Thursday, 19 May 2005

Textile: humane HTML

Another good reason to not learn HTML. :D

A self-proclaimed "Humane Web Text Generator", Textile is a tool that makes it easy for you to create HTML source codes without having to type in the HTML tags yourself.

Textile uses its own predefines 'modifiers' to generates tags for your paragraphs, lists, links and even tables. The modifiers are actually a simpler representation of the HTML tags, but they can only be used with Textile. Textile can be used to generate HTML source codes for your blogs, forums, e-mail or web pages.

Here's a sample text that I created using Textile modifiers:
*The _Hangs_*

* Hang Tuah
* Hang Jebat
* Hang Kasturi
* Hang Lekir
* Hang Lekiu
* -William Hung-

I clicked on the 'Text to HTML' button, got the HTML source codes and pasted them here. Here's how the output looks like:

The Hangs

  • Hang Tuah
  • Hang Jebat
  • Hang Kasturi
  • Hang Lekir
  • Hang Lekiu
  • William Hung

In the simple example above, I only used the modifiers for strong (bold), emphasize (italic), unordered list and deleted text. You can click on the "Load sample input text" link to see a demonstration of what Textile is capable of. You can also see a preview of how your generated HTML source codes should look like.

After several tries, I can safely tell you two things about using Textile:
  1. Pay attention to whitespaces: the blanks or spaces between the words and lines. They affect the generated source code . For example, when using the unordered list or numeric list modifier, there should be a space between ’#’ and the list item. Refer back to the sample text with the Textile modifiers above. Notice the white space between the '#' and 'Hang Tuah'? Without the whitespace, the output codes generated is different.

  2. Knowledge of HTML is a bonus. If you know HTML, you can further change the generated sources codes according to how you want your output to look like.

Textile may not be the perfect solution to make you skip learning HTML altogether, but it's definitely a convenience. Especially if you need to generate HTML codes quickly. I used Textile to generate for the numeric list in the above paragraph and it turned out nicely.

Textile is actually part of Textpattern, an open-source content management software for websites and blogs.


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