CSSEdit 2

I liked CSSEdit 1 back in 2004 when I’d just switched to the Mac, but some erratic, hard-to-reproduce problems, the nature of which I can’t recall now, prevented me from using it.

Now two years later, CSS Edit 2 is out, and I decided to spend the $15 on an upgrade. You can’t really test it if you can’t use it on a real project and save your changes.

Turns out, it still doesn’t beat TextMate. Here’s why:

When you’re doing dynamic web development locally, you can’t preview on the source files, only on the final HTML. So you’ll use Save As in your browser. But then you have to jump through hoops to get CSS Edit to show you the saved HTML file with the CSS file that you have open in the editor. Here’s all the steps you need to go through:

  1. Save as in browser
  2. Switch to CSS Edit editor window
  3. File > Apply to HTML
  4. Click +
  5. Locate file
  6. Check the “Remove existing stylesheets”
  7. Click Apply to files
  8. Switch to the preview window

And you need to do this each time you’ve made a change to the HTML. That pretty much does it in right there for anything but CSS for static pages.

I also have two minor gripes. First, X-ray really cool, but why can’t it then open up the relevant style(s) in the CSS file? I click on something, realize it has too much margin, and then I need to go hunt-and-peck in the CSS file to find the style. It would be cool if it could take me directly there. It would probably have to be a menu of all the things being inherited by this element, but even so.

Finally, I really miss auto-save when losing focus that TextMate has. Once you get used to it, it’s indispensable. I already have version control, so there’s never a situation where I don’t want it to save my file. With auto-save when the app loses focus, I can just quickly switch back and forth between editor and browser without having to worry about saving.

All in all, though I had my hopes up high, I can’t really use this version, either, mainly because of the first issue above. Now I have to go see if there’s a money-back guarantee.

UPDATE: Jan, the author of CSSEdit, responds, and explains why I was mistaken. I’m now a happy convert. Thanks, Jan!


Jan Van Boghout

Hi Lars, I'm the CSSEdit developer. The huge feature in CSSEdit 2 is exactly what solves your first problem above. You can just add the URL of your local site like you would in Safari, and then map the style sheets to your files using the Override function. You won't need to export HTML or anything, just map it to the CSS files once and you're set forever. After that you can see all changes to your dynamic site in real time. Regarding X-ray, I hear your pain :) Cheers, Jan
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Funny, I came of with the exact opposite experience. Regarding Xray, I agree with you 100%. Looking forward to a Xmas present soon. ;) I also used CSSEdit 1.7 and decided that it was unusable with the lack of rapid feedback but like the comment above, CSSE2's ability to hijack any webpage live or running on a local address (127... or 0.0.0 but not localhost) is pretty cool. Maybe there should be a screencast for this since it hardly translates with written explanations and screenshots.
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Lars Pind

Jan, Sorry for letting your comment sit in the moderation queue for almost 3 weeks - I simply didn't see it until now. I sure wish I had seen it before because you're right, it does work for me. At least now, after the latest upgrade. The trouble I had was with logging in. I'm not sure where it gets the cookie from, it seems to be Safari, but it also seems to not update it when I log out. But the bottom line is that it works beautifully now. You have one more converted user!
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