Free HTML editors

  • Posted: 15 February 2006 03:17 PM

    I want to try to set up my own web page, and thought I’d try one of the freeware HTML editors, but which one?

    I have used Dreamweaver at work to update a site that had been professionally developed, but all I had to do was cut, paste and amend existing code, using the code view in DW, which wasn’t too difficult.  So I have some understanding of HTML.  But I am a novice at developing from scratch.

    A review of info on the web suggests to me that the 3 best options may be Amaya, Nvu and Taco.  Any advice please on which I should try?

    Thanks.

    [ Edited: 04 May 2009 10:46 AM by Intruder ]

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    "Between the idea and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot (how to be happy?)  inner and outer space

         
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    Posted: 15 February 2006 04:25 PM #1

    Hi, ercatli, and welcome.

    I don’t know about the outside two. But I use Nvu a lot and it works fine for me. It’s not absolutely 100% stable, but that’s more to do with one of the websites I’m maintaining, which is a bit dodgy in itself.

    I’ve been using it for over a year now, and I can’t find any reason for my purposes to use anything else.

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    Posted: 15 February 2006 06:56 PM #2

    +

    Ercatli,

    I found your post interesting, because you said you’ve cut/pasted/amended code in DW, but are a novice developing a site from scratch. That leads me to ask: Are you looking for a free HTML code editor, or a fee HTML WYSIWYG editor?

    HTML code editors are for editing code and just code. No GUI, but rather more like you vs. the command line. From the commercial BBEdit to TextEdit (OS X) and NotePad (Windows), these tools require you to have pretty much expert skills in “hand-coding,” i.e. making a website more like a programmer, rather than a designer, because you’re using code as opposed to visual design tools.

    Conversely, HTML WYSIWYG applications are similar to graphics and page layout programs: You can drag and drop text, pics, links, etc. onto a blank web page, and the actual HTML is generated “behind the scenes” by the program itself. Of commercial flavors of this type of software, Macromedia/Adobe Dreamweaver is by far the industry standard. Yet some web designers (myself included) prefer Adobe GoLive instead. Sadly, either program will set you back hundreds of dollars, while the entire design suite ,(integrating web editing, graphics, animation, etc.) for either will set you back into four figures.

    I know of no free app that can touch DW or GL for complete creative control. They also include site template, file management, and FTP tools…something I doubt a freeware app can match. (FWIW, I use GoLive and the complete Adobe CS; for an example site, see iiviinfrared.com in my sig.) That said, though, Apple’s new iWeb (free on new Macs, practically free in iLife 2006) is getting great reviews as an extremely simple WYSIWYG editor that integrates well with other iLife applications…something perhaps worth considering.

    Finally, depending on the site you want to create, there’s a third option: a database-driven content management system (CMS). But using a CMS largely depends on the type of site you’re trying to build. Can you elaborate there?

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    mrmwebmax (formerly mrmgraphics)
    Max out your site! mrmwebmax.com

         
  • Posted: 16 February 2006 04:21 PM #3

    Thanks for the help so far.  It is good to hear from a satisfied user.

    In answer your question, mrmgraphics, I was doing this more as a hobby than as a business, and I wanted to build a site that gives information and (perhaps) allows people to post comments.  I don’t think I need anything too complex, certainly not a database driven site.

    I’m honestly not sure whether WYSIWYG is what I need or not.  It makes things easier, but some people say it makes bloated & inelegant code (though I’m hardly likely to build a site so big or complex that that would be all that important!).  But on the other hand, I have bought a few HTML magazines with CDs containing sample code, and I could probably build from there.

    But having used Dreamweaver (probably about 1% of its capability), I just feel I can probably get by with something less.  LaurieF’s reply indicates Nvu meets my requirements, perhaps something else does better?  I had not thought of iLife, so that’s worth considering - but I’d have to buy it as my Macs are a little older.

    Thanks

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    "Between the idea and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot (how to be happy?)  inner and outer space

         
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    Posted: 17 February 2006 05:12 AM #4

    Welcome ercatli!

    This is not my area of expertise - my html experience is minimal. I’ve used HyperEdit a bit. It looks much simpler to me (by way of fewer features) than Nvu after giving Nvu a quick glance just now. If you’re looking for a basic two-window editor (left window = code, right window = result) it seems to work well. It’s not free, but at $19.95 it’s not expensive, either.

    Any of you web development pros around here feel free to shoot me down. Just thought I’d mention what I know.

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    Posted: 17 February 2006 09:22 AM #5

    +
    [quote author=“ercatli”]In answer your question, mrmgraphics, I was doing this more as a hobby than as a business, and I wanted to build a site that gives information and (perhaps) allows people to post comments.  I don’t think I need anything too complex, certainly not a database driven site.

