Editors to Create Your Blog, Website or Web-Business

You're eager to start working on building your website, but you still need an essential tool: an HTML editor.  HTML is the language in which web pages are written, and these specialized editors will make your job must easier.  Yes, you will still run into some Mountain Dew and Krispy Kreme-addicted geeks who insists that the "best" code is written in "Notepad" or some other arcane text editor.  Just tell him he's got a zit about to burst and when he's distracted, make your escape.

These editors are designed to speed the process by recognizing html tags, preventing some errors, and many are wysiwyg (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) - meaning you can just type what you want and click buttons to add features.  Yes, the geeks are right that it is best to learn the underlying html, but if your goal is to get a decent website up fast and start turning a profit or providing information, then you will want one of the tools below, and learn the html as you need to.

HTML Editors

Which editor to choose?  There are so many! True, but there are some quick decisions.  First: free, cheap or full featured?

If you can afford it, Macromedia's Dreamweaver ($400) or Microsoft's Expression Web 2 ($100) are the way to go.  They both has so many features and tools built in, that with either, you will recoup the cost of the program in the money you will save not buying many other tools.

The low cost and free editors are pretty decent, but usually do not include so key features like built in link checking or true wysiwyg functionality.

Top Choices: Commercial Editors

Dreamweaver or Expressions Web 2 (formerly Microsoft FrontPage)?  Dreamweaver is a bit more powerful, but also much more complex to learn.  Expressions Web 2 (formerly Microsoft FrontPage) excels at developing and managing content in a wysiwyg environment and is intuitive to use; but forces you into certain Microsoft conventions... and the program has some weird bugs.

  • Microsoft ExpressionWeb (formerly FrontPage )- WYSIWYG editor - Get the latest information, product details, and download a trial version of ExpressionWeb. Goes for $101 (June 2009 price), but can be had on sale occasionally for as little as $90.
  • Adobe / Macromedia Dreamweaver - mostly WYSIWYG editor (doesn't do cut and paste from outside sources like Expressions Web 2 (formerly Microsoft FrontPage) does). Free trial download. Normally costs at least $399, rarely discounted.

Best Free Editors

  • Arachnophilia - Includes search/replace features, spell checker, will tidy up your markup, has customization available, macros, more.

Best Inexpensive Editors

  • UltraEdit, by IDM Computer Solutions, Inc. (street price $50) (upgrades free) 

Specialized Editors

PHP editors

CSS Editors

XML Editors

 

Web Design Software Comparisons

The top picks in each category are highlighted in gold.

Comparison Chart of Free Web / HTML Editors - 2009

Software Features Where to download
Arachnophilia
Free
HTML editor, programming editor for Windows. Includes search/replace features, spell checker, will tidy up your markup, has customization available, macros, has built-in FTP service, more. Supports ASP and PHP, too. For Windows. Free Click here
NoteTab, by Fookes Software
Free Lite version
Top-rated text and HTML editor shareware. Awards from PCMagazine. HTML, CSS, PHP, CGI scripts, Search/replace, drag and drop files, convert text to HTML, strip tags, more. Free Lite version, click here
PSPad, by Jan Fiala
Free
Highly recommended free editor for Windows. Free extensions, online forum, regular updates, very active community of users via their online forum. Tidy libraries also included for formatting and checking CSS, HTML, XHTML, XML Free, Click here
Nvu

WYSIWYG editor, designed for beginners; works like Expressions Web 2 (formerly Microsoft FrontPage) and DreamWeaver, but is based on the Mozilla Composer web editor

 

 

 
Mozilla FireFox (the browser) FireFox has a WYSIWYG web editor built-in.  
TSW WebCoder 5.0  Free. For Windows    

 

Comparison Chart of Mid-Priced Web / HTML Editors - 2009

Software Features Where to see reviews or buy
Actual Drawing 5.7 Free trial, $59.00 to buy. Claims that you can create and publish Web pages without knowing HTML. For Windows  
CoffeeCup HTML Editor
 

(street price $50)

HTML editor, 125 JavaScript’s, DHTML Menu wizard, thousands of graphics, frame and table designers, code cleaner, editor with WYSIWYG. Includes FTP, drag-and-drop capabilities, XHTML conversion tool, support for PHP and other programming languages, built in CSS editor, spell check, built in sitemapping tool, CoffeeCup Image Mapper, CoffeeCup HTML Editor
EditPlus

(street price $30)

Syntax highlighting text editor, HTML editor, programmer's editor. Syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, PHP, ASP, Perl, C/C++, Java, JavaScript and VBScript. Also, it can be extended for other programming languages based on custom syntax files. Includes seamless Web browser for previewing HTML pages, and many helpful features - HTML toolbar, URL highlighting, multiple undo, search-replace, easy writing CGI scripts EditPlus
First Page, by Evrsoft

(street price $60)

HTML editor. Includes “full support for HTML, XHTML, PHP, ASP, Cold Fusion, Javascript, CSS, SSI and Perl.” First Page,
HotDog, by Sausage Software

(street price $129) (upgrade $39)

 

Several versions available; for building your first webpage, for novices, and a version for professionals. HotDog,
HTML-Kit Tools (Formerly HTML-Kit),

(street price $65)

 For HTML; includes many plugins, such as CSS, HTML Tidy, W3C HTML and CSS references, XHTML, JavaScript, ASP, ColdFusion, Perl, PHP, SSI, SQL, and more.  
NoteTab, by Fookes Software

(street price $30 - pro version); $20 for the standard version and a free Lite version

Top-rated text and HTML editor shareware. Awards from PCMagazine and others. Simple to use and helpful with HTML, CSS, PHP, CGI scripts, more. Search/replace, drag and drop files, convert text to HTML, strip tags, more. NoteTab
PageSpinner, by Optima System
For Mac

(street price $29) (upgrades free)

HTML editor for beginners and advanced. Supports AppleScript and AppleScript-based software. PageSpinner
TopStyle CSS, HTML, XHTML Editor, by NewsGator Technologies, Inc.

