text editors & WYSIWYG’s :

Text editors and WYSIWYG’s

To write your html code you dont need to buy expensive software you can use a text editor program that is provided with your PC’s Operating System.
If you the Operating system on your PC is Windows then you can use Notepad, or if you have a Mac you can use BBEdit.
If you have Linux or some other Unix type OS installed on your PC then you could use a text editor  such as Vim.

BBEdit text editor : Screenshot of the Mac BBEdit text editor program Notepad text editor : Screenshot of the Windows text editor program Notepad

There are also Smart text editors  that are available that actually understand what you are editing and help by highlighting the syntax.
These text editors  will not be free and you will have to buy the software, usually you can download an evaluation  copy to try it before you buy .
There are other features such as auto indent  which can help to keep your documents structured.
For Windows users one of the most popular programs is Textpad which uses document class templates so that it can understand almost any coded  document, it also has other standard text editor  features.
You can find more information and even download an evaluation copy here... Textpad logo
If you have a Mac you will be able to find similar types of smart text editors  available on the internet.
If you have Linux installed on your PC then you can use Vim   or Emacs  which also allows you to highlight syntax  when your editing documents and auto indenting as well.
You can find more information about and even download a copy at their web site Vim logo
There are versions of Vim that run on both the Mac and Windows Operating Systems available on the web site.

Textpad Smart text editor : Screenshot of the Textpad Smart editor Vim Smart text editor : Screenshot of the Vim Smart editor

There are also a few non–WYSIWYG editors  that actually understand html which provide features to help the user to write html code.
This type of text editor  will not be free and you will have to buy the software, usually you can download an evaluation  copy to try it before you buy.
An html–specific editor  provides the next level of functionality for editing  html documents.
One of the most popular html–pecific editors  is Homesite it has special tools for entering tags and their parameters, and mnemonic entities into a document.
Homesite includes other features such as a wizard  for creating a <table> tag along with many other features to help make your coding  easier.
You can find more information and download an evaluation  copy here at their web site Homesite logo
Homesite was originally produced by Macromedia which is now owned by Adobe.

Homesite html–specific editor : Screenshot of Homesite an HTML-specific editor

Then we have WYSIWYG html editors  and in the same way that WYSIWYG editors  revolutionised word processing, so WYSIWYG editors  have revolutionised web publishing.
WYSIWYG is an acronym for What You See Is What You Get.
Now by using these tools designers can design their pages visually and then let the tools create the documents html code.
Frontpage is Microsofts Web editing  tool it allows you to create documents visually and manage documents at the site level creating a template design and navigation controls between pages.
The earlier versions of Frontpage created non–standard  html code and catered for Microsoft Web extensions,  but current versions are much better regarding adhering to standard  code.
Although the program is a lot more feature  rich when it is used along with other Microsoft technologies and is a very powerful tool when teamed with a server running Microsoft Frontpage Web extensions.
This makes Frontpage a solid and economical choice for a WYSIWYG editor.
you can find more information or download an evaluation copy at Microsofts web site Frontpage logo

NetObjects Fusion is another design tool that supports WYSIWYG editing  features and site level document management.
NetObjects Fusion also includes many other features  that will allow you to easily manage an entire site, and create pixel accurate designs, and it has advanced scripting and gallery support along with many other features  to help make publishing documents a lot easier.
Unfortunately there is no information with regards to downloading an evaluation  copy of the software on the NetObjects web site, just information about the software and how to buy it.
You can find more information here on their web site NetObjects Fusion logo

Micrsoft Frontpage Web editor : Screenshot of Microsoft Frontpage Web editor or WYSIWYG NetObjects Fusion Web editor : Screenshot of NetObjects Fusion Web editor or WYSIWYG

The most popular Web document editing  program by far is DreamWeaver which was originally produced by Macromedia which is now owned by Adobe.
DreamWeaver is definitely the most feature  rich of the programs I have covered here, it provides the best non–visual and visual editing  tools along with several developement  features.
You can create an entire web site using the WYSIWYG design editor  or you could write all the html code manually in text  mode.
The amount of automation that DreamWeaver provides during the creation of documents is entirely up to yourself.
In DreamWeavers main editing  window you can split the view  and have half showing the design  mode and the other half in text  mode showing the documents html code.
The Browser Target check feature  allows you to test if the code in yourr document is compatible with specific  browsers, and there is also a validation  tool like the one on the W3C web site.
Unfortunately because DreamWeaver is so feature  rich it does come at a price, equally it is easily the most complicated program to learn to use.
As a consequence the learning curve for DreamWeaver can be quite steep even creating the most basic web site.
However once you do get accustomed to the software it is easy to then appreciate what a powerful tool it is.
You can find more information about DreamWeaver and even download an evaluation  copy of the software from the Adobe web site DreamWeaver logo

DreamWeaver text mode: Screenshot of DreamWeaver Web editor or WYSIWYG in text mode DreamWeaver design mode: Screenshot of DreamWeaver Web editor or WYSIWYG in design mode

Dont worry if you dont have a WYSIWYG Web editor  installed on your PC this will definitely not be a disadvantage in learning to write html so you dont need to rush out and buy DreamWeaver or any other WYSIWYG for that matter.
A basic text editing  program is all that you really need to write html code, if you do happen to have DreamWeaver or another WYSIWYG installed on your PC then you can use it to learn to write html in text  mode.
There are advantages when using DreamWeaver to write or edit html code manually because the tags in the document are highlighted using different colours.
Which makes it a lot easier to spot mistakes like unclosed  tags in the code, which is a very easy and common mistake to make when writing html code.
Working with a text editor  like Notepad all the text in the document is BLACK which makes it much harder to see an unclosed  tag or perhaps the lack of parenthesis for value pairs in a tag.
Another useful feature of DreamWeaver is that when your working in text  mode manually writing html code, as you begin typing a tag DreamWeaver opens a little box listing the attributes  for that tag.
Then when you select an attribute  DreamWeaver automatically writes the attribute  into the tag for you, when your learning to write html this is very useful as a reminder especially if you have forgotten what attributes  a tag has.

Ultimately it does not really matter if you use DreamWeaver or Notepad to write html code.
When your starting to learn html the best software to use is the software you are already familiar with and you feel comfortable working with.

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