Finding More TopStyle Features

One of the advantages of an HTML/XHTML editing tool is its handy automations combined with its hands-on markup approach. HomeSite’s capability of saving snippets to drag and drop onto a page is a tool I’ve depended on for several years. Now that I’ve been doing nearly all my HTML/XHTML lately with TopStyle, one of my many picky requirements is a similar snippets feature. TopStyle has a Clip Library feature that even surpasses HomeSite’s already excellent snippets tool, though. In addition to saving your much-loved snippets for re-use, TopStyle’s version 3 added fully customizable “Replacement Tokens” and a Quick Insert feature to its snippet area, known in TopStyle as the “Clip Library.”

I’m finding TopStyle’s Replacement Tokens to be incredibly handy. Here’s an example. I have a snippet to quickly add a new link at my site that looks something like this:

<li><a href="" title=""></a> </li>
<!-- date added -->

To try out TopStyle’s Replacement Tokens feature I followed the instructions to add the delimiter "%r[...]" to my snippet, this time for the URL field:

<li><a href="%r[What’s the URL]" title=""></a> </li>
<!-- date added -->

I saved the sample, then clicked on my new Clip to see what the added delimiter would do. A new Replacement Token popup window appeared:

TopStyle Replacement Token popup window

I added the URL to the field, clicked OK, and my snippet, or “Clip” in TopStyle, appeared on the webpage with the URL completed. Seeing what the Replacement Token feature would do, I then went ahead and added more delimiters for the link text, the description, and the comment tag’s date information and tried it out. I’m sold.

The Replacement Token feature provides a fast, easy, and fully customizable way to add information to your snippets, or Clips, that may need something like that. I know I’ll use the Replacement Token feature every day in all kinds of ways for HTML/XHTML and CSS.

The Quick Insert feature provides fast access to 26 of your favorite snippets via the keyboard shortcut CTRL+Q. I’m finding the combination of the Quick Insert and the Replacement Tokens to be such fast and convenient features for site maintenance and creation. These are just two of the multitude of handy features in TopStyle. I suspect I’ll write about more in the days ahead here, too. Kudos to TopStyle’s creator, Nick Bradbury, for thinking of and implementing such user-friendly features.

Here’s TopStyle’s information from its Help section about its Clip Library features:

The clip library Ctrl+Shift+L enables you to store commonly-used snippets in a central location. Right-click on the clip library to add or remove items, and double-click or drag-and-drop an item to insert it into the current document.

For even faster insertion, use the quick insert (Ctrl+Q) feature to display a menu of up to 26 style library items. Once the menu is displayed, just type the letter corresponding to the item you want inserted.

Replacement Tokens may be used in clip library items. When TopStyle encounters a replacement token, it will prompt you for custom text before inserting a library item in the editor. Replacement tokens are delimited by %r[..], and the text between these delimiters appears on the prompt. For example, if you have the following item:

value="%r[what is the value]"

TopStyle will display a prompt with “what is the value” on it. If you respond to this prompt with "THIS VALUE" then TopStyle will insert:

value="THIS VALUE"

Beta Testing

Some of you know I’ve been beta testing the upcoming TopStyle 3.1x update. If you’re a registered version 3 user, you can also download the pre-release, give it a test spin, and join the beta testers if you wish. There’s also a beta testers newsgroup to add your 2 cents. If you haven’t done any beta testing before, this is a perfect opportunity, and it’s a fun and interesting adventure.

If you’re wondering when the version 3.1x update will be released, the next pre-release version will be available soon, so it looks like it won’t be much longer before the final release is ready.

02:14 pm, pst 2 January, 2003 Comments, Trackbacks ·';}?>

Categories: CSS, Development, Reviews, Software

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