8.6. HTML Tools
HTML documents are simple ASCII text files, which means you can use any minimal text editor to write them. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that make the process of generating HTML documents more quick and efficient. They fall into two main categories: HTML editors and WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) web authoring tools.
8.6.1. HTML Editors
HTML editors are text editing tools designed especially for writing HTML. They require that you know how to compose HTML by hand; however, they save time by providing shortcuts for repetitive tasks like setting up documents, tables, or simply applying styles to text.
There are scores of simple HTML editors available, and many of them are free. Just enter "HTML Editor" in the search field of Shareware.com (http://www.shareware.com) and wade through the results. For purposes of brevity, I'm going to cut to the chase.
If you're working on a Macintosh, you want BBEdit, a commercial HTML editor from Bare Bones Software, Inc. It is overwhelmingly the editor of choice among Mac-based web developers. It includes features such as an array of HTML shortcut tools, color-coded HTML syntax, multiple-file search-and-replace, a built-in FTP function, support for 13 programming languages, a table builder, an HTML syntax checker, and a lot more. For more information and to download a demo version, see http://www.bbedit.com.
8.6.2. WYSIWYG Authoring Tools
In the beginning, the goal was to spare authors from ever having to touch an HTML tag in the same way that page layout programs protect designers from typing out PostScript. Today, the role of WYSIWYG authoring tools has shifted towards making document production and site management more efficient and automated while still providing access to the HTML source.
18.104.22.168. Pros and cons
Many professional HTML coders shun web authoring tools, preferring the "pure" experience of creating HTML documents by hand using only a full-featured HTML editor. Others appreciate being spared the grunt work of typing every HTML tag and find the WYSIWYG environment useful for viewing the page and making design decisions on the fly.
If you do choose to use a web authoring tool, don't expect it to excuse you from learning HTML altogether. In many cases, you will need to do some manual fine-tuning to the resulting HTML code. There are a few pros and cons to authoring tools that you should consider.
The pros include:
But also keep in mind these cons:
22.214.171.124. Some available web authoring tools
The following is an introduction to a handful of the tools that are popular as of this writing (versions are omitted because of the speed of updates). All are available for Mac and Windows systems.
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