I don’t, as a rule, write negative reviews. Sometimes a company does something that merits a "that was dumb" comment but as I said, I generally don’t slam products – except for Microsoft of course!
That is about to change.
Web Assist, a maker of extensions for Adobe Dreamweaver, has recently released Eric Meyer’s CSS Sculptor 3 for the bargain price of $99.99. If you were unlucky enough to purchase CSS Sculptor 2, the upgrade price is a mere $49.99. Save your money ’cause it isn’t worth it!
I originally bought CSS Sculptor because I wanted something that would generate the bulk of the CSS code for me. I wanted to focus more on content and less on presentation. While I like Dreamweaver CS4 (love is too strong a term but it is miles ahead of Dreamweaver CS3), its CSS interface isn’t the most intuitive.
The Sculptor 2 interface is not user friendly in the least. Maybe it would be if you thought like Eric Meyer but it appears I don’t. When Web Assist announced Sculptor 3, I figured things must have gotten better. Wrong. It started with a common error message that looked like this:
(This is from Vista but it was the same text on the Mac.) After digging for a while through their support database, I found an answer. I had to hunt down a cache file in my system and delete it. Then re-install Sculptor 3, start Dreamweaver, re-enter the license code and activate it, and then I was able to start playing around.
I shan’t bore you with all the details of my agonies. Because I was still in the 15 day window (bought it the September 18th) I asked for a refund. The lady at Web Assist told me I could only get a refund if
- Our product has design flaws and/or bugs preventing you from working properly.
- Our product did not work as advertised.
So I gave her a list (edited here – I thought of a couple of things after I sent it).
- I am returning it because as far as I am concerned, the product fails to work as advertised. It is billed as the next best thing to sliced bread and even easier to use. It isn’t – writing code by hand would be quicker.
- I find the user interface to be non-intuitive, particularly the color selection scheme. I can set colors in three different places and there is no way of knowing what will take effect when.
- It runs slow (I have a MacBook Pro 2.33 GHz Core 2 Duo with 3GB RAM).
- If you update a value (say a color) Sculptor may or may not save it.
- It wants to put its files in its place and God help you if you want to move them. In fact if you do, you may suddenly discover all of your CSS "vanished" from your page (i.e., you get content but not presentation).
One other annoyance: when I uninstalled Sculptor 3, I now get the following message every time I start Dreamweaver CS4:
BTW, don’t bother with the 800 number – they don’t seem to answer the phones!
My recommendation: don’t waste your money on CSS Sculptor 3.