First Programming Tools, Part 2

Dennis Faas's picture

In Part 1 we talked about some general purpose text editors. All good tools and you really should have one on hand for use.

But, since we're thinking of writing HTML code, why not use a Web Page Editor? These editors are designed specifically to make web page development easier. Some of them even provide a browser function that allows you to write a little and then look at it as though you were using your web browser with out loading it. There are a lot of them available, some are quite expensive and have a learning curve (time to learn) that is really long before you become proficient. I have tried out a lot of these things and I've come up with a list of programs that do the job easily and support the process of developing web pages fully and won't cost you except for learning time.

The first is AlleyCode. This editor comes with a tutorial that will actually end up with you writing a web page. It even teaches web page essentials. It will support developing the full range of coding types that are used in web page/site development.


HTML-kit is another interesting editor that has a wide array of plug-ins. There are CSS style formatters, html page refinements, code verifiers, and lots of other nice tools that are supported by the editor (hence the name 'kit').


NVU is the last editor for now. For those of you who run Linux, Mac OS X, and/or Windows, this is a full featured product that does everything the others will and deserves a good look.

NVU (In-View)

Each editor in this group approaches the task of web development slightly differently. They all handle the process of development nicely and cost nothing (Free Software) so you should be able to grab your copy of each of them and find the one you really like.

Don't get the idea that these editors aren't for prime time usage. They truly are. They are full featured and well able to be used to develop an entire Web Site, from CSS and XML code, to DHTML and HTML, writing JavaScript, Java, and PHP.

These are not all the downloadable Web Page Editors that are available, but they do have features that will help the beginner as well as support the experienced developer. Take a look and see what you find. You'll be glad you did.

One last point I should make is to be sure and get one editor of each type I list. Why, You'll need the HTML editor for working on Web Pages. That's obvious. But for other things and other languages, the first type of editor will prove to be more than a little useful. I've used editors for a very long time in my personal career. Some of them costing hundreds of dollars (considering that you get them with a Main Frame Operating System) and I will happily guarantee you, a flat file editor like Crimson or ConTEXT will become a mainstay of your programming tool set. You'll wind up using them for years and be happy with them. Especially because of the cost of all of these editors are FREE for the download. And if the programmers that write these tools ask you to contribute to their wallet to cover their time and effort, do so, knowing you're getting a finely crafted tool that will be there when you need it.

Doug Godbey

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