There are many reasons to create a website and even more tools to do it. It doesn’t matter if you’re building a personal blog or a website for your business, knowing a little HTML coding won’t hurt you.
There are tools out there to help you build beautiful, well-functioning websites with minimal coding abilities. And of course, it’s essential to use the best HTML editor for you, utilizing it in the best way possible.
HTML editors come in handy when developing a website. You can, of course, use something like a Windows Notepad, but why make your life harder? HTML editors auto-complete text, provide syntax highlighting, and syntax correction. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
The many features offered by HTML editors will highly increase your productivity while coding. HTML editors give plenty of excellent features to make coding more comfortable for both new developers and ace-coders.
You probably already somewhat understand the need for an HTML editor but might have questions. After all, there are a lot of options for you to explore. So let’s dive in and talk a little about what an HTML editor does, why use it and what is the best HTML editor to work with.
What is an HTML Editor?
HTML helps you create stunning, well-functioning sites, but it is a lot of work and can be complicated and draining. Well, HTML editors are designed for the sole purpose of making developers’ lives easier.
To make it short – an HTML editor is a tool specialized for developers. It tracks code and helps correct any mistakes in it. It can be a part of an IDE (integrated development environment), which is a sort of toolbox for developers, or can be a single tool for HTML editing.
Using an HTML editor will ensure that your code is correct and works well. Don’t worry and rest knowing that even the most skilled and experienced people can key in a typo and mess up hours worth of coding.
The most basic features that HTML editors provide are syntax highlighting and auto-completion. This alone makes coding much more accessible. But most HTML editors have loads more to offer. From WYSIWYG to textual HTML editors, the variety of tools is enormous, and features will take away a lot of pressure from working with code.
Why should you use an HTML Editor?
For writers, there are loads of useful tools to correct both grammar and style errors. The great thing is that the same goes for developers. An HTML editor to web developers is what Grammarly is to writers – it corrects their work, takes away the burden of proofreading everything yourself and helps to get the best results.
It’s a real pain to write hundreds of lines of code by hand, only to launch your product and see it malfunction. Luckily, the days of checking your code manually are behind us. HTML editors are very helpful when it comes to creating a website and coding as these editors are built to do the checking for you.
HTML editors make reading and writing code a million times easier. So using it is a no-brainer. Well, unless you’re up for a challenge and truly enjoy writing and correcting code yourself, with no help from outside tools.
Textual HTML vs. WYSIWYG Editors
What You See Is What You Get – pretty self-explanatory, right? With WYSIWYG editors, you have a live preview of your website while coding. It allows its users to scan their code and see what the appropriate syntax for their desired design is. This is super useful and gives you more creative control, especially when you’re only starting.
While a textual HTML allows you to edit the code directly, it has no visual preview. This way of coding is harder to master and is more often than not used by highly experienced developers. It gives a more in-depth control and understanding of the code, thus, giving the user more control over their website. Textual HTML editors allow developers to fix mistakes that occur when working with WYSIWYG.
So, while a WYSIWYG editor is easier to use, it also has some flaws in the control of the code itself. A textual HTML editor is a bit more complicated and difficult to use. But it is more accurate and provides you with a better understanding of your code and much more control of the finished website.
Best Free HTML Editors
So, now we know what an HTML editor is, what it does and why you should use it. But with the many options to choose from, it can get a bit overwhelming. Our list of the best HTML editors:
In the short four years of being created, Atom managed to become one of the most popular HTML editors out there. Produced by GitHub, Atom is a cross-platform HTML editor. It’s filled to the brim with helpful and easy to use functions that will make coding a pleasure and not a burden.
Atom is entirely open source and completely free. Using both for newbie developers and outright professionals is easy. Atom, of course, provides its users with basic features like syntax correction and syntax highlighting, auto-completion, project management, etc. But Atom doesn’t use features in the traditional sense.
