It’s true. I hate CSS. Cascading style sheets were all the rage 15 years ago, and most websites today use the convoluted mess of CSS code to create and manage the look and format of a webpage. Most developers and designers who live and breathe in CSS each day have a variety of tools to help them through the arcane and non-sensical rules of the popular style sheet language.
For years Mac users had CSSEdit, arguably one of the best CSS editors around, but neglected by the developer in favor of an editor (which I have and dislike using) that costs more but delivers fewer CSS features. In recent years I’ve taken to scouring the web for usable CSS tools, including Swimbi, whose claim to fame is CSS menus, and nothing more.
Swimbi is more of a collection of drop down menu designs using CSS and hundreds of icons all wrapped up in an elegant and somewhat simplistic Mac user interface which looks unsurprisingly like the Windows version from which it is derived.
What you want from Swimbi is something that looks like this.
What I like about Swimbi is how fast CSS menus can be created, customized, modified; though they all tend to look somewhat the same. Having a few hundred menu-matching graphic icons helps.
Still, the Swimbi user interface is decidedly Windows-like for the Mac version.
CSS is sufficiently convoluted and complex that having an editor specifically to create menus is almost mandatory. Even the vaunted and popular CSSEdit would choke on complex CSS menu code. Swimbi is a good way to create similar looking CSS menus very quickly.
That brings me to the sorrier state of CSS editors for the Mac. CSSEdit, no longer updated by the developer, was among the best; intuitive to use, with real time editing and preview. Otherwise, CSS is treated much like a bolted on function of most text editors, and those that manage to blend CSS 2.1 with 3.x are as complex to use as vanilla CSS itself. Even the website for the once popular Style Master CSS editor for Mac and Windows offers up mostly 404 File Not Found webpages.
For those interested, I’ve recently come upon Xpressive, a relatively new Mac HTML and CSS editor which claims to combine the best of Espresso, CSSEdit, and TextMate (I have all three). At first glance it appears to be more than just a CSS editor, but is rooted in HTML5 and CSS3. I’ll report on Xpressive after a more thorough use.