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HTML Editor Software and Review Sites

HTML Editor Catagories

Because HTML is a text-based language, it is easy to write and edit. Most programs can read and write text even if that is not their native language. HTML authors have five editing approaches to choose from and ultimately may use a combination of them to produce a web page or site.

  1. Plain Text Editors: Utility programs such as: Windows Notepad, Linux nano, and Mac's TextEdit (with proper configuration) are typically bundled with an operating system and can be used to enter or edit raw HTML code directly. Plain text editors offer the following advantages:
    However, because these programs are simply text editors, they cannot interpret HTML tags and cannot be used to render your web pages. This is not a major weakness, since you should view your pages with a variety of browsers anyway. But you will need to "toggle" (switch) between two or more programs to do this. The other major weakness is that these programs are completely ignorant of HTML, so if you need help, you will have to get it elsewhere. "HTML Help" resources can be viewed concurrently with text editors to perform this service. There are extended text editors that have features useful to Web authors, such as: syntax highlighting, code collapsing, a built-in FTP file transfer client, spell checking, and code validation. Examples of these enhanced text editors are: Notepad++, PSPad, and Sublime Text (see links below).
  2. Tag Editors: These programs are enhanced text editors that were written with the purpose of editing HTML (and other web-related) files. They offer controls (buttons and menu items) that act as shorthand for entering HTML tags and also provide lists of tags and settings that may be otherwise difficult to remember. An example of such a program is the CoffeeCup HTML Editor. These programs manage the html extension for you and also save only text. Some have the ability to render web pages - others can launch one or more browsers to do so.
  3. Graphic (WYSIWYG) Editors: Sophisticated editors such as Dreamweaver® or Microsoft® Expression Web now exist that allow you to edit a web page in a "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG) environment. In other words, you edit the finished view of the page rather than the HTML code. Such an editor works in the background composing and storing the HTML code necessary to render your page. These programs are very powerful, but may employ HTML coding practices and techniques that you do not like. Fortunately, most also offer the ability to edit the HTML code directly, allowing you to compensate for that weakness. Graphic editors are typically larger and slower than the other types of editors and are usually more expensive. But they normally offer many enhancements related to organizing and managing large web sites and web servers.
  4. Foreign Editors: Many programs that were created for reasons completely unrelated to the Internet are now offering the option of saving their data as HTML code. For example, you can create an electronic spreadsheet (a.k.a. "worksheet") using the Microsoft® Excel program and save it as an HTML file. In such a case, the Excel program will convert the spreadsheet to an HTML table when it saves the data. Many such programs also have the ability to render HTML files as well. Microsoft® Word can render and edit HTML files, although its ability as a browser is quite limited and slow. The important thing to remember when using these editors to write web pages is that you must specify (through the proper menu choices) that the file is an HTML file when you save it to avoid having the program save any of its native data language in the HTML file.
  5. Web Authoring Wizards: These are user friendly programs or websites that lay people can use to author web pages by answering a series of simple questions that define their prospective page or selcting from pre-written templates. The program then uses these answers or templates as design specifications and writes the HTML code for the user. Many services that offer free hosting of web pages require their users to compose their web pages in this manner. Other sites such as [Wix] offer enhanced drag and drop tools for website development.

Free Plain or Enhanced Text Editors

If you are seeking a text editor as an alternative to Windows Notepad, try one of the freeware programs listed below (by platform):





The following freeware is available in versions for all three major platforms (Linux, Mac, and Windows). So they are a good choice for users who move between multiple platforms and desire a common text editing environment.

Many other are available; but these should be sufficient for most authors. The important thing for this class is that students use a "plain text" editor rather than a GUI application. Remember that the purpose of this class is for students to gain skill using raw source code.

Other HTML Editors - Free and Paid

As the popularity of the Web grows, more and more software is being developed to empower people to make full use of this powerful Internet resource. Because of its dynamic nature, this software is constantly changing. To find the lastest information on HTML Editors and other web publishing tools, use a Web search resource such as those listed on the page about Internet Search Tools & Starting Points. Enter a search phrase such as "HTML Editors" or "HTML Editor Reviews" into your favorite search engine to find links to the latest resources. A very brief list of typical resources appears below.

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