There are over 7,500 installable packages and thousands of themes for users to choose from. Customize Atom as you wish, installing features you need and use the most. The easy to use design is created to appeal both to developers who are only starting out, and those who have been coding for a while and know what they are doing.
Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux
2. Notepad ++
Notepad ++ is a fast working, foolproof and time-tested HTML editor, that is used by millions worldwide. It is a free source code editor, and that supports a wide range of languages, not only HTML and CSS.
This HTML editor has gained wide popularity amongst developers, because of the broad choice of features. It has syntax highlighting and syntax folding, document map, multi-view, fully customizable GUI, multi-document interface, bookmarks, auto-completion and many more features to help out with your work.
What’s also cool about Notepad++ is that the company tries to reduce carbon dioxide emission. It uses less CPU power, reducing power consumption, thus helping create a greener environment. So if you’re an environmentally conscious developer, Notepad++ could be a great choice.
Available for: Windows
CoffeeCup is a free HTML editor that made web design available for everyone – regardless of their coding experience. Thousands of developers use this HTML editor. It’s available for both HTML and CSS files.
At first glance, CoffeeCup might seem complicated and a bit old school, but it’s effortless and comfortable to use. Key features include click preview, code completion, split-screen preview, a workflow for Structured Data and much more.
One of the best features CoffeeCup has is the components library. When developing a website, you might want to keep some elements adhesive. With the components library, you can save a coded element and use it whenever needed. If you want to update it – you can edit it straight in the library. This is a significant time saver for developers.
CoffeeCup has both a free and paid version. You can read about the differences here.
Available on: Windows
4. Aptana Studio
Aptana Studio is not your regular HTML editor. This is a full-blown IDE (integrated development environment), which allows you to explore loads of useful features. It’s also free and open source. It enables you to edit your IDE: with a large number of themes and plug-ins, you can design the perfect work tool.
It also has a great debugger, which will help you deal with all sorts of bugs in your code.
Available on: Windows, MacOS, Linux
It’s handy while developing web, mobile, and desktop applications. With this free HTML editor, you will be able to build robust products of your choice.
With the broad selection of tools, you’ll be able to code stress-free. NetBeans offers you all the needed features to write bug-free code. It will help you code fast and smart and efficiently manage your projects.
What makes NetBeans unique, is its support for Apache Maven. NetBeans is also highly configurable so that you can adapt it for your needs.
Available on: Windows, Linux, MacOS
Developed and released in 2012 by Adobe, Brackets is one of the most popular free HTML editors out there. It is a free, open source HTML editor, that is loved by many developers worldwide.
Brackets is a modern textual editor, with focused visual tools. One of the essential features that Bracket offers is undoubtedly the live preview – you can open a new browser window and see what changes you’ve made in code. It’s handy for new developers, as you can immediately see what your final product looks like.
Some of the aspects of using Brackets might be not so beginner friendly. But experienced developers with have no problem navigating and using this HTML editor.
Available on: MacOS, Windows, Linux
7. Komodo Edit
Komodo Edit is the free version of the Komodo IDE (integrated development environment). It is a powerful, yet very simple to use HTML editor. It is an advanced editor that makes coding fast, smart and fun.
Komodo Edit has a preview feature, but it’s not live. This means you much save each edit and manually go through the menu to see your preview. This HTML editor provides graphical debugging, code intelligence to fix mistakes, loads of add-on and customizable options quickly.
Komodo Edit has all the usual key features, is relatively easy to use and is beginner friendly.
Available on: Windows 7, MacOS, Linux
Whether you’re only starting to code, or you’re an experienced developer, using an HTML editor is a good idea. With the security and ease of mind provided by HTML editors, coding will be much more comfortable, faster and fun.
The only way to find out which is the best HTML editor for you is to try using them! Every developer has a different coding speed, level, and preference. So trying out different HTML editors, their features and infrastructures, is the only way to fully grasp which HTML editor is most suitable for your needs.
So pick one (or a couple), install it and get coding!