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HTML editors

Which HTML editor to choose: Pajączek, CoreEditor, Bluefish, Brackets, PSPad, gedit, Kate, Quanta Plus, SCREEM, Smultron?

What is needed to create a website? Theoretically, it can be any text editor, and of course, good intentions. HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language, is simply a text file where you enter all the commands for formatting text, inserting graphics, and more. However, writing a page in a plain text editor would be very cumbersome. That's why many specialized editors have been created to make your work easier, faster, and more enjoyable. Below, you will find a list of popular HTML editors (in order of licensing and alphabetically). Some of the information has been taken from the manufacturers' websites.

Windows

Pajączek (shareware - paid)
The most well-known Polish HTML editor, developed for years. It offers broad support for the latest internet technologies, including HTML, XHTML, XML, PHP, JavaScript, VBScript, Perl, MathML, SVG, SMIL, P3P, ASP, and more. This support applies not only to easier editing of source files in these languages but also offers contextual documentation for selected language commands, server browsing, and dynamic code execution, which relieves the need to remember language commands.
CoreEditor (paid - DEMO version available)
A more affordable competitor to Pajączek, a complete rewrite of the free EdHTML. It performs very well as an editor for those programming in Pascal, Assembler, Delphi, C, Java, etc. Nevertheless, the emphasis is on support for technologies such as xHTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, and MySQL.
Bluefish (free) ★★★☆☆
A fast and lightweight editor for webmaster-programmers. It supports HTML, PHP, C, Java, JavaScript, JSP, SQL, XML, Python, Perl, CSS, ColdFusion, Pascal. It includes HTML tag wizards, especially for page structure, tables, frames, photo albums, and more. It automatically closes tags. It has a built-in search and replace tool for multiple files simultaneously and a tag and function documentation browser. It integrates with other applications. There are other language versiona available.
Brackets (free) ★★★★☆
A lightweight yet highly advanced and modern text editor designed primarily for webmasters. With live preview directly in the browser, you can verify the effects of changes in the HTML and CSS code in real time. It also supports the installation of many free extensions, which significantly expand the program's capabilities and better tailor it to your needs.
PSPad (free) ★★★☆☆
A fast and lightweight editor of Czech production, but it handles many other character encodings better than many native programs. It has other language versions, and please note that after installation, you should remove keyboard shortcuts that conflict with combinations for obtaining some diacritical characters in the program's settings! It supports languages such as HTML, XHTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, C/C++, Java, Pascal, Perl, Python, RSS, SQL (MySQL, Interbase, MSSQL, Oracle, Sybase), Visual Basic, Assembler. It allows you to use document templates. It has a built-in document preview using Internet Explorer and Mozilla. It integrates with external programs, including a CSS editor. It supports plugin mechanisms. It includes a tool for compressing and decompressing HTML code and an extensive code explorer with a list of functions and elements in the edited document. It has an implemented bracket matching function, hints, and tag and function wizards that you can create and modify on your own. It supports macros. It includes a built-in file comparison tool and search and replace in multiple files at once. It also has a handy screen color picker, an ASCII character table, and spell checking.

Linux

Bluefish (free) ★★★☆☆
In addition to the Windows version (described above), this editor is also available for Linux.
Brackets (free) ★★★★☆
In addition to the Windows version (described above), this editor is also available for Linux.
gedit (free) ★★★☆☆
The official editor of the GNOME environment, known for its simplicity. It supports languages such as C, C++, Java, HTML, XML, Python, Perl. It automatically adds line indents and matches parentheses. It supports plugins, document statistics, integration with external applications, macros, and tag lists.
Kate (free) ★★★☆☆
Part of the KDE environment. A simplified version called KWrite is also available. It highlights syntax, matches parentheses, and automatically adds line indents. It supports auto-completion, as well as plugin mechanisms. It has a built-in spell checker and character encoding conversion.
Quanta Plus (free)
Part of the KDE environment. It highlights syntax for HTML, XHTML, XML, XSLT, CSS, JavaScript, Java, PHP, C/C++, C#, Python, Perl, SQL (MySQL, PostgreSQL), Assembler, ASP, JSP, Pascal. It matches parentheses and automatically closes tags while adding line indents. It includes various tag wizards, advanced auto-completion, hints, and automatic tag closing. It allows document preview in multiple modes and browsers (Konqueror, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera, Lynx). It has tag and attribute editors and an advanced document structure explorer. Documentation for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP languages is included. It provides document and script templates. Supports plugins and integrates with other applications. Includes built-in tools for searching and replacing in multiple files simultaneously, file comparison, and link map editor. Supports CVS. Includes a built-in spell checker.
SCREEM - Site CRreation and Editing EnvironMent (free)
Includes a link explorer with the ability to check for dead links. Offers wizards, auto-completion, hints, and automatic tag closing. Supports document templates (interprets Dreamweaver program files). Supports CVS. Includes a built-in document structure explorer. Integrates with other applications. Includes a search and replace tool for multiple files simultaneously.

