IconHTML TagWriter 3.8

The No-nonsense Classic Mac OS HTML Editor
By Alexander Thomas

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HTML TagWriter was an HTML editor that I once wrote for myself to make building my web site easier. It became quite versatile, so I released it to the public as a shareWare program. It was based on HyperCard, hence only runs in the ‘Classic’ Mac OS versions before OS X, or in the Classic environment that came with the earlier OS X versions. Classic is now completely obsolete, and so is this program. Even if it could be imported in a modern HyperCard derivative, it would not work properly because it relies heavily on XCMDs and XFCNs. You can still run HTML TagWriter through a PowerPC emulator like SheepShaver. Believe it or not, quite often I still use it in this manner to edit webpages.

The ShareWare fee for TagWriter used to be US$15 for a life-time registration, but now it is released in the public domain. In the utterly improbable case that you have used this program without ever paying for it and now you feel remorse, you could still donate to soothe your conscience ;)


For those who know HyperCard, it may seem strange that it could be used to develop an entire text editor. I did push the boundaries of what could be achieved with HyperCard, and then some. I especially had to be creative to get beyond the dreaded 30kByte limit for scripts. The stack relied on a few XCMDs to extend functionality. This is a summary of features in the final version:

TagWriter 3.4: Preview


Together with the woefully overdue 3.8 release, in March 2014 I released the editable development stack as well, for those who would be inclined to see how all of TagWriter's functionality could be implemented in a software environment rather unsuited for the task. Of course, the password protection has been lifted and the software is released in the public domain, regardless of any outdated licenses that may still be included with the program.

HTML TagWriter comes in the three classic flavours: the first is the normal distribition, a so-called “FAT binary” that will run on both PowerPC-based and 68K-based Macs. The second and third are a PPC-only and 68K-only binary that allow to save a few kBytes on those specific platforms. Finally, the raw development stack is also available together with some developer notes. The latter needs a full installation of HyperCard to be of any use.

Download HTML TagWriter
FAT Binary

(1192 kBytes)
Download HTML TagWriter
PPC Only

(864 kBytes)
Download HTML TagWriter
68K Only

(742 kBytes)

Download HTML TagWriter
Development stack

(188 kBytes)

The files are compressed with DropStuff 7. Stuffit Expander is required to unStuff the files. I am not sure what version will be required but you should have no problems finding one that works, if you are willing to run ancient Classic Mac software anyway.


HTML TagWriter comes with elaborate help files, a list of new features, a tutorial, an (obviously utterly obsolete) introduction to HTML, a file with HTML tips & syntax, and a troubleshooting FAQ in TeachText format. The HTML files are also available here. Mind that the main documentation has not been entirely updated for version 3.8 — nobody will read it anyhow.

System requirements

This section may be fun to read for historians, or for those people who would be inclined to try to get this program running on a vintage Mac! HTML TagWriter shares its requirements with the HyperCard 2.4.1 runtime it is based on.

Important: In Mac OS 8 and 8.1, HTML TagWriter may crash while opening files if "Translate 'TEXT' documents" is active in "Mac OS Easy Open". To avoid problems, turn off this option in the Easy Open control panel.
Tip: The "Apple Menu Extension" control panel causes annoying delays in all applications, including HTML TagWriter, if you place an alias to your hard disk or a large folder with frequently edited files in the Apple menu. So unless you really can't live without such aliases, remove them from the menu.

For PPC Mac OS X users: This application runs fine in the Classic environment of Mac OS X, but you cannot launch documents in your Mac OS X browser, only in browsers within the Classic environment.

Coming up…

In the past, this section still hinted at the possibility that I would ever release a version 4 of HTML TagWriter, which would be a modern re-write from the ground up. I can now say with absolute certainty that this will never happen (at least not from my part).

Here is a small erratum in the current (and most likely last) release: going to an ID in an embedded file will not always work. To fix this, replace the following line in the ‘goToName’ method:
put offset("<A name="&quote&nam&quote,txt) into bgn
put getID(nam,txt) into bgn

I have made some improvements to the stack that I'm still using and I might release this as a new version of the development stack, but I won't promise anything…


In the unlikely case that you would still be using this software and you have found a horrible bug and you are unable to fix it yourself by editing the development stack, you can still mail me and perhaps I will actually fix it!


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