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Optima System PageSpinner 4.6.3 review

Code it yourself, but get a little extra help

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Our Verdict

A decent text editor at a bargain price, but not a great tool for working from scratch


  • Good assistance in constructing HTML

    Supports PHP and other languages

    Integrates well with other programs


  • No WYSIWYG capabilities

    Interface unpolished

    Templates are ugly

Want to code web pages, but can't afford BBEdit, Dreamweaver or GoLive?

Then PageSpinner is a good alternative. A text editor with source code highlighting, it also has many HTML-specific features, giving it a slight edge over BBEdit in some areas.

As with most of the programs in our Group Test, you start by picking a template. These are really just HTML frameworks, rather than fully-fledged artistic masterpieces, containing the necessary code for, say, a threeframe layout or a table of contents. You then add code to build up the rest of the page from this initial skeleton.

While not having the WYSIWYG capabilities of iWeb or Dreamweaver, PageSpinner does have all the text equivalents to those programs' drag-and-drop elements. There's an assistant for generating the code you need for a whole range of features, including tables, forms and frames; there's various HTML text formatting and structure options; there are even options for JavaScript events.

Unlike BBEdit, it doesn't assume you know everything about HTML already: there are numerous examples and online references to explain how coding works.

PageSpinner doesn't stop with HTML. It supports PHP, SSI and CSS development, with shortcuts to various common coding requirements linked in. There's also a built-in FTP client.

Compared with iWeb and RapidWeaver, PageSpinner feels unpolished and ugly. Its templates aren't going to help you develop an attractive website from scratch, unless you're extremely adept at web development.

However, for someone who wants to modify an existing set of web pages or who wants to learn HTML, PageSpinner is a god stop-gap until you can access a more powerful package. Rob Buckley