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Spinning a Web with the Penguin
Reviewing CoffeeCup and TopPage
May 26, 2000
When I overhear conversations at Wal-Mart between two housewives about their tribulations in getting image file sizes reduced for their home Web sites, I know that HTML editing no longer carries that aura of mystique it once had. There was a time when I could go into a party and say, "I design Web pages," and people would start giving me their cards. If I do that now, I am met with indifference or questions about how many e-commerce applications have I implemented. Since the answer to that last question is "none," I don't mention Web design as much anymore.
A lot of today's homegrown Web pages are done with what I would term Wed page editors, such as Microsoft FrontPage. For the record, there are a lot of things I like about FrontPage--it's a decent WYSIWYG Web page editor. But WYSIWYG editors, in their attempts to make Web page creation just like creating a document in a word processor, can create cumbersome, over-coded pages. But, others argue, who has the time or inclination to learn HTML code?
This is a constant debate for Web-page designers: WYSIWYG or HTML code? This debate has happily spilled over onto the Linux platforms in recent months.
Linux has been always able to produce HTML code, of course. Just run emacs, cobble some code together, and save the file as *.html. There's your Web page. That's probably the simplest way to generate Web content, but it's like rowing a boat with a spoon when there are two perfectly good oars in the bottom of the boat.
The two oars, in this case, are CoffeeCup HTML Editor++ for Linux (representing the code side) and TopPage for Linux (filling the WYSIWYG bracket). These two products will be the focus of my review.