Splash of Style...Macs, Photography, Design, and other Passions

How to Use Sugars in Espresso Code Editor

May 17, 2009 by debbie T | Expression EngineMac SoftwareWeb Design

I have been working with Espresso code editor from MacRabbit, and so far it’s been a good experience, but I wanted to learn more about Espresso Sugars….Sugars are little plug-ins for Espresso. Don’t ask me exactly what they all do, because I am just learning; but I believe they add functionality and coding languages to Espresso.

I downloaded the Expression Engine sugar, since that is the CMS I have been working on. I figured it would be a great help to have the Expression Engine coding easily accessible.

So, I copied the .sugar file into the sugar directory, and tried to figure out what to do next. I felt pretty stupid! I found the Expression Engine codes in the Actions menu, but they were all grayed out. huh? In fact, most of the Actions seemed to be grayed out.

I found nothing on Google, so I figured it was best to ask for help on the Espresso Discussion Forum for sugars. I quickly received an answer from Anthony Short, who I just realized is the author of the Expression Engine sugar! ha! Too funny.

Anyway, he told me Espresso should be able to automatically figure out that it’s an Expression Engine document (which it wasn’t doing) but if not, I needed to set the language for the document under View>Language.


That did the trick! All the Expression Engine coding was magically listed in the “Snippets” panel. The coding also works with code completion, which is a lot easier!

Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently set the language to Expression Engine for the document. Once you close the file or quit Espresso, it reverts back. I hope there is some way to save the document language in the future.

CSSEdit and Espresso Editors by MacRabbit

May 16, 2009 by debbie T | CSSMac SoftwareWeb DesignWeb Development

I have used quite a few Mac code editors but to be honest, I had never been 100% satisfied with any code editor on the Mac (sigh) as I was with Dreamweaver, Homesite, and/or HTML-Kit on Windows. It’s not that I am not happy with Mac editors, I just never found the absolute perfect replacement.

I started using skedit years ago, and I found it was sufficient for larger coding tasks. For quick coding tweaks, I found nothing beat Text Wrangler.

But I was starting a new re-design project using Expression Engine, so I wanted to try out a few different options.


I dug out my copy of CSSEdit that was barely launched once, and I figured now that I had some true CSS coding tasks to do, it was time to shake of the dust and use it. Now I just LOVE it! It’s awesome.

Sometimes I like to hand code CSS, and other times, I like the editor to insert code for me. CSSEdit will do both. It has code hints & completion and syntax highlighting, all of which I love and NEED! It’s easy to fill in the appropriate fields, and it will insert the CSS code for you. I found it to be the most Dreamweaver-like app I have ever used when it came to CSS coding.

Disappointingly, it does not work with (x)html coding, so it’s not a “one stop shop” editor. It will not open an .html or .php document using the File>Open menu. It will open it if you drag the file from Finder to the CSSEdit icon on the Dock. But it’s really not meant for html code, but it does CSS editing and it does it well!


I purchased the latest MacHeist 3 bundle, which included a copy of the Espresso code editor. I had been looking forward to using Espresso since it was created by MacRabbit, the same developers as CSSEdit. I had previously launched it once or twice, and wasn’t thrilled with it at first glance, but I figured this would be a great time to really put it through it’s paces. And I am glad I did.

I like the interface and how projects are displayed in the workspace. Although I wish there was some sort of Project Manager window, maybe coming soon to a future release, or perhaps I will just get used to opening the project file just like I would any other file.

I love that it has a different approach to tabs. Tabs are not located at the top horizontal menu, but on the side bar, at the top of the file list. I think it’s more intuitive that way.

(x)HTML code completion and hints both work very well.

The FTP cloud publishing feature is a bit unintuitive, but I am hoping that either I have to work with it more, or it will become better with future updates. For now, I still use Transmit for my (s)FTP transfers. There is a quick publish feature, and that might be a good option, but I wish there was a right-click ‘upload’ option for any given file from the side bar.

I really disliked the default syntax highlighting color theme, and all the other available View themes were either light text on dark backgrounds (hate dark backgrounds), or white backgrounds with very light text. huh? What’s up with that? So, I took one of the color syntex highlighting themes, and made adjustments to it for my own needs. It was very easy to tweak the CSS theme in CSSEdit, as it was just a plain .css file!

I haven’t had the opportunity to work with any Espresso Sugars, but I did download a copy of the Expression Engine sugar, so we’ll see how that goes when I get deeper into EE code for my new project. I also haven’t worked with snippets, but I do love how they work in Skedit, so hopefully they will be useful in Espresso.

The browser “preview” works well with regular static html and CSS but I can’t see how it could possibly work with dynamic code, unless you have a server set up on your computer. I don’t have time to mess with that, so all my browser views will have to be online, where it can work with the database directly.

CSS editing in Espresso is disappointing not too bad, but not as good as CSSEdit. CSS code hints work for the CSS property name, but there are no hints for the value. – I was behind on a few updates, eek. Updated to version 1.05 and it does indeed include code completion for CSS values. It completes the closing bracket and trailing semi-colon for you.

Since MacRabbit are the same developers for CSSEdit, I thought that there might be integration or something, but so far, CSS editing is not wonderful. the best, so I will stick with CSSEdit for CSS editing.

It might sound like I don’t like Espresso, but I really do. At this stage, it’s still brand new for me; I know I haven’t tapped into all its power yet, and I think the same is true for MacRabbit as well. They will be adding more features and hopefully there will be a great future ahead.

