Best Free HTML Editor

 
Introduction

HTML text editors are fine for programmers or those who are comfortable coding (X)HTML, PHP and CSS, but many users have no interest in this. They just want an editor that allows them to produce web pages quickly in a WYSIWYG environment.

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Discussion

Whether code-based or WYSIWYG, the ideal HTML editor should be able to validate that the HTML is standards-compliant, preview the page in different browsers, support meta-tags and provide basic image editing, while still being free. An included FTP client is a bonus.

HTML WYSIWYG Editors

KompoZerOne of the best free editors is KompoZer, our top recommendation for newbies. It's designed for non-technical computer users who want to create an attractive web site without needing to know HTML.  Features include integrated file management (upload to and edit files on a web server), tabbed editing (allowing work on multiple pages), and support for forms, tables and templates.

KompoZer's last stable release was in 2007, and the last Beta (development version) was released in February 2010.

Worth watching is BlueGriffon, which is a fork of KompoZer, currently under active development and looking very promising.

 

AmayaAnother good editor is Amaya. It's a project from the The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and so shines in the area of standards compliance and accessibility.

Amaya lets users both browse and author web pages, which enables easy copying and pasting of information from other web pages and easy creation of links to other websites.  You can seamlessly upload your web pages onto a server from within Amaya as well.

HTML Text Editors

My top choice for experienced users goes to Netbeans. It started life as a Java Editor but with recent releases has developed into a powerful text editor for web scripting. It is Vista and Windows 7 compatible.

At first glance, Netbeans is a little intimidating. Most of the menu items can be ignored by ordinary mortals. Using it as an HTML/PHP editor is akin to using a steam hammer to crack a peanut. Nevertheless the code completion, code colouring and the professional look and feel make it an excellent choice.

Netbeans supports: HTML and XHTML, CSS, PHP (Version 6.5 and later), Java SE, JavaFX, Web & Java EE, Java ME, Ruby, C/C++ and more.

 

HTML-KitMy second choice is HTML-Kit which began as a specialized html editor but now has so many plugins that it is a highly customizable and extensible development environment. The latest freeware release is build 292, and plug-ins continue to be developed and extended, keeping this software very up to date. HTML-Kit is compatible with Vista and is also portable.

HTML-Kit offers support for HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSL, JavaScript, VBScript, ASP, PHP, JSP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, VB, C/C++, .NET C#, Delphi / Pascal, Lisp, SQL, and more.

Over the years, both Netbeans and HTML-Kit have attracted large communities, so the support forums are very good. Their websites are full of video tutorials and resources.

Both Netbeans and HTML-Kit are excellent choices for serious coders, offering support for many file types including HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, XSL, JavaScript, VBScript, ASP, PHP, JSP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java, VB, C/C++, .NET C#, Delphi / Pascal, Lisp, SQL, and more.

 

AptanaAptana Studio, which is based on the well-known, open-source Eclipse IDE that is popular among Java developers, focuses on modern web 2.0 development techniques.

It features optimizations for Javascript, HTML, Ajax, Ruby on Rails, PHP, CSS and many others.

Aptana Studio plugins enable source control and over 1,000 other third-party extensions.

There is a pro version (which includes a few other features), but the free version is more then enough for any web developer (from beginner to advance). I personally love Aptana studio, and recommend it to any developer wanting a full featured IDE for building websites, web applications, desktop applications (with the adobe air plugin), etc.

 

PSPadFinally, for advanced users who work in various programming environments, there is PSPad. It's a general-purpose programming editor with html syntax highlighting.

This small tool has simple controls and handles plain text, yet is extremely capable.  Saying you use PSPad for your coding scores you immediate points for technical machismo.

 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

KompoZer
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
http://kompozer.net
0.7.10
7.6 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows All, Mac OSX, Linux
Amaya
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Standards compliance and accessibility
Some features are very complex for beginners. WYSIWYG rendering is not very good. Doesn't recognize PHP pages.
http://www.w3.org/Amaya/
11.4.7
13.88 MB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows All, Mac, Linux

v11.4.7 released 18 April, 2013
View the release history here

From the developers website:
"Snapshot 11.4.7 - Security fix (18 April 2013)

This snapshot contains a security fix for a problem with the libwww as, in some cases, user password could be sent in the clear through https.
This problem concerns only people who use the PUT capability of Amaya over SSL."
It is available from the download link above.

 
Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

 
Tags

edit html, edit html files, edit html text, edit text wysiwyg mode, best free html text editor, top html editor, top free html editor, edit html what you see is what you get, freeware.

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Comments

by vandamme on 3. February 2013 - 2:25  (105064)

All the Mozilla family apps appear similar. I've been trying SeaMonkey because it's still under development, unlike the deceased NVu and the stalled KompoZer. Seems like I had to clean up the code a bit in a text editor afterwards, though. It's also heavyweight because it includes other apps. I also used Blue Griffon for a while; its best features are extra-cost plugins (they're not that expensive).

So I guess the only other WYSIWYG choice is Amaya.

by mungolina on 12. July 2013 - 9:23  (109161)

Hi, great site. I'm a translator, ex-functional designer/BA. I have enough technical knowledge to wend my way through HTML/XML/some code, but for translation purposes I just want a simple editor that will allow me easily to identify what are visible strings (i.e. viewable by the user), to translate. I'm not familiar enough to know whether I'll need to make changes for character sets etc. I can probably sort that through seek-and-hack skills(skills!?). Generally never as simple as it sounds, but me just translate, ugh.

These products sound either not enough or too much, similarly the text editors sound inadequate... What would you advise, please?

Thanks!

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