    Given you’re comments, I’d actually argue the reverse: It sounds like a database-driven website is exactly what you need, especially if you want to give site visitors the ability to post comments. Even if, in your eyes, your “simple” site only has info and visitor comments, that has database-driven written all over it. And that just might make creating, maintaining, and updating your site a whole lot simpler, too.

    A good example of a simple, database-driven site is a blog. A blog gives the site owner/sysop the ability to post news articles, pictures, diary entries, etc., via a simple password-protected web interface, while also giving visitors the ability to register themselves on the site, and post comments on site articles. There are dozens of pre-written blogging systems out there that would only require you to upload them to a web server via FTP, configure the site to suit your needs, post content, and wait for visitors to do the same. And yes, while I am oversimplifying this to a certain extent, and while other here have far more experience with blogs than do I, that’s pretty much how they work. A great example of a blog, made by one of TMO’s finest, can be seen here:

    http://www.jinkies.org/

    The difference between the above blog and my iiviinfrared.com site is night-and-day: My site is nearly 100% static HTML, while jinkies.org is a dynamic website using PHP and the MySQL database for content management. Most (if not all) of TMO is another example of a dynamic, database-driven website, and these forums are another example of a pre-written, database-driven CMS being used on a site.

    The great news about using pre-written CMS systems is that so many good ones are available for free. TMO uses, for example, phpBB for these forums, a free forum software system that’s used by at least 6 milliion sites. The popular WordPress blogging CMS is used by jinkies.org. (Bryan, Jinkies, please chime in here if I’m misrepresenting in any way.) My iiviinfrared.com website uses a (commercial) CMS for its News article management system.

    I’d highly recommend you look into a free, open-source, PHP/MySQL CMS for your site. That way, you could build a great site with nothing more than an FTP client, a text editor, and a web hosting platform that supports PHP (a scripting language) and MySQL.

    I’m currently building a PHP/MySQL “community” site for a friend’s home business. Modeled largely after TMO (in terms of site features, but not content, as the site has nothing to do with computers), the site will feature news articles, a clanedar of events, forums, and other dynamic features. At this point, I don’t have anything in even near-finished form to show you, but I’ll gladly point you to the free CMS system I’m using:

    http://www.xoops.org/

    By installing the basic system, and then installing “modules,” I can create a site that perfectly meets the needs of my friend’s business, without ever having to write any PHP or HTML code. Seriously give a free CMS system some consideration for your site. Meanwhile, there are many others on TMO that have implemented such systems on their sites. Hopefully they can add some additional comments, as—again—I’m pretty new to building sites via this approach.

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    mrmwebmax (formerly mrmgraphics)
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  • Posted: 18 February 2006 01:50 PM #6

    mrm

    thanks for opening up a whole new world for me.  i said i didn’t need a database-driven site becasue i didn’t understand what this was - i know what a database is and have used them, and thought you must have meant a site where a database was necessary to keep track of stock, customer details, orders, etc.

    but now you explain it to me, it seems obvious that something like xoops is the best place to start.  if it can’t do what i want (or i can’t make it do it), i can always then try the html code route, using one of the products recommended by other replies.

    but i suppose the obvious question is - is there much advantage in trying xoops, or would i do almost as well simply setting up a blog on (say) google’s blogsite?  i guess the blogger would be easier, but not as flexible and (perhaps) not as cool.

    thanks all of you!

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    "Between the idea and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot (how to be happy?)  inner and outer space

         
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    Posted: 19 February 2006 11:15 AM #7

    +
    [quote author=“ercatli”]but i suppose the obvious question is - is there much advantage in trying xoops, or would i do almost as well simply setting up a blog on (say) google’s blogsite?  i guess the blogger would be easier, but not as flexible and (perhaps) not as cool.

    Again, so many others here have more experience with dynamic sites than me, that I’m hoping the likes of jinkies, spider, etc. join in. What follows are educated guesses regarding your highlited comments.

    I believe nothing is cooler than having a site that is truly your own, where you have FTP access to everything behind the scenes. Nothing is more flexible, either. The price you pay for flexibility and coolness comes with greater learning curves, longer set-up times, etc.

    As an example, just about anyone can create a personal web presence on MySpace, as gazillions of pre-college students have proved. I imagine Google’s blog site works in similar ways, although these are guesses on my part. Do they get the job done? Yes. Are they as cool or as flexible as having your own domain and complete control over every part of the site? Not a chance.

    Again, though, are they easier and faster to set up? No doubt.

