One of the very useful tools in my web design toolkit is Westciv’s StyleMaster software for creating Cascading StyleSheets. Version 3.5 helped me tidy up several stylesheets I’d created by hand, and then along came the beta period for version 4, which I mentioned in passing recently as
the other product.
Style Master 4 has now been released, and I can say it’s a very significant update. I love the new live updates, where you can see the effect of code changes on the preview page — which can be a local page or already live on the web. I love the X-Ray feature where I can click on an item on the preview and see which rules affect it. The CSS reference is invaluable, and the tutorial is where I started with the software a few years ago.
I’ve found I can’t really break myself of the habit of hand-coding the stylesheet, but I do it within StyleMaster where the red syntax warnings instantly show me where there are mistakes. Just yesterday I solved an annoying problem where viewing the code in StyleMaster highlighted a typo which had broken my stylesheet. The auto-complete can save a lot of typing too. If you prefer using pop-up selectors to just hand coding then there are plenty of choices.
There are loads of features on the list, including validation, browser warnings, being able to open the HTML file for editing in a text editor — Tex-Edit Plus and Text Wrangler added after my request for them.
There are wizards and templates too, and very respectable ones which look great. Several of my clients wanting budget sites have been thrilled with the templates I’ve used.
If you make web pages you should be using stylesheets. If you’re using stylesheets then you owe it to yourself to check out StyleMaster. Try out the 30 day demo and you’ll probably be handing over the US$59.99 well before the end of the month. Westciv also offer some bundles with their tutorials and other software so look into them before you buy.
I’ve been using StyleMaster 4 for several months now throughout the beta test period and features have been added by the boatload. I’m thrilled with it.
[Via dog or higher.]