There are not many companies left like CoffeeCup Software. Where else can you buy an HTML Editor for $49 – 10 years ago, and still have access to every single update since? That’s exactly how the fine folks at CoffeeCup operate. Here’s an in depth review of CoffeeCup HTML Editor 2010, the same HTML Editor I have been using since 1999. (And also some links to some of their other top notch software such as FireStarter – their easy to use Flash tool.)
An HTML Editor That Harnesses Simplicity
The market of HTML editors seems to be flooded with text editors and WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors that aim to provide an intuitive interface, yet fail miserably. I have been building websites since around 1997 and have used my share of them. First I used Microsoft Front Page 1997, followed shortly by Homesite (owned by Allaire back then), and Arachnophilia. I just couldn’t find a comfortable fit for me. Then I stumbled upon Coffee Cup Software. I figured for a free 30 day trial, and price tag of $49 (compared to the hefty price tag of the aforementioned) I had nothing to lose. Boy was I genuinely surprised at what I got for that price.
Underneath the Hood
When I first opened the CoffeeCup Editor, I was greeted by a warm little ditty from a song by Tom T Hall called “I Love”. Specifically it plays the portion where he is singing -” I love..coffee in a cup”. I knew right away that this editor was not your every day run of the mill, and I knew I found my fit, even if my volume level was all the way up and it scared the wits out of me. At first glance – this is what you will see in the 2010 Edition of their HTML Editor :
Looks Pretty – How’s the HTML Editing?
This HTML editor has quite a few extra handy tools that most don’t and we’ll talk about that in a moment. The actual HTML editor portion of the software supports both WYSIWYG and standard text/html editing mode. I always use the text editing mode, but I have played around with the WYSIWYG editing portion on occasion just because it’s actually fun when you code everything by hand all the time. HTML5? Yes. CSS3? Check.
The editor fully supports syntax highlighting of all the major scripting languages that most websites use these days : PHP, CSS, XHTML, Perl, and much more. I find it to be accurate in it’s highlighting, and it offers the ability to change the way your code is shown via the Document Display Properties option that comes with it. The built in code cleaner function gives you minute control over how you want your code cleaned up, which is really handy for people like me that make a lot of inline coding annotations. Look at the before and after picture below to get an idea of just how well the HTML editor cleans and beautifies your code :
It may not look like much has happened, but what the code cleaner does is align your code, clean out any open tags, nest your syntax properly, and word wraps your code according to your input. It also has the ability to clean up comments, properly close comments, and much more.
What else can it do? Can it make me breakfast?
Short of whipping you up some eggs, the software comes with hundreds of code snippets, and pre-made templates for you to freely use in your projects. What I find to be one of the most valuable tools that comes as part of the editor is the website color scheme chooser. This handy little tool allows you to pick a color, and will match colors that fit well with it, as well as let you compare color schemes without having to do it on a live site :
What’s The Catch?
You would think for all the features that this HTML editor gives you, a price tag of $49 would indicate that something is just not right. There has to be a catch..right? The bottom line is – CoffeeCup Software has such a large, loyal user base – that they don’t need to inflate their price to make the software look reasonable. Thousands of users continually rave about how well and how functional this little piece of heaven is. I’m just jumping in with them and telling you – if you don’t have it – get the 2010 CoffeCup HTML Editor Trial Edition, it will be the best $49 you ever spent, and you will never need another HTML Editor again.
Other Software by CoffeeCup
FireStarter – A great little flash animation maker for the non Flash types out there.
PassWordWizard – Tool used to make custom password protected areas of your website. Good for WordPress, Joolma!, you name it.