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Mark Me Up, Scotty!
There are literally hundreds of HTML editors on the market. Competition is so fierce that most of them are available as freeware, shareware or trialware. And demand is so high that this is one of the most rapidly-evolving areas of web software development at the present time.

Many of the leading commercial programs - such as Macromedia's DreamWeaver or NetObjects Fusion - are evolving into complete site management tools. And if you're running a very large site, you really do need to use a site editor to stay on top of everything these days and have a life.

But if you're running a typical small site (say, up to 20 or 30 pages), then a much simpler HTML page editor is usually all you need to stay on top of updates.

This section lists seven HTML editors we've tried ourselves and enjoyed. This doesn't mean that they're the last word in HTML editing though. So if you're looking for something different you might like to look through our Resources directory which points you to dozens more.

7 RED-HOT HTML EDITORS

Is A Good Editor Important?

Yes! A good HTML page or site editor will save you time, prevent errors and help you generate good web pages fast!

It should also be easy to learn, easy to use and fit in with your way of working, rather than force you into some pre-defined mould.

So if your current editor doesn't meet these basic criteria, look at another one.
Once you know one editor, learning new ones is much easier

All the latest page and site editors now use WYSIWYG (just like DTP) so you can see your page as it develops.

Older editors take a HTML-centric approach that may suit you if you come from a programming background, but will probably repel you if you come from a design background.

NB: Whether you use a WYSIWYG editor or not, it really does help to know a little HTML so you can make fine adjustments to your pages.

If you don't know HTML very well or you're not certain where to obtain the latest official standards, you might also like to consult the HTML references in our Resources directory.

They offer lots of pointers to excellent reference sites in this area.

AOLpress
Early in 1996 America Online released a WYSIWYG HTML editor called NaviPress which incorporated a browser and HTML editor in the one program. When used in conjunction with AOLserver software it let you carry out WYSIWYG editing directly online (beating Netscape and Microsoft to the punch by at least a year). AOLpress is the latest incarnation of this long-standing editor. Despite a few trivial bugs and the program's longevity (it hasn't been updated since 1997), this product still frequently ranks in the top 5 in many comparative reviews of HTML editors. We've found it's also one of the easiest WYSIWYG editors for new users to learn on, with an excellent online tutorial on web page assembly and in-built syntax checking to catch common errors. Versions are available for Windows 3.x, Windows95 and Windows98. Freeware.

CoffeeCup HTML Editor++
The CoffeeCup HTML editor from Texas was built as a 32-bit web page editor from the ground up. We first reviewed it in 1997 when the product was in early beta and it has continued to evolve ever since. CoffeeCup provides full drag-and-drop editing capabilities, a colour wizard, the ability to work on and test multiple pages simultaneously, a customisable editing environment, frame handling and many, many more features too numerous to list here. It also comes complete with animated GIFs, ready-to-run JavaScripts, backgrounds and VBScripts. CoffeeCup is distributed as shareware and download sites are available worldwide. Tucows gave this editor a 5 cow rating.

FlexED Web Editor
FlexED is an Australian HTML editor that incorporates full syntax checking, an in-built browser so you can see how your web page will look onscreen as you develop it, a set of Wizards to automate the process of creating tables, forms and frames, an image map editor, colour syntax highlighting, HTML tag dialog boxes....in fact, it's hard to find anything that this editor has overlooked! Yet it's amazingly light on disk space (around 1Mb) and it's lightning-fast to operate. FlexED supports most of the latest HTML extensions, but its approach is geared more towards users who have at least some understanding of HTML (if you've ever used HotDog or other editors which follow the same path you'll feel at home immediately). It's available as fully-featured 30-day trialware in 16 and 32-bit versions for all Windows platforms. Tucows gave this editor a 5-cow rating too.

HomeSite Web Editor
Allaire's HomeSite web editor is written in Borland Delphi with the Microsoft Internet Control Pack. Its many features include frames wizards, multiple undo levels, an integrated on-screen browser, ruler markings with standard screen sizes, full file &/or directory text search and replacement, image size auto-detection and a great deal more. HomeSite was originally developed by Nick Bradbury in early 1996 and had become so popular that Allaire bought it in March 1997. HomeSite is a full 32-bit editor and integrates well with Microsoft's Internet Explorer (i.e. it includes support for the microsoft HTML extensions and ActiveX controls). The product is distributed as shareware and has won many awards.

HotDog Web Editor
Sausage Software were one of the Internet's early success stories. Their HotDog web editor - one of the very first on the market - quickly became a firm favourite with web authors and the company now produces an exhaustive range of other products as well. All Sausage products are available as trialware downloads and all are very modestly priced (so you may like to try several of them if you elect to visit this site, including the cut-down HotDog Express). Early versions of HotDog were written in Visual Basic but in early 1997 the software was completely rewritten in Borland Delphi. This means that it's now much faster and much more lightweight than it used to be and has many features that VB couldn't support. HotDog's price has steadily gone up over time, but it's still one of the most popular editors in the world.

HoTMetaL Web Editor
SoftQuad's HoTMetaL web editor was one of the early leaders in the high-end of the HTML editing field and over time the company has continued to enhance this powerful product. The latest version features full support for cascading style sheets, a visual frame editor, a WYSIWYG page display, full multimedia inclusion, colour wheels for backgrounds and fonts, a built-in graphics editor for producing transparent GIFs and image maps on the fly, and site management facilities which allow site-wide search and replacement, link checking and batch conversions. HoTMetaL Pro will also convert any Word, WordPerfect or other word processing file into a HTML document simply by opening the document up inside the editor. You can preview finished pages in multiple browsers too. Trialware.

WebEdit HTML Editor
Ken Nesbitt's WebEdit for Windows 3.x/95/NT drew rave reviews before it was purchased by Luckman Interactive in 1997, then onsold to its current owners (Sandiego.Com) in 1998. WebEdit provides a Quick Preview facility, multiple browser support, multiple HTML tag support, page creation wizards, special character support, a WYSIWYG table builder, a WYSIWYG map builder, a HTML removal facility (so you can strip HTML tags out of a downloaded document), a configurable toolbar and special HTML dialogs and follows much the same non-WYSIWYG path as FlexEd and HotDog. Trialware.

Search for more HTML editors in our Resources directory!
 

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