But so far, I am impressed, and I will continue to use it. Would I pay the full price of $80? No, I don’t think so, but I am glad I got it as part of the MacHeist Bundle. I think if there was better CSS Support like in CSSEdit, or even some sort of integration between the two (similar to how all Adobe apps work well both together and separately) I would consider paying the $80.

So, that’s my quick (and probably premature) review of CSSEdit and Espresso.

Together with Transmit FTP, it’s a good work process!

Creating & Managing Aperture 2 Smart Albums

April 29, 2009 by debbie T | Aperture 2Digital PhotographyMac Software

Bart Busschots and Allison Sheridan were discussing Aperture 2 on the Nosillacast podcast this week, and Bart was complaining about the way Smart Albums were working (or not working) for him. I think I have a solution to his problem.

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MacHeist 3 Bundle Revealed

March 24, 2009 by debbie T | Mac Software

Just picked up the new MacHeist 3 Bundle. Yay!


The first app that caught my interest was Picturesque, and PhoneView sounded pretty cool too. Little Snapper might be a useful alternative for Skitch.

But I was on the fence, until Espresso was announced as part of the bundle (unlocked after an unspecified amount is raised for charity), and I knew it was a done deal when I saw the price of $39! Awesome!

$39 is a great deal for the bundle, but an even better deal is getting the $8 discount (for completing all MacHeist missions and activities). I paid with my paypal account, and since I had a credit balance in paypal, I only paid $21 for the bundle…so I am really happy.

If anyone is thinking of purchasing the bundle, please consider using my referral link: http://www.macheist.com/bundle/u/25954/ – thanks!

iPhoto – How to Resize & Export Photo Files

March 15, 2009 by debbie T | Digital PhotographyiPhotoMac Software

My Dad just bought a cute Mac Mini, and he’s feeling overwhelmed. He used to use Picasa on his PC to export photos to use on Craig’s List, now he’ll be using iPhoto. This tutorial is for him. It’s a very basic beginner tutorial. I am using iPhoto 2008 but it is very similar for iPhoto 2009.

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Carbonite for Mac

March 9, 2009 by debbie T | InternetMac Software

Yay, I have been waiting for this. Carbonite is now fully supported for Mac users. $50 per year buys you unlimited storage.

I was always so intrigued by Carbonite after hearing Leo Laporte’s commercials on his Tech Guy radio show and podcast.

Create Simple HTML Photo Page in iPhoto

February 1, 2009 by debbie T | ComputersDigital PhotographyiPhotoMac SoftwareWeb DesignWeb Development

I maintain a basic web site for a local non-profit, and every year, I must update their photo page of Officers. It’s always been time consuming to try to reassemble the table html codes and move all the names and titles to their appropriate spots.

I wanted to find an easier way to create a simple html table for the photo page. I looked into iWeb, but the output page looked like a portfolio, and the code was virtually impossible to edit later.

I had imported all the necessary photo files into iPhoto, and while I was checking out the Export command, I noticed there was an option to export as web page.

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Moving a VMware Fusion Virtual Machine

January 31, 2009 by debbie T | Mac SoftwareWindows on the Mac

I realized my Macbook Pro’s hard drive was just too small to keep both XP and Windows 7 VMware Fusion virtual machines, so I decided to move the Windows 7 install to an external hard drive.

I copied the virtual machine file (by default vm files are located in Documents/Virtual Machines) and double-clicked to launch VMware. It automatically started the virtual machine, and a message box appeared asking if the virtual machine was moved or copied. (See screen shot below)


I chose “moved” since I didn’t want to keep the file on my MBP hard drive anymore.

I had read online that if the file has been moved to a new hard drive, it is very important that VMware Fusion keeps the original settings for the Windows activation, so it won’t mess it up later.

Next, I suspended the virtual machine, and exited from VMware Fusion. In Finder, I sent the Windows 7 file (on my hard drive) to the trash. I also had to remove the older Windows 7 install from the list of virtual machines in Fusion.

Once I double-clicked the “moved” Windows 7 virtual machine file on my external a second time, it launched, and was added to the list of virtual machines in Fusion. All seemed to be working just fine.

Now I can expand my Windows XP virtual machine and possibly install some more Windows programs, like Dreamweaver, Flash, Paint Shop Pro, games, etc.

I really love VMware Fusion!

Installing Windows 7 Beta in VMware Fusion

January 20, 2009 by debbie T | Mac SoftwareWindows on the Mac

I installed the Windows 7 Beta in VMware Fusion on my Macbook Pro. Actually, it took several tries, but it was pretty quick and easy, once I understood the process. I am still getting used to VMware, so that might have been a bit of a hinderance.

This tutorial takes you through the steps I took to install. It should be noted that I am still new to VMware, so my experience might be slightly different than others that are more experienced with the program.

First, download the Windows 7 Beta at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7.

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Chronosync Version 4 is released

January 18, 2009 by debbie T | Mac Software

Yay, Chronosync, my favorite backup/syncing app has released version 4! And the new version now includes bootable backups! whoo-hoo!

I had previously been using Super Duper to make a bootable backup; now I can use Chronosync. Awesome!

For those that are new to Chronosync, it’s a wonderful backup app for Mac OS X. I use it to back up my home folder several times a day. It’s simple to use, and very powerful. It’s for sure, a program I can’t live without on my Mac!

It’s $40 for new users. Version 4 is a free upgrade to prior registered users!