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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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
One 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.
Another 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.
My 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.
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.
Aptana 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.
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.
Finally, 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:
- Best Free Programming Editor
- Best Free Text Editor / Notepad Replacement
- Free Online Tool To Remove Line Breaks, Convert to HTML and More
Quick Selection Guide
Download the 31MB PHP version unless you need modules for non-web programming. The Java SE Development Kit, JDK 6.0 Update 26 or later, is required. A link is given for this during Netbeans installation if it's not already installed on your system.
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