Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Software: PSPad

Just because I have not published any new P'nei Adonai essays in a month does not mean I have not tried. I am in the middle of three that I hope to finish today.

I had a little time in the morning before my wife woke up in which I wanted to stay interruptible for when she awoke and wanted breakfast. So I did not want to resume that writing, but wanted to be productive. I decided to investigate an alternative to Wordpad for writing my HTML files.

I found PSPad, which is so far delightful. To make it little more than a syntax highlighter I had to do a little bit of customization:
  • Switch the "Control Panel" to be a file tree, and hide it with Ctrl-F2 until I need it
  • Hide the Project, Control, HTML, and Macro tool bars
  • Hide the ruler
  • Set the color for the right edge mark to the background color, to hide it
  • Lighten the color of the current line indicator, so it's barely noticeable
  • Turn on "auto hide left gutter" (options: program look)
  • Turn off "auto open new file after start" (options: program behavior)
  • Turn off "wrap (soft) with right edge" (options: editor behavior)
  • Turn off "completion of chars ({[<"'" (options: editor behavior)
All of that took only a few minutes. The help files are thorough and easy to search.

Now I have the simple syntax highlighter I want. The program does additional nice things I'll use someday.
  • Instant HTML preview, with buttons to switch between all three common window sizes
  • Change all HTML code to lowercase (I prefer this, it can also change to uppercase)
  • Check HTML code validity
  • Compare text differences between two files
  • Spell check that ignores HTML code
  • Color selector pop-up, not as robust as this website but quicker
Of course it also does a vast number of things I'll never have use for. It's very nice that someone wrote this free program in a way that allows me to "shrink it" down to what I desire both visually and functionally.

I always pay my shareware fees. This is freeware, but I'll donate something if I'm still using it after a month. So far, so good, so I assume that will be true.

This blog post not only shares my delightful find with friends, but is my way of keeping track of those user preference changes for when I install the software on my computer at work at sell. Ha ha!