Textpattern Web Design

*CMS, or HTML/CSS Editor?*

Many programs for building websites, as in markup and stylesheet editors, enable multiple windows for simultaneously working on the content and presentation of a page. For example, ??index.html?? and ??style.css?? in two tiled windows. They also usually have a button or menu for viewing the current page in a browser or two.

At least for me, this ability to view/edit both the XHTML and the CSS at the same time is helpful. And I would even prefer a more-or-less real-time browser view, showing the page as it changes.

The default “Textpattern”:http://textpattern.com/ interface can also be considered a website builder, in addition to being a content management system. Wisely, for the sake of avoiding great complexity, it is by default a “one-window” editor. However, always reloading the page is inefficient, for example:

bq. Open “Presentation > Pages,” and edit the markup. Click “Save.” Open “Presentation > Style” (thus closing the markup page), and edit the CSS. Click “Save.” Remember you need to edit the Form, ….

*Enter tabbed browsing:*

When using “Firefox”:http://firefox.com/, or any browser that supports multiple windows, I find an effective technique is to open several instances of the “TxP”:http://textpattern.com/ interface *for the same site* that I’m building, in browser tabs.

For example, I usually open these tabs in this order: +Presentation > Pages+, +Presentation > Style+, and +View Site+. This way, I can almost simultaneously edit the XHTML and the CSS, and see the edited page.

Sometimes, I also open additional pages in some more tabs, including: +Presentation > Forms+ and/or +Content > Write+ or +Content > Articles+.

Initially, I was surprised this works, but TxP is smart enough to know that this computer is logged in, and each tab interacts with the database separately, and you can’t click inside two tabs at once. Whatever, it seem to work.

As a result, though I’ve downloaded and bought several HTML editors, I find them mostly unnecessary. Especially when the excellent Firefox “Web Developer plugin”:http://chrispederick.com/work/webdeveloper/ by “Chris Pederick”:http://chrispederick.com/ is installed. The only exception is when I’m bug-hunting, and the validators haven’t helped me pinpoint the bug, then the code-coloring feature of a dedicated editor program is helpful.

*One tip:* if you’re working on multiple sites, or you like to keep your own blog open, start a new instance of the browser for each site. Otherwise, mixing multiple tabs from multiple sites is at least confusing, and at worst dangerous.

*One caveat:* Don’t open the _same_ TxP page more than once. For example, don’t load +Presentation > Pages+ for the same site twice in two tabs. I haven’t tried it, and don’t want to.

_Textpattern in multiple tabs. It’s a beautiful thing._