HTML Editors and E-mail Clients for Linux

Two pieces of software cause me to use Win95/98 more than Caldera 2.3: MS FrontPage 98 and Eudora Pro 4.22. Does Linux have any software that can replace these two applications? Note that neither program was free and I don't expect the Linux 'versions' to be free, either. -Maurice

Two pieces of software cause me to use Win95/98 more than Caldera 2.3: MS FrontPage 98 and Eudora Pro 4.22. Does Linux have any software that can replace these two applications? Note that neither program was free and I don’t expect the Linux ‘versions’
to be free, either. -Maurice

I personally do not use Windows to do any Web site creation because there are so many great editors available for Linux. The first one that comes to mind is CoffeeCup, which includes most of the functionality found in Windows- based software.

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Figure One: CoffeeCup provides most of the tools that you’ll need to create a Web site.
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Figure Two: The Mozilla-based Script Editor can edit any scripting language used for Web development.

Here’s a short list of CoffeeCup’s features: JavaScript, a document start wizard, pre-built table and frame designs, many HTML tags, background images, animated GIFs, Web icon graphics, a snippet editor, and project directories for easy management of files. The Linux version also includes PHP and VRML samples. It’s not free, but it’s cheap — only $20. Check it out at http://www.coffeecup.com. Figure One contains a screen shot of the application interface. It’s really user-friendly software.

Another worthy application to look at is Script Editor by Alphanumerica. Script Editor is a Mozilla- based application that is capable of editing not only HTML, but also Javascript, PHP, XUL, and other scripting languages that are used for Web development. It currently uses the same XPFE cross-platform front end that Mozilla uses, and XUL which is an XML-based interface language technology designed to run on top of Mozilla. The Script Editor will work on all platforms that are supported by Mozilla. You can check out its interface in Figure Two.

Both of these utilities should give you a good start. There are many other HTML editors available for Linux. Look through http://www.sourceforge.net as well as http://www.freshmeat.net if you want a larger selection of software than you’ll ever be able to download.

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Figure Three: Netscape Mail can meet many of your e-mail needs.
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Figure Four: With Mozilla you can handle multiple e-mail accounts.
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Figure Five: XCmail handles multiple data formats easily.

As far as e-mail clients go, there are many options to choose from. Since there are so many clients available, it’s impossible to talk about them all. So let’s look at three e-mail options that are definitely worth a try. The first one we’ll look at is the Netscape mail client. Netscape Mail does not have all of the features of Eudora Pro, but it does almost everything that you’ll need — stuff like retrieving mail, filtering messages, reading text or HTML e-mail, and attachments. Check out the Netscape Mail interface in Figure Three.

The latest Mozilla release is very similar to Netscape Mail, but adds the additional functionality of handling multiple accounts. That can come in handy if you have many accounts that you log into at any given time. The Mozilla interface is on display in Figure Four.

The last e-mail client that we’ll look at is XCmail. It can handle both local and POP3 mail accounts as well as MIME attachments. It comes with many viewers, encoders, and decoders, which makes handling all kinds of data formats very easy. It also supports UIDL and includes a UIDL history. This is a very handy tool while using your computer on the road. It allows you to log in to your mail server and grab only those e-mails that have been sent since your last download. It also knows which e-mails have been deleted by the user and will not download them again. Other benefits of XCmail include the ability to handle multiple mail-boxes, PGP encryption, foreign language translation (using Alta Vista’s Babelfish service), and spell checking. XCmail also has a very handy e-mail filtering system to help keep that inbox organized and clean.

This should give you an idea of what’s available on the X Windows side, but there are also a bunch of text-based clients that are worth mentioning (although we won’t look at any here in detail). One of the best of them is Mutt. Another good one that I used in college is called Pine. These two applications are very good and you should give them a shot to see if you like them.

There are many more applications out there which are either free (as in “free beer”) or really cheap, and which can give you most of the functionality you need. I hope this overview has given you a good idea of what’s available and where to find more information about tools and utilities that might be of use to you in the future.

Happy Linuxing.

App Tips

* Helix-Gnome (http://www.helixcode.com): Let’s give a round of applause to the Helixcode people for creating the coolest Gnome desktop around. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to upgrade Helix Gnome — it only took two commands to start the process (I hope that this kind of install is the wave of the future for Linux). Just go to the Helixcode website to find the latest and greatest of whatever’s available for Gnome. Very Cool!!! This site is a definite must see. If you have a quick connection and some time, you should try this one out (See our On the Desktop column, pg. 76).

* Grub (http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/#download): GNU GRUB is a multiboot bootloader. GRUB stands for Grand Unified Bootloader. I had the opportunity to use it recently and I like it very much. One feature that made it quite nice was the fact that you didn’t have to redo the entire configuration process after making a simple change to the configuration file (which you have to do if you are using the more popular LILO). GRUB has a flexible and powerful command-line interface that makes it rather easy to reconfigure your setup on the fly. It does require a bit more technical savvy than LILO, however, but it’s very good software.

* Linux Router Project (http://www.linuxrouter.org/download.shtml): This is basically a distribution of Linux that is small enough to fit on a single 1.44 MB floppy disk. It makes building and maintaining devices such as routers, thin servers, thin clients, network appliances, and any other type of embedded system easy.

Gaylen Brown is a senior consultant at Linuxcare, Inc. He can be reached at tech@linux-mag.com.

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