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Install an HTML Text Editor

Learning Objectives

  • Identify desirable features in an HTML editor.
  • Compare two or more HTML editors.
  • Report your comparison to other participants of this class
  • Select an HTML editor for your personal use
  • Summarize the reason(s) that led you to choose your specific editor
  • Use your editor to produce a simple HTML page

Task Materials

For this course we need an HTML editing tool. There are many to choose from. We do not need many advanced features for this basic course so pick a simple text editor with syntax highlighting.

Online HTML editors

There are several HTML editors that you can use in your web browser:

  • Mozilla Thimble - Recommended to use on this course. Provides direct visual feedback, syntax highlighting, and easy publishing.
  • HTML Pad (Mozilla online HTML editor)
  • JS Fiddle (JavaScript, CSS, and HTML editor online)

Free/Open Source Text Editors

The following text editors have syntax highlighting and are Free/Open Source tools:

  • Bluefish (GNU/Linux, Mac OSX, Microsoft Windows)
  • Geany (GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows)
  • gEdit (GNU/Linux, Mac OSX, Microsoft Windows)
  • jEdit (GNU/Linux, Mac OSX,Microsoft Windows)
  • Notepad++ (Microsoft Windows)

Advanced Integrated Development Environments (IDEs)

Task Discussion

  • H   June 12, 2012, 8:18 p.m.

    I chose to use BlueGriffon because it was the one most easily compatible (imo) with my Mac. gedit looked really nice with its configurable syntax highlighting for the computer languages and its bracket matching feature. However, BlueGriffon is very intuitive, and it has the option of source view, wysiwyg view, and browser preview.

  • John   June 9, 2012, 3:24 p.m.

    I have taken an HTML class in the past, but it has been awhile and I would like to get back into it. I have looked at Aptna Studio 3 and Notepad ++. As I am just easing back into programming I am going to use Notepad ++ because it seems easier to use and feels very user friendly. 

  • Gameplay   June 8, 2012, 6:20 p.m.

    I selected BlueGriffon because it has a similar interface to dreamweaver which is useful in ensuring that you use proper syntax. It also allows you to find places in your code by using line numbers and sets up the basic parameters for your HTML document.

    Also tried g-edit but it was a bit too convoluted for my liking.

  • Rick Metta   June 7, 2012, 8:52 a.m.

    I use Dreamweaver CS5

  • Machoman   June 6, 2012, 10:12 p.m.

    i decided to go with notepad++ ...i read all the comments and it seems that the majority of folks pick it for ease of use...i'm ready to start

  • Josh Young   June 5, 2012, 11:57 p.m.

    Looked at Bluefish, BlueGriffon and Notepad++.  Went with Notepad++ for now because I like the UI.  The other two looked pretty interesting and I'm sure I'll check them out sometime.

  • Jrlouie   June 5, 2012, 2:49 a.m.

    I decided to focus on vim with an alternate of sublime text 2.

  • Oki Onome O.   June 3, 2012, 10:56 a.m.
    I am using notepad. I find a bit very simple. I love that simplicity
  • oscar   June 2, 2012, 1:44 a.m.

    I use notepad++ because is simple and light. 

    also is very popular between the html editors

  • Anonym   May 30, 2012, 1:59 a.m.

    Just found out about a very beginner friendly Mac OS X text editor called Tincta. I highly recommend it to people with no programming experience whatsoever (someone like me basically!!).

    Oh, and I'm loving the preview in browser feature as well.

  • Gameplay   June 8, 2012, 6:21 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Anonym   May 30, 2012, 1:59 a.m.

    Definitely liked the preview in browser feature of BlueGriffon as well. Forgot to say that in my update :)

  • Thomas Davila   May 29, 2012, 12:26 p.m.

    Compared Notepad++ and Bluefish.  Bluefish was described better on their features page and seems a little more robust. But I'm a newbie, so correct as necessary!

  • Anonym   May 26, 2012, 7:20 a.m.

    I chose vim, because it is simple, fast and efficient once you are used to it.

  • PinkIsis   May 25, 2012, 1:17 p.m.

    Someone hip me on to  Unitron, which is a great editor but no longer supported. I have also tried Dreamweaver. I've installed eclipse, Aptana Studio 3, and  TextWrangler since starting this track.  I am still trying to decide which one is best. Aptana is edging out the others, but I may try out a couple more before deciding.

  • Cat   May 25, 2012, 11:43 a.m.

    I've got Notepad++ .

  • Sarah K   May 24, 2012, 3:32 p.m.

    Using Dreamweaver , Eclipse, and Notepad++, since I already know quite a bit of HTML.

  • Jbeans   May 22, 2012, 6:12 p.m.

    Been using Notepad++ on Windows , Textmate and Coda on mac. Looking that the Bluefish website, I was impressed with it's code completetion, syntax highlighting and the keyboard shortcuts to comment and markup, plus it works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. This will make it much easier on myself as I use all three OS's. Downloaded Bluefish earlier today and gave it a spin. Very Nice!

  • Gameplay   June 8, 2012, 6:25 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jbeans   May 22, 2012, 6:12 p.m.

    I couldn't even get to the download file for BlueFish. Heellllp! :D

  • ctk974   May 13, 2012, 10:44 p.m.

    I use Notepad++ on Windows and Fraise and CotEditor on Mac.

  • Al   May 10, 2012, 12:03 a.m.

    I've used Notepad++ before, so that's what I'll be starting off with.

    I'll be reassessing this once I move onto <canvas> and Javascript tutorials, however with the ability to load in custom languages I think Notepad++ will suffice.

    I'm keen to hear what the more expierenced web designers choose.

  • Paoloz   May 9, 2012, 1:46 a.m.

    Blue fish would be a great way to build a formidable compatible platform. I like that it could be used in GNU/Linux, Mac OSX and windows. However Notepad++ looks to be a great way to start in the windows platform. If anyone else would care to advice on better editors for Mac OSX or Linux please foward me a  message, your input is always appreciated.