(street price $79) (upgrades $25) Free Lite version

 Integrates seamlessly with Macromedia HomeSite, Macromedia Dreamweaver, CSE HTML Validator, NoteTab, and others. Highly rated by PCMagazine, CNet.  TopStyle CSS, HTML, XHTML Editor
UltraEdit, by IDM Computer Solutions, Inc.

(street price $50) (upgrades free)

UltraEdit is A high selling,  powerful, value priced text editor. Popular for HTML, PHP, Java, Perl, Javascript. UltraEdit delivers easy viewing and editing of code and variables. In addition to the standard editing functions such as undo, copy and paste, and searching, UltraEdit's color-coded editor allows programmers to decipher different code types and variables, and you are going to love the powerful code-folding too! UltraEdit

 

Comparison Chart of Professional Web / HTML Editors - 2009

Software and Street Price Features Where to see reviews or buy
Dreamweaver CS4,Adobe (formerly by Macromedia)

(street price $399) (upgrade $199)

 

HTML, WYSIWYG, professional pre-made layouts and templates, all major Web scripting and multimedia formats. Integrates with Macromedia HomeSite, Adobe Fireworks, and other software programs. Free trial download. Excellent HTML editor, XHTML editor, accessible to those not knowing HTML, and gaining in popularity among Web site developers, companies, large corporations, and individuals for Web site building, maintenance and especially for managing large sites. Dreamweaver also supports W3C Recommendations and does pretty well with its WYSIWYG features - far superior to FrontPage.  
BBEdit,

(street price $125 full; $30-$40 upgrade; $49 educational. For Mac.)

 

 HTML editor for Macs. Similar to  HomeSite (for PCs) Syntax coloring and function navigation support for HTML, JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Ruby, SQL, XHTML, XML, and YAML. Syntax coloring, function navigation, and markup support for CSS. Local preview server for preview of code generated by PHP, Perl, includes, and similar. Built-in support for Dreamweaver.  
HomeSite, by Adobe, formerly, Macromedia and formerly by Allaire

(street price $99) (upgrade $29)

Respected HTML software for PCs, among the top favorites used by Web site developers. Supports PHP, integrates well with Dreamweaver, Cold Fusion and other programs. Accessible for new users, too. Excellent HTML editor. Free trial download.  Likely to be discontinued  
Microsoft Expression Web 2,

(street price $101) ($99 upgrade)

HTML, WYSIWYG (designed for editing, not coding), templates, integrates with Office products.  Expression Web Designer replaces FrontPage and is a new product by Microsoft, part of the Expression family that includes Expression Web Designer, Expression Graphic Designer, and Expression Interactive Designer. Much better CSS support, better support for Web standards than its predecessor.

Microsoft Expression Web Upgrade from FrontPage (any version)

Microsoft FrontPage 2003 or 2007

(street price $170)

 

HTML, WYSIWYG (designed for editing, not coding), templates, integrates with Office products, limited features if stored on a server without FrontPage extensions. (discontinued, but available on eBay)
Adobe GoLive 6.0
 

(street price $175)

 

HTML, WYSIWYG, limited templates, streaming media and CSS editors.  
Moonfruit
 

(est. $6 to $14 a month. No setup fee)

Flash-based tool allows editing in real-time. Image and animation library, Jukebox tool.  
NetObjects Fusion
(Street price $109)
Novices are able to build a small site with styles that come with the product, and set up a simple online shop with the built-in e-commerce engine. It has limits of performance and handling at a few hundred pages. There is only limited access to HTML. Not recommended
StudioLine Web Edition 1.5
 

(street price $280)

WYSIWYG, Mac-style interface, image-editing, layout templates.  
WebPage Maker 1.51
 

(street price $40)

WYSIWYG, limited templates.  
Lycos' Tripod/AngelFire
 

(*est. ranges from free to $20 a month plus setup fee)

Both free and ad-based plans, site wizards with templates, library of images, scripts, simple animations, CGI. 20 MB, 1 GB bandwidth to 150 MB, 30 GB bandwidth. Easily add audio, video, search boxes, blogs.  
Yahoo! Geocities
 

(*est. ranges from free to $9 a month plus setup fee)

Both free and ad-based plans available. From 15 MB disk space with 3 GB of bandwidth to 25 MB and 10 GB of bandwidth. No blog builder. Java-based, easily add news headlines, counters, Webcam feeds, weather updates, online-status icon.  
Homestead
 

(street price $6 to $30, plus setup fee)

Java-based client, library of over 1.2 million images, forms, animation factory. No blog builder.  

Amazon.com and www.consumersearch.com have user reviews.