Top 5 Basic HTML Editors


Build Web pages in minutes with these point-and-click text editors.

Linda L. Grubbs, PCWorld.com

1. Cool Page: This free HTML editor makes building Web pages as simple as creating a word-processing document. There's no coding involved; you create pages by dragging and dropping. Add pizzazz to your pages by adding sound or images that come with the program, or import your own. You can upload the pages to your Internet service provider or to an FTP server. Using images that came with the program, I created in 15 minutes a simple three-page Web site that included links to different pages. Adding elements to the Web page was as simple as clicking on the element and dragging it to its position on the page. However, publishing the page (uploading it to the Internet) took a little more effort. For example, the program already has the names of some popular host sites (AOL, Earthlink, Geocities) and free host sites stored by default, but it doesn't have the hosts' addresses, so you'll need to have that information handy.

2. CuteHTML: This is a really great HTML editor for beginners and experts. You can create Web pages from scratch or edit existing pages by dragging them to the main navigation window. What I really liked about the program was its ability to simplify some of the most difficult coding tasks, such as complex tables. (Normally, you can't keep track of all the cells and rows in a table just by clicking an icon.) A TagTip pull-down menu allowed me to insert tags into the document with relative ease. Incorporating images was a breeze as well. For example, if you want an image to be a link, you can indicate what type of link it should be (relative or absolute, for instance) in an image tag dialog box that offers you several options. You also get an optimization utility that reduces the image size so it will load faster on the Web. You can also view your page in a browser before saving it to your host site.

3. HotDog PageWiz: Remember the days when building Web pages was an arduous task? This HTML editor takes the angst out of publishing Web pages by providing you with templates to get you started. It combines WYSIWYG authoring and text-based editing, and offers you two modes to work in. Express Mode guides you through a simple four-step process to help you build your Web page, including single-click publishing. The interface contains a window that shows your page as its being built, as well as two other windows that display object properties and attribute information. Each time you add an element to your page, information is placed in each window, so you can learn HTML code as you go. Each page has a "What do I do?" section that explains how to proceed. I had fun building my page with this editor because there were icons for every item I incorporated, including mailto links and sound files. Editor Mode is a fully integrated, side-by-side WYSIWYG and text-based authoring environment that gives you the ability to combine coding with automated functions for creating tables and forms. There's also an HTML tag manager that enables you to add, edit, or filter tags.

4. CoffeeCup Free HTML: Looking for a basic editor with more-advanced capabilities? This free HTML editor allows you to create professional-looking Web pages with relative ease. It features a split screen that allows you to see your page as you create or edit it. I added links, images, and a bulleted list to my page using building blocks called Pagelettes. Each I time I added an element, a dialogue box opened and prompted me to fill in specific information. For example, to create a Web form, I just selected the fields that I wanted the form to contain, and the program did the rest. The best part of all is that I didn't see a single HTML tag during the whole process. The program also includes an image gallery, as well as page themes that give you a head start in creating your pages. A wizard walks you through uploading files to your Web site. Unfortunately, advertisements are parked along the top of the program.

Note: The download link will take you to CoffeeCup's site, where you will have to fill out a form before downloading the software.

5. Site Builder: If you're new to making Web pages, this HTML editor (shareware, $25) might be worth considering. A split-screen interface contains icons that automate the coding process. You can create banners, frames, and tables without writing a single line of code. One really great feature is the program's ability to create Java applets, which you do simply by entering basic information into a dialog box. For example, I created a scrolling marquee just by defining the width and space requirements, as well as the direction and behavior modes for the scrolling.

As with most HTML editors, you can add images, links, and sound. There's also a Frame Wizard that allows you to create up to eight frames. You can specify if you want the frame to have scrolling text, a URL, and whether you want the page divided into rows or columns. When you're done building your pages, use the program's FTP client to upload your pages to your host directory.

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