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Arachnophilia HTML Editor

I found Arachnophilia many years ago when I was looking for a modern shareware replacement for my elderly WebEdit to complete my Web Tutorial. A number of postings and magazines have refereed favourably to Arachnophilia so I downloaded it from http://www.arachnoid.com/arachnophilia. I have been very impressed and and I used it most of the time for a couple of years and the only significant shortfall I found was that the spell checker was cumbersome. I can not find anything else major which is missing - some things have to be done differently and some seem less intuitive but in its favour are that it has many extra features. I now use both Arachnophilia and Hotdog 6.6 depending on the task. Both are basically HTML Editors not WYSIWYG HTML generators which is what I want. Both have the ability to display the results in a separate Window and need Internet Explorer loaded to provide the internal real time display window but are happy with many different browsers to provide external displays. Hotdog has superficially more features but is not free and has a steeper learning curve. I have to admit that under Linux I mostly used Nvu, a WYSIWYG editor until I rediscover Arachnophilia. I still use it when I am doing anything using a lot of tables and I use the W3C tidy program to check and tidy up HTML.

Arachnophilia 4.0 features: My first thought when I came to update this page with my Linux information was to remove this section as version 4 was out of date - I have left it so I can see if some of my favourite features return as the new version grows.

The first feature one sees in all versions of Arachnophilia is that it colours tags and does some real time checking for mismatched brackets. Keeping to the theme of checking and display version 4 provided site analysis tools which check for link integrity throughout the site and page layout and analysis tools to do check tag matching and overlapping etc on the page. These tools have both shown up previously unidentified errors on our site such as inconsistencies which would cause problems on most Servers. Arachnophilia allows one to define ones own additional tags and macros increasing it's power and helping proof it against new developments. Tags can be added via a main toolbar and a number of subsidiary configurable Toolbars. In addition there are very powerful context sensitive right click menus. Click with cursor in a color tag and you get a palette to change it. Click in a local link and a file box opens. Click in a selection and one option is to create a list and so on. You can also open or drag and drop from an RTF and it will automatically convert to HTML. Tables and conversion to tables are equally well supported. It will pay the user to spend an hour or two exploring the help files to discover the major features - I suspect I have missed many of them.

Arachnophilia 5.3 features: Arachnophilia underwent a major change at version 5 and is now written in Java so can be run on any platform. It is a perfect demonstration of all that is good in Java. You however need to download the version 1.5 or higher Java runtime package from Sun. The program seems more flexible but less powerful but I am sure it will grow rapidly. The tag colouring and beautification is still there but the site analysis tools which check for link integrity throughout the site and page layout and analysis tools to do check tag matching and overlapping etc on the page are missing. The browser support is for via a separate window rather than an internal display which allows you to check with many browsers but is less convenient in some ways. The global search and replace through many pages is however even more powerful and well thought out.

One feature you will notice in Arachnophilia 5.x is that it always uses closing tags where possible and where not the tags are made self closing. For example a paragraph always has a </p> tag to end it and a list element <li> always has a closing </li> tag to end it. Where a closing tag is not available such as a line break <br> it is made self closing ie <br/>. This is valid HTML and consistent with XHTML. If you wish to use the Beautification command or Validation command you will need to change exiting code to this convention. The Meta and Link statements in the Head will also all need to be made self closing.

Arachnophilia 5.3 - Installing in Ubuntu Linux

The latest issue version 5.3 improves a number of the features and supports XHTML and identifies a number of shortfalls in HTML code which needs to be XHTML compatible. It runs under Sun Java 1.4 or higher and are both cross-platform and true Freeware. Before running Arachnolphilia you need to check and if necessary load the correct version of Sun Java in Ubuntu Linux - the standard build has a free package which may already be loaded and is not suitable - you should install Sun Java and also make a change so it is used by default.

First check for which version you are using by opening a terminal and doing

java -version

if you get a response including something like java-gcj you have the one that does not work although it is version 1.4.

Now see if any others are present, 

update-java-alternatives -l

I found the correct one was loaded but not the default. So if you have a Sun Java higher than 1.4 loaded then select it by name, for example 

sudo update-java-alternatives -s java-1.5.0-sun

If you do not have one then you have to use Applications -> Add/Remove -> Advanced -> Search for sun-java and Mark the sun-java5-bin sun-java5-jre and sun-java5-plugin for installation -> Apply. Repeat the two lines above to check it is now there and select it.

Now you can download Arachnophilia.jar and put it somewhere safe as you will use it every time you start Arachnophilia - I put it in my home directory but hid it by renaming it to .Arachnophilia. You can now install or run it by just:
java -jar ~/.Arachnophilia.jar
You can make this into an alias or put it in a launcher on the desktop


Before you leave you should understand the concept of Careware. When I first read Paul Lutus's web pages and his philosphy I was just starting this web site - it had a real impact and I have tried on the web site to give back to the community something of what it gave me. People often ask why I have not made it more commercial and why there are no adverts. Some of Paul's philosophy and that of Ubuntu have much in common. Arachnophilia is CareWare - it does not cost money  it seeks, but does not insist, on a different form of payment. It is best to go to the site and read about the  Careware concept yourself but to give an idea I quote some examples of some deals suggested by the author if you wish to obtain Arachnophilia.

If you find Arachnophilia useful or have enjoyed - or even got help from my web pages - then when you get the opportunity to offer something back then please find a little time to do so rather than make the usual excuses one is too busy.

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Copyright © Peter and Pauline Curtis
Content revised to Version 5.1: 19th October, 2002
Linux section and Version 5.3: 14th November, 2006
Last significant revision: 2nd August, 2007
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