CSSEdit - what a great find!

In my quest to move more of my software development over to Mac I started looking around for a decent solution for HTML/XHTML and CSS development. On Windows my CSS Editor of choice was TopStyle, a really great application, but there isn't a Mac version. I ran through quite a few products over the extended weekend but found one that impressed me so much I bought it within 20 minutes of trying it out.

CSSEdit makes the process of testing out CSS design painfully simple and at $29 it's hard to pass up. It's got all of the helpers to guide you through CSS settings - pretty much expected for a decent CSS editor. You can use a dialog based approach or edit the CSS source directly in a full text editing surface that has lots of helpers. 

The part that made me whip out the credit card though was the Live Preview browser. Point it at your HTML and start making changes in your CSS - they are reflected immediately in the preview browser. In addition it has an X-Ray feature that allows you to select any element on your finished HTML page and see the CSS classes that lead into it.

Great stuff - until you realize that you can point the preview browser at ANY page on the web. It sucks it in and allows you to modify the CSS on it. Sure, it's only a local render but it's a great way to check out how a nice looking site leverages CSS.

If you do any CSS work at all you should check out CSSEdit.


Nicholas said...

Hi there, Dave. Bob pointed me to your blog...

I'm not a fan of it, but you might want to check out Coda. It's a css/html editor, Terminal (command line), preview, and FTP all rolled into one.

I prefer BBEdit for coding, myself.

David Alison said...

Thanks Nicholas! I actually looked at Coda and was not all that impressed - ended up pulling it out. I also found NVU, an open source solution for HTML editing. It's really slow though. Since I've adopted TextMate as my text editor of choice I may just use that - trying to put as much into the CSS as possible.

Nicholas said...

I had the same reaction to Coda. And yes, NVU pretty much sucks.

The thing I like about BBEdit is its built-in markup - both XHTML and CSS - editing capabilities. Then in combination with that, it gives you complete control of all keyboard shortcuts (change, add, remove) to any menu command. Throw in a great multi-file search/replace feature, and it's all I need. It's definitely worth a download of the demo.

On CSS editors specifically, once you know the code, I think they slow you down. It's much easier for me to bang out "border: 1px solid #069;" on my keyboard than pick items from a dropdown, tab to different fields, etc.

David Alison said...

BBEdit sounds cool Nicholas - I'll try out the demo. Thanks for the tip!

Knubo said...

You should try firebug if you haven't tried it. It can do the same as well, and it is free.

atrophic said...

I was going to chime in and say something about firebug doing a lot of the same stuff too. It's a firefox extension, but I use it all the time for development. It allows you to change the html and everything in line, not just the css.