How To Choose an HTML Editor

Creating a website can be a long, tedious process.  Using an HTML editor can streamline the act of writing code to a pleasant degree.  If you find yourself in the market for a good HTML editor, it is important to determine what you want from one.  By asking yourself the following questions, you can zero in on the HTML editor that is right for you.

  1. Are you looking for a simple HTML editor, or a WYSIWYG editor?  A simple HTML editor (which is sometimes not so simple) is usually text editor with some interesting options included.  Some of these options are the ability to store macros, groups of tags written out for you with the click of a button, hex code copiers, and automatic image dimension detection.  A bare-bones text editor (such as Notepad) can be used to write HTML as well, though some find it too slow.  WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors, on the other hand, allow you to graphically lay out a webpage, which will then be converted into HTML and saved as a .html document. 

    Generally, the benefits to using WYSIWYG are that you can design a website quickly and easily, spending minimal time in the learning stages.  The benefits of a text editor or simple HTML editor mostly lie in the level of control you have over your code.  With a WYSIWYG, unnecessary code is sometimes added into your page because the program does not have optimum efficiency programmed for that particular scenario.  WYSIWYG also occasionally writes for only one browser.  When using a text or simple HTML editor, the program adds nothing that you don't personally write out or ask it to add.  This is important because clean code loads faster and makes your website more organized.  Using a text or simple HTML editor allows you to ensure the cleanest code that you can create.

  2. What do you want from an HTML editor? If you decide to use a simple HTML editor, look for one which best suits your needs.  If you're only going to use the macro option, then look for an editor that carries it and few other options.  This will optimize the running speed of your computer; there's no point in running a heavy-duty program if you're not going to use its features.  Likewise, if you desire many features, then look for an editor with a wide variety of options.  If you're in either camp, you could probably also benefit from experimenting with new features and technology (whether or not you decide they are useful to you).
  3. Are you looking for freeware or paid software? If you simply want a text editor with options to use macros or add sections of code, you can almost definitely get away with freeware.  Bluefish is a popular freeware HTML editor.  If you're looking for a good WYSIWYG editor, plan on dishing out some dough.  As is usually the case, many of the best programs are on the high end of the price range.  Most WYSIWYG editors range in price from $150 to $300.  Macromedia Fireworks, Macromedia Dreamweaver (an earlier release), and Microsoft FrontPage are all popular WYSIWYG programs.  Make sure, before purchasing editing software, that your computer has all the necessary prerequisites.

Using an HTML editor can not only streamline the code writing process, but can also introduce you to new methods for writing your own code.  Experimenting with different HTML editors can only yield good results.  Not only will it allow you to find the editor that is right for you, but it will also teach you more about the ways that different people write code.  Good luck!


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