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 CD Home < Web Review < 1999 < Dec 10  

Web Authors

BBEdit 5.1.1 (Lite 4.6)

By Eric Meyer

BBEdit 5.1.1 (Lite 4.6)

Bare Bones Software

BBEdit 5.1.1: $119 (academic price $79)

BBEdit Lite 4.6: FREE

Platform: Macintosh

The premier HTML and text editing tool for the Macintosh.

My favorite piece of software, bar none, is BBEdit. In fact, I'm writing this article with it. Although it's technically too expensive at $119 to be "cheapskate software," prices are lower than $100 if you're upgrading from an old version, if you're an academic user, or if you're looking to cross-upgrade from another editor. While BBEdit Lite costs less than $100—it's free—you get fewer features.

If you're a Macintosh user, odds are that you already own BBEdit. If not, you really should rectify the situation. If you're stuck with an operating system that can't run BBEdit, know what you need to do. (Just think—you'll never suffer from corrupted registries again.)

It's easy to dismiss BBEdit as "just a text editor," but it's a lot more than that. If you like highlight-and-click HTML authoring, BBEdit can do that. It will also check your document syntax, pointing out errors and warning you about possible problems. It does syntax coloring for HTML, JavaScript, Perl, and more. It opens and saves files via FTP. It will give you a Web-safe color palette, a list of character entities, and more. Actually, I could go on for quite a while writing sentences that ended with the words "...and more."

If you want to try out BBEdit without laying down any money, you can download BBEdit Lite (or get it off of a MacAddict disc) and run it for free. You still get the same multi-file find-and-replace, including the ability to use grep expressions in your searches; this is its central feature, in my opinion. Unfortunately, though, you don't get most of what I described above—no HTML tools or FTP file access, for example. Still, it's a powerful editor even without these things, and the price can't be beat.

As Bare Bones says right on their Web site, "It doesn't suck." That's the understatement of the year. Basically, if you're a Web author and you've moved beyond drawing-program Web design, you need BBEdit. It's so indispensable that I'd seriously consider giving up my home Internet connection before I gave up BBEdit.

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