    Should you try XOOPS, or other simlar systems such as phpNuke? Or a blogging system such as WordPress? So much depends on your level of expertise, tyour hosting platform, the software on your computer, and more.

    In my case, given my friend’s needs, I’m convinced XOOPS is the way to go. Yet despite having built websites via GoLive and programming computers in BASIC, Pascal, FORTRAN, COBOL, C, Perl, and some PHP, I’m having a hell of a time. That’s despite having full FTP access to the site. Your mileage may vary, of course.

    In truth, I’d say I’m probably making the whole process too hard on myself. I come from the two extremes of programming: either building source code (the hard side), or using a WYSIWYG editor (the easy side). Using a CMS lies in the middle, and it’s just something I have to learn.

    Others? The TMO members with CMS experience? Wanna chime in about now?????

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    mrmwebmax (formerly mrmgraphics)
    Max out your site! mrmwebmax.com

         
  • Posted: 15 March 2006 01:45 AM #8

    Thanks

    MRM

    Thanks for all the useful help.  I have made up my mind, and am incorporating a Lussumo Vanilla Forum into my site - I found this seemed to give me what I wanted easier than using blogging software.  But it was your suggestion of a DB-based driven site that opened up that world to me - indeed I have seen arguments that suggest blogs & forums are almost the same animal.

    It is wonderful that the online world contains so many helpful people as I have found when investigating these matters.

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    "Between the idea and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot (how to be happy?)  inner and outer space

         
  • Posted: 10 April 2006 08:15 AM #9

    While this might not be precisely on topic, I have found [url=http://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/index.shtml]TextWrangler{/url] very helpful. It lets you edit ANY text and save it as nearly any file. You can even edit pictures, but of course it is only gibberish as the program attempts to make a 2D picture into a 1D line of text.

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  • Posted: 22 April 2007 04:59 PM #10

    what do u guys think about macromedia dreamweather? is it worth-buying ?  :idea:  :oh:

         
  • Posted: 22 April 2007 08:47 PM #11

    As you can see from the above, I am a total novice (well was a total novice, hopefully I’ve learnt something in the past year!).  But I used Dreamweaver at work for a site of similar complexity to my own, but it was built by someone else, and I only kept it up-to-date, whereas I had to build my own from scratch - you can see what I’ve been able to build so far here -   .

    The obvious first question is whether you are willing to enter code yourself, or whether you want (because it’s easier) or need (because it’s essential) to use a WYSIWYG editor that does all the hard work for you.  If you want a really optimised site and are a good programmer, then you probably don’t need WYSIWYG, but then you probably wouldn’t be asking the question.  So probably you do need WYSIWYG.

    For WYSIWYG, I know Dreamweaver does things freeware doesn’t do, but I find Nvu quite acceptable.  It has some bugs, but nothing too serious, and it is free.  Taco is a great little editor, and I use it to do my CSS pages and occasionally on HTML when Nvu seems to be doing something I don’t want (WYSIWYG editors sometimes change your code to what they think you want/need).

    Now other people will know far more than I do, but that’s one dummy’s experience.

    Best wishes with whatever you choose.

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    "Between the idea and the reality .... falls the shadow." T S Eliot (how to be happy?)  inner and outer space

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2008 05:09 PM #12

    I know this is a long-dead topic… I just wanted to mention that lately I’ve been playing with Coda and found it to be a very handy web development tool. It’s not free, but it’s cheap compared to Dreamweaver and other commercial web design packages. It has a text editor, FTP client, terminal, and browser (for previewing pages) all in one app. I highly recommend it.

         
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    Posted: 29 July 2008 08:57 AM #13

    Coda

    [quote author=“David Nelson”]I know this is a long-dead topic… I just wanted to mention that lately I’ve been playing with Coda and found it to be a very handy web development tool. It’s not free, but it’s cheap compared to Dreamweaver and other commercial web design packages. It has a text editor, FTP client, terminal, and browser (for previewing pages) all in one app. I highly recommend it.

    Thanks David you helped me make a decision. I came here today looking for some info about Coda, or ask about it had it not been mentioned.

    I am looking for a HTML editor to use on my iBook when I am away from the home office and don’t have access to GoLive.

    I also want to exercise my left brain a bit more and have been getting into hand coding HTML and CSS. Now I have been doing that in GoLive, but I think that getting out a box will help me make some personal changes.

    I downloaded Coda late yesterday, but have not yet had a chance to get into it much.

    As to GoLive. I could never seem get my arms around DreamWeaver and was hoping that Adobe would make it more Creative Suite like. Maybe in CS4 DreamWeaver will get an interface makeover, but maybe not as the established base seems to like it the way that it is. Whatever, time will tell and then the end be known.

    You all have a great day

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