Developer

DIY: Six free web editors for coders

Komodo Edit, Bluefish, CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor, NetBeans, KompoZer, and Aptana Studio 3 make Jack Wallen's list of the best free web editors. Read overviews about each tool.

Even if your small shop's website is hand-coded, it doesn't mean the coding has to be done with a straight-up text editor. There are web editors built specifically for editing HTML, CSS, XML, etc. that can make a hand-coder's life much easier. These are the best graphical user interface (GUI) web editors I've found for businesses on a tight budget.

Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit might be the best XML editor on the planet. The open source editor works flawlessly with XML, and it offers numerous features for CSS PHP, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Perl, Tcl, XML, HTML 5, and CSS 3. Komodo Edit also has a great plugin system that adds features.

The one drawback to Komodo Edit is ads, which means you'll have to deal with some "What's new with ActiveState and Komodo" announcements. Don't worry, though, that pane can be minimized.

Komodo Edit is available for Linux, Windows, and OS X.

Komodo Edit

Bluefish

Whenever I need to manually edit HTML, I look to Bluefish first. You can get plenty of work done in a text-based editor (such as vi, gedit, or Kate), but why not use a tool that offers features such as: project support, multi-thread support, recursive file opening, snippets sidebar, integrated external components (make, lint, tidy, javac, etc.), unlimited undo/redo, inline spell checker, auto-recovery, upload/download sync, syntax highlighting, and code block folding.

Bluefish is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows.

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor is a full-featured web design system with built-in FTP uploading, table wizards, frames, popups, fonts, support for HTML5, and CSS3. The difference between the free version and the full-blown version is that the free version does not contain the visual editor.

CoffeeCup Free HTML Editor is available for Windows.

NetBeans

NetBeans has been a longtime favorite for many HTML coders. However, keep in mind that this powerful tool can be intimidating for new users. With bundled IDEs for Java SE, Java EE, C/C++, and PHP.

Netbeans is available for Windows, Linux, Solaris, and OS X.

KompoZer

KompoZer is a complete web authoring WYSIWYG system that combines a great visual editor and web file management tool into one product. Even folks without technical skills can build sites with KompoZer.

KompoZer is built around Geko, so the UI is about as simple as it can get. With KompoZer, anyone familiar with Dreamweaver will feel right at home. KompoZer's features include:

  • WYSIWYG editing.
  • Integrated FTP file management.
  • HTML code creation that works with all popular browsers.
  • The ability to jump between WYSIWYG Editing Mode and HTML using tabs.
  • Tabbed editing.
  • Support for forms, tables, and templates.

KompoZer is available for Linux, Windows and OS X.

KompoZer

Aptana Studio 3

If you develop more for JavaScript or other Internet-application building elements, then you might want to take a peek at Aptana Studio 3. This tool offers support for HTML 5, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and Ruby. Aptana Studio 3 takes this one step further by offering information on each web browser's support for each element. Aptana Studio 3 also includes a nifty deployment feature that allows you to deploy your code using FTP, SFTP, and FTPS either by full upload or by synchronized uploads. Aptana Studio 3 is free and is available for Linux, Windows, and OS X.

Aptana Studio 3

Conclusion

If none of these web editors suit your needs, you will most likely have to look beyond the "free" category. Unless, you're an absolute purist and only want to edit with vi or emacs. However, if you are using vi or emacs, you know you already have the definitive editor for every need.

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About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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