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PICK OF THE DAY - 07/20/99

TextPipe Pro

In high school I always sucked at foreign languages. I took both Spanish and German (twice) and never got the hang of them. I tried really hard (well, somewhat) but always seemed to struggle. I was good in all the other tough classes like gym, study hall, and art, yet foreign language was so difficult. Anyway, it wouldn't have helped me in Spanish class but TextPipe Pro is an awesome translation utility in its own right. Like me, it�s not too slick with languages either, but for any other type of text tweaking, translating, or modifying, it�s a pro.

You know how programs like Adobe PhotoShop use filters to perform specific tasks on an image? That�s basically what TextPipe Pro does for your text files. You select a text document, choose what filters you want applied to it, and TextPipe Pro kicks into action and does it. If you think you�re going to apply these filters and suddenly have flaming text or words that glow, you�re mistaken. This is after all a word processing program and not an image editor so we�re talking strictly about text editing features. That doesn�t mean though that the filters aren�t impressive nonetheless. What they may lack in visual style, they more than make up for in time saving and general convenience especially if you're working with large or multiple text files.

Many different text filters come with TextPipe Pro. Here are a few highlights (You can find out about the rest of them yourself). Standout filters include: multiple search and replace, joining text files, stripping out certain characters, convert files to/from Unix, Mac, and PC, add boilerplate text, and word wrapping text.

Surprisingly enough, while TextPipe Pro was designed as a straight text editing program it turns out to be a great HTML tool. Not necessarily for creating Web pages, but for working with pages and sites after they�re finished. For example, the multi-file search and replace is great for occasions where a link or block of text that�s on every page is incorrect or needs updating. TextPipe Pro will blow through the entire site, no matter how many pages it contains, and make all the required changes. In a similar vein, TextPipe Pro is great for when you need to add an additional item once the site is already up and running. For instance, if you decide you want to sign up for a link exchange type program or sign up as an Amazon.com affiliate site and need to add a chunk of HTML code to every single page. Not exactly a quick task if you�ve got 100 pages to do and you�re doing them all manually. Again, with TextPipe Pro just write the text/code you want added once and let it insert it on every page for you.

You can also optimize your existing Web pages by having TextPipe Pro strip out all the extra spaces an unnecessary characters some advanced HTML editors bloat up your pages with. The theory goes, the less actual text on a page, the faster the page will load in a person�s browser. By having your site fit and trim you�re shaving off a few seconds of load time on every page they visit. If you want to take it to extremes, TextPipe Pro can completely bulldoze out all the HTML code on a Web page. This isn�t all that useful if you�re designing a site, but it is handy if you save other peoples' Web pages to your hard drive. You can then read them as text documents without all the extra HTML code to get in your way.

Thanks to a command line option TextPipe Pro can be configured to run its filters automatically in batch mode> If you have a really large job to do, TextPipe Pro can run overnight while you sleep so the next morning when you awake it will have finished. Multiple filters can be configured to run in any order you choose so a single document can be almost completely reformatted and changed with just a few simple steps. Additional filters to what come standard with TextPipe Pro are released periodically. Registering the program will cost you $20.

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