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R What CSS-editors and application are available



PageBuilder is a code editor, which has a good CSS1-level wizard. The only CSS2 level addition is the dynamic pseudo-class hover (that is not depending on the CSS2 specification but the MS IE browser, which has used it as proprietary extension).

The application use MS IE as its internal browser (3.02 or newer). It is relative cheap Shareware-application.

Taf Web Software.


HTML-kit is a freeware code editor, which have all CSS2 level properties. The problem is that in the Style Sheet selector list is all HTML 4.0 elements - also those, which can't have CSS-properties. The list doesn't include pseudo-classes and -elements like the list of PageBuilder. Chami has not made for CSS an own list of elements, which can have CSS-properties. There is however additional plug-ins just for CSS.

HTML-kit includes full list of HTML 4.0 level elements and attributes. It doesn't browse files without additional plug-ins. Like PageBuilder it use MS IE as the internal browser.

It can convert HTML-documents into XHTML or XML-documents and correct errors with a plug-ins -application, which include in the installation package. It is possible to use additional plug-ins, which are made with the designer of the application or other people like:

I recommend that you check you pages randomly with the HTML-validator of W3C. HTML-kit has the HTML-Tidy plug-ins application, which helps to fix all syntax errors. Older versions of it are however real validator, because they accept to use some proprietary attributes and elements. Newest version doesn't accept them at it can be regarded almost like an online validator (it is however possible to take off warnings, which concerns proprietary elements and attributes). With HTML-Kit is also possible to test pages with an online validator.

W3C: HTML validator.
Other sites: HTML-kit Home page, HTML-Kit Plugins page.


Amaya is a WYSIWYG editor, which works also as a browser. It doesn't show all CSS-properties. Indeed it creates style attributes, generates CSS rules and handles CSS style sheets.

It might be useful in testing new recommendations, because it has experimental implementations of new recommendations: MathML, SVG, XLink, and namespaces that allow you to mix in the same document all these XML applications.

It has some disadvantages. It stacks easily. It doesn't use common entities to special characters (for example to ä and ö), which is inconvenient for example Scandinavian users of Amaya.

W3C: Amaya, MathML 1.01, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 Specification.

Top Style

The best editor is today regarded as Bradsoft TopStyle, which have MS Office 97 style interface. The application supports also the CSS2 specification. Version 1.50 does have some missing CSS-properties but they are added into version 1.51. It give advice, which properties don't work in various browsers. In the version 1.50 the validator and the sweeper of the application work incorrectly, but I have made bug reports and they will be fixed at least to the version 2.0. I have installed free Lite version, which doesn't have the validator and sweeper. I don't know if bugs are fixed.

The light version marks however incorrect properties as red (if the CSS-has @media, it puts however incorrectly the first rule as red). Note, that the import rule is marked bold red.



I tested the version 1.5, which includes almost all rules, properties and values, which include into visual rendering model of CSS2. It does have good comments, how to use CSS. Doesn't include Aural rendering properties and a CSS-validator.

Western Civilization.

Netscape 6.x

Netscape 6.0 can almost use as the comparison browser how CSS should be rendered (I has however some bugs). It does have almost perfect visual CSS-implementation.

It includes also in my the best WYSIWYG editor (I tested the version, which I got with Mozilla 0.7), if we think the rendering according to the HTML 4.01 and CSS2 spesifications. It seems to use the rendering engine of the browser, because the editor doesn't essential differ from the browser. It renders fine CSS but doesn't have an easy way to add CSS.

The encoding is valid HTML with common entities to the text (unlike MS FrontPage Express, which is in the MS IE bundlet). Indeed it use the name attribute to anchors but in XHTML anchors should have also the id attribute. The editor adds much white space, which all don't like. It could also have an option to convert HTML into XHTML.


Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0

As a WYSIWYG editor, Dreamweaver is far from the level of the editor of Mozilla 0.7. Concerning CSS Dreamweaver is just a half Wysiwyg editor.

Dreamweaver creates as default CSS-layers with the element DIV setting to it the property position:absolute. The system work fine, if layers are direct child-element of the element BODY (or inside some element, which doesn't create any margin or padding relative to the element BODY). But if the are inside some element (for example a table cell), which creates margin and padding relative to the element BODY, the CSS-layer system of Dreamweaver 4.0 just doesn't work, because all browser have serious bug in the CSS-implementation at this point.

Dreamweaver should set CSS-layers always as direct child-elements of the element BODY. It is in practise incorrect way to change values of absolute positioned element. The place of the DIV element must move, in order to get the desired result. Absolute positioned elements are in principle calculated according to the nearest block-level container element, not according to the viewport. In my mind Dreamweaver doesnt' do at this way. Even if browsers have bugs, the editor should work according to specifications (look at also a CSS notes 2[S]).

Dreamweaver doesn't support position:fixed (supported in Opera 4.x+, MS IE 5.0 Mac) and :focus (supported in Netscape 6.0) and some other CSS features. The CSS editor of Dreamweaver is modest (TopStyle is much better).

Concerning HTML Dreamweaver doesn't list all form element in the dialog (Netscape 6.0 supports ALL form elements except the deprecated ISINDEX, which is supported in Mozilla 0.7). It adds proprietary attributes, when defining background. If Macromedia Dreamweaver adds proprietary background properties, it should also add automatic corresponding CSS in order to ensure functionality in standard compliant browsers (Opera 4.x, Netscape 6.0). I don't understand attributes, which don't work in any browser (<BODY tracingsrc="some.gif" tracingopacity="23">).

Dreamweaver could inform, if something is standard or proprietary, because standard-compliant browsers (like Opera) don't support proprietary attributes to BODY. It could just divide dialogs into two section: standard HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0 and proprietary (HTML-Kit informs, if elements and attributes belongs to certain specification or if they are proprietary).

It use terrible much resources, which might cause very slow performance in many computers. I has much handy features (site map, roll-overs etc.), but in many respect it is possible to do with free editors the same matters as easy.


DHTML Menu Builder

Many applications create proprietary DHTML, which functionality is limited. How to design dynamic menus are one of the best DHTML solutions. It is easiest to create dynamic menus by buying DHTML Menu Builder application, which creates DHTML/DOM menus for all browsers, which can handle them (for example Netscape 4.x, Netscape 66.x, MS IE 4.0+ for Windows and Opera 5.x). It generates automatic necessary HTML-structures and CSS for different browsers. Older versions of the application create invalid CSS (most recent versions create standard CSS). If the CSS is not valid, menus work in some browsers only together with such HTML document types, when the browser don't work in the standard(-compliant) mode[S].

xFX JumpStart: DHTML Menu Builder.