Access to external browsers for previewing is a little on the primitive side though, with a pre-populated list oddly based on some of the more uncommon (with the exception of Opera) web browsers available for Linux.
Don't fear: there may not be Epiphany and Firefox options to be found by default, but Bluefish enables you to edit your menu and add additional browsers to it, although you'll have to work out the command line options if you want to do more than just open the browser at the search page.
This includes the code colouring and highlighting features we mentioned earlier, which opens Bluefish up to a slightly larger potential userbase than solely web developers. It's just unfortunate that it doesn't provide you with a graphical view of what you're editing.
The addition of this feature would make Bluefish an incredibly powerful application, raising it above and beyond being a neat environment for code entry and reference.
Verdict: An overcrowded but powerful tool, enhanced by a useful reference guide. 8/10
Licence: Free under the W3C Software Licence
One of the first web editors we came across is Amaya, and it immediately piqued our interest.
What struck us was the fact that this is the editor not only used by, but also endorsed by, the W3C – they of web standards fame – immediately forcing us to cast a more critical eye than we would normally.
What's interesting is that Amaya is designed to enable you to try out some of the very newest technologies within XHTML, and also to act as a kind of standardschecking tool to ensure you produce clean pages that adhere to the rigid guidelines laid down by the W3C.
With all this in mind, we were expecting to see a pleasant interface, offering easily accessible options. What we experienced of Amaya fell short of that ideal, in that it appears to be a hastily mashed-together tool with the sole purpose of doing some limited debugging of XHTML code – when we could get it to stay open without crashing for long enough to use it.
First, let's deal with the good. By default you're editing a preview of the finished product, so you're able to apply different styles, colours and other effects on the fly. There's also the option to view the code underneath each page, enabling you to edit it as and when you require.
Unfortunately, technical issues are the program's downfall. Whether it's Ubuntu 8.10 or Amaya itself, we just couldn't do anything really meaningful, because it kept locking up our system, forcing us to resort to the power button and reboots.
We tried and failed repeatedly to do anything even halfproductive before giving up in absolute frustration. As such, we'd recommend you steer clear if you want to keep your blood pressure from sky-rocketing!
Verdict: Running Amaya is an exercise in frustration that you can easily avoid. Use for checking code only. 3/10
3. OpenOffice.org Writer/Web
Licence: Free under the LGPL
At first glance you might think we're stark raving mad to include Writer in this Roundup of web editors. However, once you've recovered from the initial shock, you should see that it becomes something of a worthy inclusion.
That's because we're not talking about Writer in the form of a traditional word processor, but rather looking at the web editor aspect that opens up when you try to import an HTML document. The interface changes, and the first inkling that you have that things have changed is the presence of a little web icon in the toolbar and the appearance of the words "OpenOffice. org Writer/Web" in the title bar.