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Bluefish... It's A Keeper For HTML Editing - page 4

Casting a Line for an HTML Editor

  • June 27, 2005
  • By Rob Reilly

People accustomed to using GUI based HTML editors shouldn't be afraid of giving Bluefish a try. It has a wealth of helpful tabs and dialogs to ease the coding job.

For example, putting paragraph tags around the "Bluefish is a handy, text-based HTML editor..." sentence at the beginning of this story, is as easy as highlighting the paragraph text and clicking the "Standard" tab then "Paragraph" button.

Some other editing aids in Bluefish 1.0 include:

  • Customizable "Quick"tab Users can put their favorite buttons and icons from the fonts, tables and list tool bars onto their own quick tab, with a simple right click and add sequence. My quick tab includes bold, break, anchor, unordered list, list item, paragraph and font size +1 tag buttons. Since the quick tab is right at the top of the text editing window it's quick and easy to use.

  • Dialog tab For users who can't remember all the little nuances of a tag, the dialog tab offers a form based way of filling in necessary information. If you need to make a link, just highlight your desired text then select "Dialog", "General" and the "Anchor" menu item to get the form shown in Figure 3. Fill in the "HREF" line and click OK. Poof, link created.

  • Edit Tag Under Cursor This interesting tool is located under the Dialog tab and is great when a tag needs a little adjusting. Say you want to make a graphic a little bigger, use this tool instead of having to remember what value needs to be changed directly in the HTML code.

  • Line Numbers It was sometimes difficult to find problems in my pages because the old versions of Bluefish didn't have any line numbering. Version 1.0 has it along the left side of the main text editing screen. You can turn it on or off under the Document tab.

  • Word Wrap Word wrap is turned off by default, so your pages might look a little funky the first time you use Bluefish. It's the first thing I turn on to make the editing easier.

  • Word Count As a writer, I always have to be aware of the length of my stories. You can find the menu item under the "Document" tab. Editors aren't interested in seeing a rambling 9657 word story show up in their mail box. The happy zone seems to be between about 800 and 1500 words, for the average tech story going up on a Web site. Of course, it varies. This feature helps keep editors and readers receptive to your work.

  • Insert Thumbnail A nice feature located under the "Dialog" tab and "General" menu item, that automates the production of a thumbnail image. Figure 4 shows the form that you can fill in to place your thumbnail. Roll over it to get a bigger view.

Many more HTML writing job aids are bundled into Bluefish. We've looked at just a few, albeit from a writer's point of view. Programmers will want to take a look at the Bluefish features page.


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