A Look At HTML Editors

Very basically a HTML editor allows you to assemble your code and content in a form usable by a browser. You may have Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Netscape, or a lessor known application. If you notice we never mention Apple products for the simple reason we have no experience with them. We will use this page to tell a little about a few editors and then the next page will tell your how to get the code (html).

Windows Notepad

Notepad comes with Windows and for some people this is all they want. It's a great place to start so fire it up. Create a new folder on your desktop and name it "my-web" and then copy and paste this code into notepad. You can put this folder anywhere but it's easier to find on the Desktop when you are experimenting.

<html>
<head>
	<title>My Web Site</title>
</head>
<body>
<p>Boy is this easy!</p>
</body>
</html>

Now do a File/Save As with your Notepad file into your newly created "my-web" folder. Give it the file name test-page.html. Go to your desktop and open the folder where you will see your web page file, and then double click on it to open in your browser (hopefully Firefox). This is a web page in it's most basic form. Open View Source and you will see that it's using your code that you saved in Notepad. Go back to Notepad and change the text between the <p></p> and save it. The <p> Element is for displaying a paragraph. Back in the browser hit Refresh and you will see your changes. It's kind of empowering to see your changes take effect. For this to be visible on the web you would have to put it on a web server, but that's for later.

Notice how the <title> Element displays the text up in the blue bar at the top of your browser. More about these elements and how you can learn them later on.

HTML-Kit - A Great Freebie!

This is one I only wish someone would have tipped me off to earlier. HTML-Kit Editor is Open Source which means they develop it and then give it away. Hey they even support it afterwards. Don't let all the features scare you just grab the basic download and install it. After you install you can open your little saved file with it and spend a few minutes looking at some of the features. The plug-ins can be added as your experience grows.

Microsoft FrontPage

This is first commercial application most beginners buy, and some very experienced developers use it and do great things with it. I went this route and still use for some sites. It's the most economical of the two leading WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors. You can get ideas and a feel for the pricing of FrontPage at Amazon.com. I can't recommend that you buy anything at this point, but if you do later and get it through my link it helps support this site.

Dreamweaver MX

This is a Macromedia product and my favorite WYSIWYG for now. It has a steep learning curve for one who is just starting, so learn a little about it and keep it in the back of your head for when your experience climbs. Who knows? That may only be a few weeks. An entire page could be done on Dreamweaver's features, but I'll let the developer do that in detailing their soon to be released Dreamweaver 8. For price comparison Dreamweaver MX can be seen here at Amazon.

Dreamweaver is something you can grow to needing and has a thirty day trial, but don't get it now. You have all you need for now with Notepad and HTML-Kit.