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Web Design Software - HTML Editors

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Introduction ...

HTML editor tips, tricks and recommendations from an experienced web developer. There are a huge number of free HTML editors for you to choose from and this page discusses the different types of HTML editor so that you can make an informed choice. It also shows you a novel way to replace Windows NotePad so that when you 'View Source' in Internet Explorer the web page is loaded into your choice of HTML editor, not Windows NotePad.

HTML Editors ...

Those of you who are new to web authoring should understand that web pages are very basic text files that contain the page content, the HTML Markup, the CSS Styles and the JavaScript scripts. You can create web pages in programs as basic as Microsoft Notepad although you would be better advised to pick a more fully featured web page software tool. You should not attempt to create web pages in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word or Wordpad because word processing files contain all the word processor's proprietary formatting information which you certainly do not want when you are developing web pages.

In essence, there are two basic methods that can be used in web page creation. The first method, which we described above, is to use a standard text editor and develop your Markup skills. The second method is to use a program that creates the web page for you and this is where matters can become very confusing because this type of program is often described as an 'HTML editor' or a 'visual HTML editor'. Examples of this type of program include Microsoft FrontPage, Macromedia Dreamweaver, page builder, tool editor, etc.

The concept of using a program that creates the web page Markup for you can be very seductive to the user who is struggling to develop their own HTML Markup skills but in my opinion, there are several problems with this approach. The first problem is that the learning curve required to master this type of program can often be greater than the learning curve required to develop your own HTML Markup skills. The next problem is that you are limited to creating web pages that fall within the design capabilities of the program and this can exclude you from using a wealth of web design techniques that become available to you if you develop your own Markup skills.

EditPad Lite

Having read all the previous comments you might be a little confused as to which program you should use to create your own web pages. In the final analysis this has to be your choice but if you want a recommendation then my own personal all time favourite is EditPad Lite. This free web page editor is the text editor that I used to create this site and I have used it exclusively for the past five years for all my web development work. Best of all it is freeware which means that it is completely FREE for non-commercial use and all you have to do is to download it and install it. They do try and interest you in their shareware EditPad Professional version which costs €39.95 euro (ex VAT) but I have never felt the need to upgrade, although I might do one day.

EditPad Light

EditPad Lite has a wealth of advanced features that are useful to the professional web developer but it's classic simplicity means that it is also ideal for newcomers to web development. One of it's very best features is the ability to load a variety of web pages, style sheets and JavaScript libraries, all at the same time. All the user has to do is to click on the tab for the page they want to edit and they can switch between the different pages at will. This is the most useful of features when you are developing, building or publishing a website and it is particularly helpful to those who are new to web development.

 

Tips And Tricks ...

I spend a lot of time developing websites and my all time favourite text editor, for writing and developing web pages is EditPad Lite. I often use EditPad Lite in conjunction with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser which I use to view the rendered pages that I have created in EditPad Lite. I also use the browser to navigate to different pages of a website when I will suddenly spot a problem with a page that requires some immediate attention. At this stage I can either switch back to EditPad Lite and then manually locate and load the page or I can use Internet Explorer's 'View Source' facility to view/edit the page. The problems with the first option are fairly self-evident and the problem with the second option is that Internet Explorer loads the page into Microsoft Notepad. In terms of professional web development this is about as 'retro' as you can get and it is also very dangerous to risk having different instances of the same web page loaded into different text editors at the same time.

The obvious solution to the problem is to find a way to make Internet Explorer's 'View Source' facility load the web page into EditPad Lite instead of Notepad and the procedure below achieves just this. The only downside (read upside) to this is that whenever you run Microsoft Notepad in Windows you will get EditPad Lite instead. Isn't life a cow?

 
Replacing Notepad

15-Apr-2005

Windows XP Professional, Windows 2000 Professional.

REPLACING MICROSOFT'S NOTEPAD (NOTEPAD.EXE) WITH EDITPAD LITE (EDITPAD.EXE).

Using Windows Explorer (not Internet Explorer) ...

  1. Copy EDITPAD.EXE to a temp folder and rename it NOTEPAD.EXE.
  2. Copy the renamed NOTEPAD.EXE to the clipboard.
  3. Navigate to the <drive:>\winnt\system32\dllcache folder.
  4. Rename Microsoft's NOTEPAD.EXE - NOTEPAD-ORG.EXE.
  5. Paste your new NOTEPAD.EXE into the folder.
  6. Navigate to the <drive:>\winnt\system32 folder.
  7. Rename Microsoft's NOTEPAD.EXE - NOTEPAD-ORG.EXE.
  8. Paste your new NOTEPAD.EXE into the folder.
  9. Navigate to the <drive:>\winnt folder.
  10. Rename Microsoft's NOTEPAD.EXE - NOTEPAD-ORG.EXE.
  11. Paste your new NOTEPAD.EXE into the folder.
  12. Windows will complain about your replacing system files.
  13. Click 'Cancel' (this will happen a couple of times).
  14. IE's 'View-Source' will now load web pages into EditPad Lite, not Notepad.

Microsoft zero, rest of the World, one.

 
+++ Profound Thinking +++
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
 

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Many users prefer to link directly to individual content pages on Web-Wise-Wizard. If you would like to do this then we have provided the following HTML/CSS link script which you can copy and paste directly into your HTML editor. Alternatively, you might like to use our New Dynamic Link Generator to create a link that more fully meets your own particular requirements.

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Web-Wise-Wizard - Professional HTML Editors HTML editor tips and recommendations from an experienced web developer. Learn the trick of replacing Windows NotePad so that when you 'View Source' in IE the web page is loaded into your own editor.

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