search for Mac software continues

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HTML Editor

I have tried a very long list of Mac-based HTML editors suggested by scores of people. Thanks for your input! I neglected to mention that I have no interest at all in WYSIWYG HTML "editors." I've been creating HTML pages since 1994, and I'm a code-in-your-hands guy. FrontPage, for example, is anathema to me. The code it creates is junky and imprecise.

The product I use under Windows, HomeSite, is unique. But the main things I like about it are:

  • The ability to manage scores of open file windows at once, and search and replace large blocks of text across them.
  • The ability to proof to the Web browser of your choice right in the program window. HomeSite does this in two ways. For quick spot-checks, it offers a browser window that works like a tab. So you work in the Edit window and then click the Browse tab to render the selected Edit window. It's easy to toggle back and forth, and best of all, you're not spawning new windows at all when you do.

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    The second way is to spawn external browser windows from a toolbar button. You can configure as many specific browsers as you want and choose the one you want to view your Edit window's contents with from a toolbar-button drop-down. Proofing your HTML work is a HomeSite strength.
  • Automatic, Word-like spell checking within the Edit window that can optionally ignore HTML.

There are a lot of other great features in HomeSite, but those are the ones that matter most to me.

A couple of smart readers (you know who you are, and thanks!) tipped me off to the fact that Adobe Dreamweaver 8's coding environment is based on the HomeSite software (which Macromedia bought several years ago, before it was in turn purchased by Adobe). There's a 30-day demo of Dreamweaver, so I was able to download it and try it out for myself. Sure enough, Dreamweaver 8 incorporates HomeSite -- and it's a better version of the HTML editor than the last one created for Windows.

Eureka! I found my solution. And even though Dreamweaver is primarily a WYSIWYG tool, it can function either way. I look at that as a benefit too. Dreamweaver has always been the best WYSIWYG tool for mocking up new site designs.

But there's a problem. Dreamweaver costs $400. And while that's OK in the corporate world, it's a stretch for my budget. As a result, I've had to fall back on using HomeSite 5.5 under Windows running in Parallels on my Mac. That works just fine, for now. One day I'll figure out a way to give Dreamweaver a real test.

My E-mail Migration

A number of people have written me with suggestions about how I might have automated my Eudora-Windows-to-Eudora-Mac migration of mailboxes, filters and address book. About 90% of the suggestions weren't useful in my case because of one or both of these reasons: I already tried it and it didn't work, or it converts mailboxes but not e-mail rules. That second point was especially important for me because I have over 500 mail-filtering rules. Since rules and mailbox names are inextricably linked in my environment (most of my rules route messages to a specific mail folder), the two had to be converted together.

Under the heading "I tried it already and it didn't work": Emailchemy, for example, didn't work in my situation. I might have used it for part of the process, but after looking at it, I realized it would have taken me as much work as I wound up doing anyway, plus I would have had to pay for it. I actually contacted Emailchemy's tech support to confirm this before I moved on. Apple offers the AppleScript utility for free, and I had high hopes for it, but I couldn't make it properly address the other tools involved. As it was, I wasted half a day playing with both AppleScript and BBEdit's TextFactory scripting facility before I opted to cut my time losses and solve the problem in the fastest, if least attractive, way. (But I'll come back to an AppleScript-based solution in a bit.)

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