When it comes to web building there are two editing tools that I use most frequently: the excellent, freeware Evrsoft 1st Page 2000 and Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004, which has now been superceded by Macromedia Dreamweaver 8.
Evrsoft have been promising an upgrade (“First Page 3.0”, I think it was going to be called) to their excellent 1st Page 2000 since as far back as 2002, and despite various promises along the way we’re still waiting for the final product.
Despite signing up for their email newsletter, which I was assured would inform me of any updates to the release of a new product, it was only because I happened to visit the Evrsoft website last night that I discovered that First Page 2006 has been released as a Beta version, for developers to check out and comment on.
I’m disappointed that we weren’t emailed about this — that’s why I signed up! and why I checked that I had on more than one occasion! — the Beta was released, it would appear from the forum, on 4 October and will stop working on 1 December 2005. I don’t have that much time then to test it very extensively.
My immediate impression sadly isn’t very favourable. I was expecting a web text editor that was at the cutting edge, as 1st Page 2000 had been in its day. But despite there now being a wider variety of page templates available: HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0, XHTML 1.1, CSS, Java, JSP, PHP, XML, with appropriate code syntax highlighting (that is the code is colour-coded to make it easier to read) the keyboard shortcuts still default to HTML 4 tags and there doesn’t appear to be any way of editing these.
Editing the QTags, which allow for drag-and-drop tags to be added from a side pallette to the page can be updated but XHTML isn’t an option! Neither is there an option for CSS properties, which would be great. This doesn’t seem to me to be acceptable for a modern web developer product. I can only hope that this is something that will be corrected in the final edition.
The built-in HTML reference (which is oddly subtitled “The complete HTML 4/5.0, CSS, SSI reference” — what is HTML 5.0?!) is also stuck in 1998 with HTML 4 and while the Cascading Style Sheets help looked promising it is copyrighted 1997. That’ll be CSS1, then. CSS3 is on its way!
I’ll take a more thorough look at First Page 2006 soon and post my comments my blog, as well as to the Evrsoft forum.
(Here’s another quick response from a First Page 2006 user: “First Page 2006 might be too slow”.)