EZHTML from CSVTech is an interactive online reference for HTML, and it’s also one of the growing number of commercially available Linux products that justify their cost by providing support via either telephone or e-mail. Unfortunately, we ran into a surprising number of problems when installing the product, making such support more necessary than expected.
Although EZHTML is provided as an RPM file (and only in that format), installing it via an rpm-i command under SuSE 6.2 wasn’t sufficient. When we tried this, RPM complained about two missing files on the system (/etc/psd/psd.config and /etc/psd/ rfwdh), which are supposed to be created during the installation process. Installing under Red Hat 6.0 also caused the missing-file error, which we circumvented by creating empty files with those names. Under SuSE 6.3 the program installed and ran without any problems.
When we asked CSV via e-mail for help on these issues they said that “hundreds” of people had experienced no problems with the product, most of them running under Red Hat and Caldera, and suggested that we use the command rpm -i –force –nodeps eztml-1.1-1.i386.rpm. This didn’t fix the missing-files problem under SuSE 6.2, but it did under Red Hat 6.0.
The final obstacle to installation concerned the glibc 2.0 library. Installing under SuSE 6.1 failed because the system lacked glibc 2.0, a requirement not mentioned on CSV’s Web site. This will not be an issue for many users, since glibc 2.0 support has been incorporated into the major distributions for quite some time.
Web-based support is clearly an area where CSV Technologies could use some improvement. The support page points you to an FAQ list, but the only link there is to another product (EZTerm), and there’s nothing specific to EZHTML.
The Product Itself
* Handy quick online reference for HTML
* Difficult installation
* Poor support
EZHTML groups HTML tags by functional area (structure, formatting, lists, tables, frames, and so forth) and then lists them in alphabetical order along with their corresponding attributes. In most cases you can click on the HTML tag or attribute to get an example, but unless you already know what the tag is used for, the terse descriptions probably won’t help much. In fact, you need a working knowledge of HTML to get much value from the program.
One of EZHTML’s most useful features is the ability to copy tags and attributes and then paste them into an editor by right-clicking the tag. This saves you some typing, but at the expense of switching between windows. The Color Picking feature is also useful, since it presents you with a choice of 15 predefined colors, or you can use three slide bars to create custom colors. You are then given the eight-digit hexadecimal value for that color, which you can transfer to any tags via standard X Windows copy-and-paste. Unfortunately, when you return to the color picker, EZHTML resets the slide bars to their default values.
The concept behind EZHTML is attractive enough: A quick online reference for HTML. But the problems we had with the product make it hard to recommend. Many people will find the need to switch between windows and the lack of detailed explanations of the tags a serious hindrance. The sparse detail is a side effect of the product’s intended use — it isn’t meant to be a comprehensive tutorial, but a quick reference for those who already know HTML. If you’re in that category and can work with the program’s system requirements and support issues, EZHTML can be a handy tool. For everyone else, the cost of the program might be better spent on a good HTML reference book.
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