Arachnid is a semi-WYSIWYG HTML editor, but it is so slow a person grows old just using it.
The concept behind Arachnid is good one. Create your documents outside of the editor saving them as ASCII text or RTF files. Second, you create an Arachnid "project" that will form a family of HTML documents. Third, you then import the saved ASCII or RTF files and mark them up. If the copy was saved as RTF, then Arachnid successfully imports it and displays it in a window. Arachnid is the only editor with this feature. The editor even displays the text with its original formatting.
To create hypertext links you first select the text (or Arachnid "objects") you want to be hot and then URL Link tool icon from the floating palette onto the selected text. You are then prompted for a URL and a name for the link. The text then gets highlighted as if it appeared in a WWW browser and a database of URLs is updated.
Creating hypertext links to sound, movie, or picture files works in a similar manner. First you select some text and then drag the appropriate icon from the palette on to the selection. You are then prompted for a file through a standard Macintosh dialog box. (Only files that are in the same folder as your current Arachnid project are valid.) Once the file is selected, Arachnid creates the hypertext link for you.
Arachnid has three modes of operation: edit, pointer, browse. Edit mode is intended for entering text and marking up your document. Pointer mode allows you to move objects (paragraphs of text, picture, etc.) around on the screen. Browse mode imitates a WWW browser without any external hypertext links.
Despite these features, Arachnid is not very easy to use. It is a slow application taking a lot of time to switch between modes as well as simple entering of text. To actually create any HTML documents you must "Export" your text. A simple file with no formatting containing 2K characters took 2 minutes of processing on a Quadra 660AV. Importing text takes just as long. Furthermore, Arachnid does not even generate valid HTML; the resulting documents contain no BODY tags. Last, the Arachnid palette containing many of the tool you need for editing consume a large amount of screen real estate; it could be smaller. Arachnid works as advertised, but it does it in such a slow and round-about manner that you may want to use some other HTML editor reviewed here.
This page was first published on September 26, 1995. Feel free to send comments.