HTML Editors

You can write HTML documents with a text editor or any word processor.  Recent versions of word processors allow saving in HTML format. Using HTML editing software can make page authoring much easier.  HTML editors allow you to use tags and attributes without knowing the code.  Advanced HTML editors tend to be updated more often to support the latest Web technologies.

Not all HTML editors create code exactly the same. Some applications allow you to set preferences that effect code writing options. Clean code, without an unnecessary tags, is preferable. An interesting exercise is to create an identical HTML file in Dreamweaver, Composer and Word, then compage the page source. The cleanest code is written by the HTML editors, while pages saved in word processors have excessive or imperfect HTML, or they add all the code requires to convert back. Some editors add a line advertising the fact that their product produced the page, others do not. Different editors use different encoding as their default; some use a proprietary character set as the default. Advanced HTML tools alow user-control of character set encoding.

The serious Web author will eventually need to know HTML code. If you begin creating pages with an HTML editor is is very useful to view the page source so you develop an understanding of what code is being created in response to what page elements and attributes you are inserting and formatting. In many HTML editors, a split screen view allows users to observe both the code and the WYSIWYG window simoutaneously. For those beginning web authoring, this feature is very instructive. A reasonable place to begin is by using Netscape Composer, a part of the free Netscape Communicator suite of Internet applications. Several advanced HTML editors now provide 30-day free trial downloads of their software (i.e. Dreamweaver), and enrolled students may purchase educational versions at a savings. One academic software reseller is CCV Software.

Advantages of using a WYSIWYG HTML Editor:

You don't have to remember or reference HTML tags.
Editors may use HTML tags that you are not aware of.
Editors will speed up the process of page creation.

Disadvantages of using a WYSIWYG HTML Editor:

Using an editor will not help you learn HTML.
Familiarity with HTML helps you troubleshoot and edit files.
Code is constantly evolving, so you need to upgrade software frequently.
You have to learn to use the software as well as learning HTML.

Important HTML Editor Features:

Capability to edit the HTML directly.
Colored syntax highlighting.
A WYSIWYG interface, with real-time HTML previewing.
Style templates.
Support for tables, frames, style sheets.
Integrated Cascading Style Sheets editing.
Built in JavaScripts and script validation.
HTML markup validation.
Provision for special character symbols.
Built-in FTP or publish function and remote site management capability.
Site maintainance features.
Remote editing of files on a server without altering URL's.
Multi-file Find & Replace.
Link verification.
Spell Check.
Image Map Editor.
Image Converter.
Form designer.
Multimedia support, image editing, gif animation.
Shockwave Support.
QuickTime editing support.
META Tag Support.
DHTML Support.
Customer support, tutorials, online information.
Reasonable upgrade price.
Compatability with your other software.

Some HTML Editor Links (in alphabetic order and infrequently updated):

Adobe GoLive
BBEdit (Macintosh)
CGI*Starpro: WebGenie
CoffeeCup Software
HTML Builder
Links to HTML Converters
Microsoft FrontPage
Macromedia Dreamweaver
NetObjects Fusion
The Ant
Yahoo Guide to HTML Editors
Yahoo List of HTML Converters