The first web page I ever wrote was in Claris Home Page. After discovering how many errors Home Page created, I decided to learn some HTML and started writing pages in Simple Text, sometimes using Home Page to pre-format things. This worked fine but I was relying on the browser iCab, to find the errors which were many. Clicking on iCab's frowny face often revealed a list of problems. Fortunately iCab pinpoints them and describes the error. The two choices I had for viewing a Simple Text HTML document, were to drop it on the iCab icon or to choose "Open File" from the iCab menu, then go through the directories until I got to the Simple Text file. After the first several re-edits, this got a little tedious. Once my first page was uploaded, I checked it out on the server. After browsing a few other sites, I opened the iCab cache as I sometimes do, to look for any good GIFs or JPEGs that may have been downloaded. There, I found my page stored as an iCab cache document. I checked the size of this document against the original Simple Text version and found out the iCab file took up only 1/3 of the space. I also discovered I could open the page in iCab from anywhere on any disk, just by double clicking it.
The problem was that I couldn't use iCab to edit pages. It will only display the source code. Fortunately an application exists that can edit just about any kind of text document. BBEdit worked nicely for this and I have been writing my pages in iCab cache documents ever since. I just pull one at random out of the cache or duplicate one, rename it, open it in BBEdit, clear it, then write the page. These upload just fine as text files and can be opened locally from a disk, in any browser and on any platform. You can also set the iCab Source Display preferences to use BBEdit and edit pages on the fly. The changes will register in the iCab window, as soon as you save them.* You can even alter pages from the web and save them to your Mac. Lest you think I'm affiliated with iCab somehow, this may also work with cache documents from other browsers, although I haven't tried it :-)
*Update 5/21/05: Lately, I have been working with the betas of iCab 3.0. It has already surpassed iCab 2.x in many ways. However, it is now necessary to reload the page after saving it, before the changes will register. The advantage to this is that since your position on the page now stays relative to where you were before reloading, you can see instantly, the effect the change has made.
When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.
A. A. Milne, Pooh's Little Instruction Book
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