Mac OS X

Smultron (paid)
Offers syntax highlighting, creation of a snippet library for frequently used code blocks. It includes a feature explorer for functions in the edited document, supports autocomplete, and automatic tag closing. It comes with a built-in search and replace tool for multiple files at once. It supports AppleScript.
Bluefish (free) ★★★☆☆
In addition to the Windows version (described above), this editor is also available for Mac OS X.
Brackets (free) ★★★★☆
In addition to the Windows version (described above), this editor is also available for Mac OS X.

If you're unsure which HTML editor is right for you or prefer to search for a foreign-language program, see: HTML Editors Ranking (online). Additional descriptions and comparisons with download links can also be found on sites like DobreProgramy.pl or in the magazine Komputer Świat.

Choosing HTML editor

There are also graphic editors, known as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). An example is FrontPage, available in the Microsoft Office suite. You don't need to know HTML to use them because they allow you to create a webpage just like in a regular text editor, and they automatically generate the HTML code. However, there's no such thing as a free lunch (except maybe for this course 🙂). These editors don't give you full control over the content of the page. While you can use various rich tools, learning all the capabilities of such an editor might take more time than learning the basics of HTML. Additionally, they generate "overhead" code, which increases the page size and makes it challenging to modify the page later using text editors. This can also lead to incorrect rendering in some popular web browsers – for example, pages created in FrontPage are best viewed in Internet Explorer. Moreover, there are cases where at least a basic knowledge of HTML is essential because graphic editors simply don't provide all the possibilities, or the result is not entirely as expected.

You can write a website in a regular text editor, but I absolutely do not recommend this method! First of all, it's easy to make typos in HTML commands, which can result in display errors on the page. Specialized HTML editors immediately alert you to these errors because each correct HTML command is usually displayed in a different color (this is called syntax highlighting) - incorrect commands don't change color. The content in a regular text editor looks uniform, so you won't notice errors.

If you use, for example, Windows Notepad, some language diacritic characters may be incorrectly saved - in a web browser, they will appear as "gibberish."

On different forums and discussion groups, you may come across somewhat playful comments like, A real webmaster doesn't use any additional editors because it's too easy. Never believe in such tales! A true webmaster is characterized, in a nutshell, by knowledge, skills, and the ability to use the right tools, which significantly facilitate, and above all, speed up work. Additionally, for some inexplicable reason, beginners (and not only beginners) often claim that they don't use HTML editors because they want to learn HTML "properly." Such reasoning is entirely wrong! Using a regular pen, will we learn to write worse than if we did it with a goose feather and smudgy ink? On the contrary, the text written with a pen will look more aesthetic (no blots 🙂). After all, spelling rules are always the same, regardless of the tool we use. Similarly, using text-based HTML editors will not make you learn HTML worse. It will only speed up your work and protect you from syntax errors, so you can get to know HTML even better. Most experienced webmasters-professionals use text-based HTML editors, and I strongly advise you to get one as soon as possible. The sooner you do it, the better for you.

For the above reasons, I strongly encourage you to install an HTML editor - preferably a freeware one. The offer is quite rich, and most of them provide more than enough features to create a great website.

Questions and Answers

What is HTML and what is it used for?

HTML is short for Hypertext Markup Language. It is a computer language used to create web pages. An HTML document is a text file in which you enter all the commands for text formatting, inserting graphics, and more.

How to edit a page in HTML?

To edit HTML pages, it's best to use a specialized editor. There are many free and paid HTML editors available for different operating systems: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X.

Which program to use for writing HTML code?

For writing HTML code, it's best to use a dedicated editor. There are many free and paid HTML editors available for different operating systems. For example: Pajączek, CoreEditor, Bluefish, Brackets, PSPad, gedit, Kate, Quanta Plus, SCREEM, Smultron.

Which HTML editor?

Brackets is one of the best HTML editors. It has a range of built-in features useful for creating web pages. It supports installing free extensions that can further enhance its capabilities. It is completely free and available in versions for every operating system.

How to convert text to HTML?

Many text editors, such as Microsoft Word, Open Office, or Libre Office, have the ability to convert a document to HTML code. To do this, simply use the menu: "File / Save As..." and then, in the "Save as type" field, choose "Web Page, Filtered (*.htm;*.html)" or "HTML Document (Writer) (*.html)" as appropriate. Finally, click the "Save" button. However, it should be noted that documents created in this way may take a long time to load and display incorrectly in some browsers, and they may be difficult to modify later. Therefore, it is recommended to use dedicated HTML editors for creating this type of documents.

How to open an HTML file in Word?

Text editors such as Microsoft Word, Open Office, or Libre Office allow you to directly open and edit HTML files. To do this, select the menu: "File / Open" and then locate the *.html or *.htm document on your disk and click the "Open" button. However, it's important to remember that modifying an HTML document in this way may result in longer loading times and incorrect display in some browsers. Therefore, it's recommended to use dedicated HTML editors for creating this type of documents.