What is it: HTML editing package
Applications: Internet and intranet site editing and creation
With the growth in intranets and the ongoing Internet hype, the chances are most businesses will soon need some kind of HTML editing package.
But HTML editing can be a nightmare. Although there are some straightforward packages on the market, such as Microsoft's Front Page, the perfect balance between ease of use and expandability has yet to be found. But Hotdog Professional 3 comes close.
Unlike Front Page, Hotdog has never been marketed as a drag-and-drop editing tool, but has always been one of the best on the market for users who like to see the HTML of their documents. And, this latest version has been updated with considerable enhancements to its ease of use. On top of which, Hotdog is also great fun - from its shimmering dog logo to the canine howls when a file is closed.
As the program uses an abundance of toolbars and floating toolbars, it needs a powerful machine and at least a 17in monitor to run efficiently.
When it first loads, several toolbars are displayed. Basically, all the Hotdog features can be run from toolbars. The main bar contains all the basic commands, and there are several customisable buttons.
There is also a very useful file manager, which allows you to display the files on either the site you are working on, the files on your hard drive or the files on a remote server. It helps keep projects in order, so you don't have to use Internet Explorer 3 (IE3) to find out what's on the hard drive.
The main document window displays three possible views of your page - raw HTML, a basic browser called Rover or the document properties page where colour and other attributes can be assigned.
With the Page Builder, you can create Web documents visually using components, or building blocks, and then fill in the gaps. For major sites with common parts, such as menu bars and corporate logos, this makes life a lot easier.
If you have IE3, Rover uses this to let you see everything as you would normally see it in IE3. With a Java Animator, you can use your own images and sound and let the animator do the rest. This can also be used to create animated GIF files.
Hotdog has built-in support for style sheets, so users can manage them more easily. However, at the moment you have to use Microsoft's IE3 browser to view style-sheet created pages.
Verdict: if you have a basic understanding of HTML, this is probably the best package on the market.
Although Hotdog is its main package, the company also sells a lot of small, self-contained Web-editing packages for niche markets such as Java animation, image-map creation and frame editing. These are cheap, single-purpose programs that use simple point-and-click commands.
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