Article Index
The Confusing World of Web Hosting Making Your Decision
The Evils of PDFs
The Importance of Validation
The Many Flavours of HTML
The Smaller the Better Avoiding Graphical Overload
The Top 10 Biggest Web Design Mistakes
The Web Designers Toolbox
The Web is Not Paper
Theres More than One Web Browser
Time for User Testing
Titles and Headlines Its Not a Newspaper
Tracking Your Visitors
Understanding Web Jargon
Uploading Your Website with FTP
Using Flash Sensibly
Using Quizzes and Games to Get Traffic
VBScript Javascript Made Easy
Websites and Weblogs Whats the Difference
What Do You Want Your Website to Do
What You See Isnt Always What You Get

Finding a Good HTML Editor

Finding a Good HTML Editor.

Once you've decided to write your own HTML, and you've got some idea of how it all works, there's one thing left to think about: which program are you going to use to do it? While you can use programs like Notepad or Wordpad that come with Windows, they don't have any specialised HTML editing features, and that can slow you down more than you'd think.

The choice of HTML editors out there, though, is bewildering: there are literally thousands. Here's a guide to things you should look for when you're searching for your perfect HTML partner.

Syntax Highlighting.

One of the most vital features for any editor is syntax highlighting. This means that it understands how HTML works, and will make tags a different colour from text, making it easier for you to see what you're doing.

You should try to find an editor that has up-to-date syntax highlighting and checks whether your tags are valid or not. Instead of just colouring anything you put between angle brackets, it should check whether what you're entering is valid HTML, and warn you if it isn't (usually by turning it red).

Another thing to look out for when it comes to syntax highlighting is what the editor supports that you might want to use with HTML: it's good to have highlighting for CSS and Javascript, as well as PHP or Perl (or whatever you use server-side). Some editors mark them in the same colour to indicate 'not HTML', while some highlight them in a useful way this is what you want.

Tag Suggestion.

It's good to get an editor that knows about valid HTML tags and how they're structured, as that means it can let you know what you should be including and let you browse through tags to find the one you're thinking of. If you type '
Tag-suggesting editors can often save you typing, if they come up with a drop-down when you start typing and allow you to accept their suggestions easily by pressing tab or space. This can speed up your HTML editing significantly.

FTP Upload.

It will save you quite a lot of time if the HTML editor you choose has a built-in FTP upload facility, allowing you to enter your server, username and password, and upload the files you've just edited to the server. If your program doesn't do this, you'll have to use a separate FTP program and mess around finding where you saved your files.

Easy Text to HTML Conversion.

If you're making a lot of text content into HTML, one important feature to look for is easy conversion otherwise you'll spend a long time putting

tags at the start and end of each paragraph. Ideally, the software should be able to spot pieces of text that are headings, lists and so on, and add HTML tags for you automatically. It won't be helpful for everyone, but for text-heavy pages it's indispensable.

You might also be able to find editors that can accept input in text formats that aren't plain text Microsoft Word documents, for example and turn it into sensible HT

A Few Suggestions.

Metapad ( A good drop-in replacement for Notepad, but lacks HTML-specific features.

SciTE Editor ( has excellent syntax highlighting, making it easier to be sure that you're writing correct HTML tags and you haven't made any layout mistakes.

Crimson Editor ( is popular, although you might find it a little technical. Its biggest advantage is that it has built-in FTP uploads.

HomeSite ( Has good tag suggestion features, although it might be a little bulky for some tastes. Very good if you have trouble remembering tags.

As a final note, you might try editing HTML in the 'code view' of one of the visual editors Dreamweaver is especially good at this, if you have it. This lets you switch back and forward easily to see what effect your changes are having.


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