I’ve just been trying out a piece of Mac OS X shareware that will be of interest to anyone who hand codes HTML and CSS. Although Dreamweaver 2004 finally allows code-hinting in CSS, it runs SO slow on my mac – I just can’t bear it. Until a G5 becomes a possibility, I’ve been using BBEdit and Transmit to do the same job, but I’ve missed the advantage of code hinting.

Just out of interest I did a search for ‘OSX’ and ‘code-hinting’ and found something called skEdit, a cocoa text editor created by an 18 yr old student in Cleveland. The more I use it, the more I love it. Here’s why:

  • Code Hinting! Unlike Dreamweaver, the code hinting is persitent. When I’ve gone back and deleted a line, the hinting box doesn’t reappear unless I start a new line. Not here, its there whenever you need it. It automatically creates closing tags, and when using code-hinting in css, it automatically adds the semi-colon after each line.
  • Also like Dreamweaver, it has a useful snippets panel, where you can keep pieces of code you want to reuse. Unlike DW, it allows you to choose a point in the snippet where the insertion point goes, or how the snippet will wrap around a selected text. All labour saving stuff.
  • There is a site view on the left, which gives really fast switching between documents. Rather than having umpteen documents open, I can switch between pages with a single click. The site view shows your site with a folder-tree style, so its easy to see everything.
  • It has built-in FTP, but this is fairly basic. It seems that this feature has just been added, and that it will improve in future releases.

I’ve only been using it for a day, so these are just the things I’ve discovered so far. It may not have the full gamut of BBEdits features, but then again this only costs $20! That’s a mere £12 of your British pounds! It does so much more than I’ve mentioned, take a look. A look at the guys site will show you that he cares about web standards too.

Downsides? I have to be blunt, its interface and application icons are pretty ugly. This an area where guys like Panic get it so right – the icons and interface have an OS X feel that makes using the software a pleasure. Also, it would be good if it gets FTP and savable favourites like Transmit.

Despite the cosmetics, its quickly taken over as my main coding application.