Layout Master and Style Master

By Deane Barker on November 6, 2002

There’s an Australian company called Western Civilisation that I’ve come to know because they have (1) good CSS documentation, and (2) fantastic search engine placement. Whenever I search for something related to CSS on Google, they’re one of the first results. They sell courses on HTML, CSS, and Web colors that have to be good based on the quality of the documentation they give away on their site.

Anyway, I’ve always known they sell software, but the other day I decided to download it and give it a try. Layout Master is a grid-based interface where you can draw boxes, position them on a grid, use tools to align and layer them, then have it written out as DIV tags absolutely positioned with CSS. I tried a simple layout, and I was really impressed with it, though I wouldn’t trust 100% absolute positioning for anything other than a browser-controlled environment.

Style Master is the other tool, but I don’t see a need for it, really. It’s a GUI for building CSS sheets with controls for just about every possible directive and value. But, is writing CSS manually that hard to begin with? And most every WYSIWYG editor has a CSS wizard built-in. I played with it for a few minutes, but I kept writing my CSS in the free-form editor which tells me that I don’t need the tool.

So, a mixed bag. Style Master is pretty pointless, but if I had a tightly controlled intranet environment, I’d be tempted to give Layout Master a try.