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Thread: Looking for the right HTML editor

  1. #1

    Macata's Avatar
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    Looking for the right HTML editor
    I'm switching to MAC and am having trouble finding a text editor for HTML that deals with character encoding other than UTF-8. I searched the forum and did find several HTML or Text editors that look very interesting and capable, but digging deep into the features I haven't found one that can convert character encoding. On Windows I used Notepad++ and sometimes PSPad, but neither has a Mac version. I have read that it is possible to use Notepad++ with Wine or DarWine, but can't find details of how that works. I downloaded Wine but haven't figured it out. I don't mind converting my sites to UTF-8, but when I have tried in TextEdit and TextWrangler, they open and save in utf-8, but don't actually convert the character encoding, it produces a mess. It does not convert from ISO-8859-1 to UTF-8, it just saves the existing text as UTF-8. If it was a page or two I would just start over, but there are thousands of pages that need editing from time to time. Has anyone here gone through this mess before?

  2. #2


    Member Since
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    It's hard to say, since you don't describe what exactly you're trying to do or what kind of "mess" you're ending up with.

    I can assure you that there are plenty of good Mac text editors, including TextWrangler, that can open, save, and convert just about any text encoding, including UTF-8 and ISO-8859-1, perfectly well.

  3. #3

    Macata's Avatar
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    My sites are encoded in ISO-8859-1. Ideally, these html files could be opened and edited and saved in the same text encoding that they have but if necessary I will change each file as it is opened and save it as UTF-8.

    In TextWrangler, the first html page I opened was instantly converted to UTF-8 but the Doctype was altered and all my html became html entities with "apple spans" inserted in the whitespace. The page had the proper Doctype declaration and to change that I would need to alter the page and the CSS which I wasn't planning to do for each of these pages. That is the mess I am referring to. Here is the first few lines:
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
    <html>
    <head>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Style-Type" content="text/css">
    <title></title>
    <meta name="Generator" content="Cocoa HTML Writer">
    <meta name="CocoaVersion" content="1038.32">
    </head>
    <body>
    <p class="p1">&lt;!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd"&gt;</p>
    <p class="p1">&lt;html&gt;</p>
    and
    <p class="p1"><span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span><span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>&lt;link rel="shortcut icon" href="<a href="view-source: favicon.ico"><span class="s1">favicon.ico</span></a>"&gt;</p>
    <p class="p1"><span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>&lt;/head&gt;</p>
    <p class="p1"><span class="Apple-tab-span"> </span>&lt;body&gt;</p>
    It is as if the program assumed that my html file was RTF and converted tags to character entities as in < becomes &lt;. The terminology for character encodings seems to be proprietary, I never heard of the names in the list for preferences. I took a guess and selected ISO-Latin-1 for the format to open and kept the UTF-8 as the format to save.

    I see there is a new version of TextWrangler available today so until I try that, I am not giving up. I can see why it is a strong temptation to run Windows on Mac though, just so you can keep on using familiar tools and get the job done.

  4. #4


    Member Since
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    Pretty sure you're confusing TextWrangler with TextEdit.

    TextEdit has several modes, one of which is a (very limited) WYSIWYG HTML editor which may well do what you're describing.

    TextWrangler is a pure text editor, which is what you're looking for.

  5. #5

    yogi's Avatar
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    If you're looking into something more (a lot more) powerful: TextMate is my editor of choice. It's a bit pricey, though.
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  6. #6

    Macata's Avatar
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    Text Edit is the first one I tried before I looked at Text Wrangler, it was a few months ago that I wrote off TextEdit. It is not impossible that the example I pasted was that result and not from TextWrangler since I didn't take notes. I downloaded the new TextWrangler today and it still has the strange names for character sets but I did not have the same problem I had before. It was about 6 months ago that I first tried these tools before I took the easy way out and went back to an old peecee until its hard drive died last week. I also found a pdf user's manual for TextWrangler that should make a difference.

    In a few years I might get around to try all the tools I have found so far for Mac, I was just kind of hoping to get some recommendations from people who use some of them. BBEdit looks like it has more of the features I use, I will take a look at TextMate. Free is nice, but I don't mind buying useful tools.

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