HTML editors are programs that help users create HTML for websites. Their purpose is to make HTML formatting easier and faster.
There are two main types of HTML editors:
- Text editors display the HTML code while the user is working with the document.
- WYSIWYG editors display the page as it will appear when the page is published.
Both text editors and WYSIWYG editors are available in free and commercial versions.
Text editor features
Text editors have different combinations of features, which may include the following:
- Auto-completion of coding
- Document templates
- HTML validator
- Search and replace
- Spell check
- Syntax highlighting for HTML, CSS, and programming languages
- Table generator
- URL highlighting
With some WYSIWYG editors, users can:
- Drag and drop layout elements into different places on the page
- Switch between HTML and WYSIWYG views
- Edit HTML within the WYSIWYG view (with more expensive programs)
Some text editors have the option to display the page as it will appear online.
Advantages of text editors
- When users know HTML, they help speed up page creation.
- It's easy to create valid (correct) code with a text editor combined with knowledge of HTML.
Disadvantages of text editors
- They're limited to users with at least some knowledge of HTML.
- Depending on the user's level of HTML, it can take longer to format a page with them than with WYSIWYG editors.
Advantages of WYSIWYG editors
- They're easy to use. No knowledge of HTML is required.
- Users can see how the page will display online while they're working on it.
- They have tools that text editors don't have, such as the ability to insert images without knowing HTML.
Disadvantages of WYSIWYG editors
- WYSIWYG editors are known for cluttering up the page with unnecessary HTML (code bloat). The page will take longer to download unless it's cleaned up, and users who don't know HTML won't know how to clean it up.
- Aside from the code bloat, the code is often invalid in places. This may cause the page to display improperly in some browsers or take longer to download.
- The page layout is usually done with tables instead of CSS.
- They may not tell users to include important coding such as the ALT tag to provide text to go with images.
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