CSSVista, you done me wrong!

So, I'm working on this page. I've spent about four or five hours on it. Lots of fun layout hurdles. I start getting close to the end and I'm just about to fix a couple things in Internet Explorer. I remember hearing about CSSVista and it's fantastic capabilities to live edit CSS and preview it in IE and Firefox. "Perfect," I thought. It'll save me the time of fixing it in IE only for it to break in Firefox.

I download the application. Oh, it requires the .NET 2.0 framework. No biggie. Just another 22MB download. (Remember when a 22MB download was a big deal?) I install everything and I crank up CSSVista. I point it to my local file and voila, there's the page. I hit the Edit CSS button and it just hangs there. Hmmmm, okay. Seems kind of buggy. I point it to my live site just to see if it works and it does. Ahwell, I didn't feel like spending too much time on it but I point it back to my local file one more time. Odd, now there's no style to my page. Whatever. Close application.

I switch back to Firefox and refresh the page. No styles. WTF. Okay, let's take a look at the folder. Uh oh. Where are my CSS files? They're all gone. This isn't good. What's even worse is that I've closed the file in my editor. A search of my hard drive finds no trace of them. I don't feel so good... Looks like CSSVista has deleted my CSS files.

My saving grace of all things was ... (wait for it) ... Internet Explorer. I still had it in the browser and hadn't hit refresh. I also have the web developer toolbar installed. With toolbar in hand, I was able to click through the DOM and see what properties were being used. I used that information to rebuild my CSS from scratch.

I suppose the lesson in all of this is that I should have a system in place for this sort of thing. A versioning and backup system would probably be best. Lesson learned.

After a little research, it seems CSSVista only deleted CSS files that were in the same folder as my HTML file. I suspect the software was trying to create a backup of the original files but in the same folder and ended up deleting the files instead. Chances are, if you're using it and your CSS files are in a subfolder, you'll be okay. I've sent an email to the company and hopefully they can resolve this issue quickly.

Published November 26, 2005 · Updated September 14, 2006
Categorized as Other
Short URL: https://snook.ca/s/461


19 Comments · RSS feed
Kyle said on November 27, 2005

Man, that's terrible. Another result of poor QA (Quality Assurance) of a product. This should *never* happen to a fully released product.

Henrik Pejer said on November 27, 2005

I happened upon a similar thing where a css-file accidentily got erased.

Luckily Internet Explorer was still open and I hadn't reloaded the page. So I put it in Offline mode, typed in the url to the css-file and IE 'downloaded' it from its cache.

Thats just a tip to all that happen upon things like that: set your browser in offline mode and just enter the url to the file and maybe you will be lucky enough that the browser got it in its cache.

Paul Farnell said on November 27, 2005

Kyle, you're right, it is terrible. Matt's working to get it fixed ASAP and we'll have a new release out next week which will solve this and some other bugs (such as Flash not loading in our embedded version of FireFox).

Jonathan, I can only apologise. I know if it had happened to me I'd be pretty frustrated. Sorry. We're working as fast as we can to get this next release out.

Jerome Gravel-Niquet said on November 27, 2005

Well, Paul, for being so quick and actually answering to someone with difficulties with your software, all I can say is: you're doing one hell of a job.

I mean, I never really saw someone answer that personnally to a comment concerning their software on a website the person probably barely knows about it, you probably found it doing a search on google or something.


(P.S: if you need someone good in CSS or XHTML, send me an email!)

Lindsay said on November 27, 2005

Good to know... what a pain though! I hate it when stuff like that happens.

Nathan Smith said on November 28, 2005

CSS Vista never appealed to me, mainly because it involved installing more MS propaganda. Now I've got a solid reason not to use it. As far as I'm concerned, it's far more reliable to hand-edit things in your CSS editor of choice, and just hit Refresh on your various browsers. ;P

Yannick said on November 28, 2005

I guess IE is good for something after all. :) j/k

Thanks for the warning though Jonathon.

Matt Brett said on November 28, 2005

Oh man, that's terrifying!

I tried out CSSVista when it was first announced. Pretty cool, but not something I see myself using on a daily basis. Didn't run into this problem, though. Mind you, I have my CSS files in a sub directory, so could be why.

I really should hook up some sort of versioning software too. Been on my to-do list for far too long.

Benedict said on November 28, 2005

That's pretty awful, Jonathan. I'm glad my scepticism led me to decide against installing it! Looks like sticking with a simple text editor and a few browsers is still the best way to get things done.

Douglas Clifton said on November 29, 2005

Test editing of CSS and the like from a browser (or whatever) on the client side is one thing, but if the app has a connection back to your live host, whoa, watch out.

CVS (or SVN), vi, backups, these are your friends. 22M of MS crap .NET, phew! Forget about it.

MySchizoBuddy said on November 29, 2005

There is an application on macs called Xyle Scope. I just bought it and I'm loving it like crazy.

Kyle said on November 29, 2005

On the subject of versioning systems, I would recommend those interested check out Darcs if you're just looking for a quick, self-contained versioning system.

Personally I use my svn repository on TxD so I have a remote backup of my files as to be as portable as possible.

M.e. said on November 29, 2005

BBEdit's Make Backup Before Saving preference has saved me countless times.

Jonathan Snook said on November 29, 2005

Yeah, I use UltraEdit and it has something similar but I don't like all the .bak files it creates in the folder. What would be cooler is if it had a backup folder and then saved the files using a naming convention that I could refer to like <kbd>c_projects_file.css</kbd>

Tom said on November 29, 2005

"Work Offline and save a copy of this site" is a saving grace.

Issachar said on December 01, 2005

I ran into the same problem as Jonathan, but lost hours of work. I hope the CSSVista crew gets it fixed before too many people find out :).

Jens Meiert said on December 29, 2005

Yet another bad User Experience (c).

John said on November 16, 2006

It has been almost a year since Paul Farnell, part of the cssvista team, wrote they will put out a new release with the bug fix, but my css file was still deleted. I don't understand why there are no warnings on the site and the download hasn't been disabled, so be people like me don't lose the work.

Matt Brindley said on April 21, 2007
Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.