Monday, January 17, 2011

Quanta Plus In Ubuntu

A few months ago I came across a web editor called Quanta Plus and have not stopped using it since. I always used DreamWeaver for most of my HTML coding, but when I made the transition to Linux I knew that this was not going to be an easy task, having DreamWeaver installed in Linux was going to be a problem. So like everyone else in search of something new, I searched and searched and sadly to say that the candidates that I came across were not very good candidates at all as replacements for DreamWeaver (e.g. Mozilla SeaMonkey, Bluefish, Amaya, Komozer, Nva).

Most of the candidates were either too complex, crashed, or too out of date with minimal improvements. So when I came to install Quanta from the Ubuntu Software Center in Ubuntu, I thought why not I will just uninstall it if I do not like it. Well to my surprise I was impressed.

The pane structure reminded me of DreamWeaver. It allowed me to see the changes take effect on the top pane as I coded on the bottom one. That was great because that is what I was aiming to find in an editor, which only DreamWeaver and a couple of other proprietary HTML editors can do.

The drawback though, there is no control as to moving the panes around. In DreamWeaver one has the option of moving the source editor on the top or the bottom or vise versa with the visual editor, but you can still enable a full screen for the source editor, visual editor, or even display both. The visual editor is always on the top and the source one at the bottom.

One interesting thing that I found is the way Quanta handles tables. In DreamWeaver table format is displayed in the menu tool bar, while in Quanta there is no control of the menu toolbar. Most of the control is emphasized in other tool bars with various names. You can customize things by going to the menu bar under "Settings > Configure Toolbars...".

To create a table in Quanta the developer will have to go to "Tables > Table Editor". The cursor must be placed on the source editor section and not in the visual editor section in order for it to work. This also applies to modification of the tables as well. In order to modify a table the cursor must be placed in any tag within the table code on the source editor section and then by clicking on the tables tab and selecting Table Editor.

There is a Style tab which gives the options for modifying certain tags or elements, but I do not recommend using them for larger projects. Create you own style sheets and link to them by going to "Other > Link Tag". The icon will look like a ship anchor and the last one on the list. If you click on it, a pop-up window shows up. Click on the button next to the blank area where it says Href: and browse for your stylesheet. Then under Type select text/css then click on OK.

One problem that I recently resolved was that I did not wanted to bold words out by manually typing in the code nor did I like the option given by the editor. So I went to the Menubar under "Settings > Configure Actions" and clicked on Styles then clicked on New Action at the bottom left hand side of the pop-up window. I left Type: as is. On Text: I typed the letter B and optionally clicked on the box next to it and browsed over to Other icons until I select tag_bold and then clicked OK and on the Tool tip: section I typed Bold. I left Shortcut as is as well as the Container toolbars: as I only wanted it to appear in the Style tab. Then on the <tag> area I typed <b> and checked off the </tag> and in its area added </b>. There is another way of doing this without going through all that tedious task and that is by changing the bold style already setup in the Standard tab. Under the Container toolsbar: Click on add and select Style. I personally do not like the strong tag as a replacement for bold so I would change that to the obvious one as well, but it is totally up to you.

The sad thing about all this is that Quanta Plus is currently a dead project, meaning that there is nobody maintaining or fixing things that could improve the software. It started off well, but the developers who maintained the project just abandoned it. It might have been for obvious reasons, such as low funding or perhaps the developers where just kids doing it as a hobby, but what ever the reason may be, I really think they were off to a great start.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Music Media Players in Linux

When it comes to music media players, it is no surprise that Linux brings home the crown in quantity, but is it worth the quality? So far I can honestly say that there have been tremendous improvement in terms of style as well as functionality. The ones that I am going to comment on are just two.

Rhythmbox is very easy to use. I remember a couple of times trying to crossover to something different and complicated, such as Amarok, just to end up removing any new candidate that I came across. And I think what has made it almost impossible to leave Rhythmbox is the constant improvements being done to it. It currently has three stores to its left navigation, one which I think will put i tunes in an awkward spot. They are Jamendo, Magnatune, and my favorite Ubuntu One. With Ubuntu One all you have to do is create an account and wallah you have your own place to buy your music, just like i tunes. There is also a radio station and of course lets not forget Rhythmbox has also been the default music player for most Gnome based distributions, but soon that will all change as well. Word on the street is that there is a new contender that will be getting the spot light for new gnome distributions.

I recently had the opportunity to try out Banshee and I can honestly say it has come a long way since we last crossed path. I definitely see it replacing Rhythmbox in the near future, but I was disappointed when I did not see Ubuntu One on the left navigation. I am sure that will eventually change, at least hopeful for the most part. I did though saw that it has the capability of playing videos, something that has not been seen in Rhythmbox at least from what I know. I was excited to see the Amazon MP3 store available in the left navigation side since I have an account and saves time from installing the Amazon MP3 app manually in the system. It is great that they are thinking ahead of all this mayor integrations. The other thing that I liked is the import feature. Media can be imported from Folders, Amazon MP3 Purchaser, and even from Rhythmbox or i tunes music player. If you click on View you can also activate the context pane which will give you a run down of the artist and the song being played. The information is coming in from two providers, or Wikepedia. You most likely will need an account with Another one which is not visible by default is Youtube. In order to enable it you will need to go to "Edit > Preferences > Extensions" and under Context Pane, check off Youtube, but I wonder if there will be others added to the system?