Choosing an HTML editor is not a brain teaser. But it is important. An HTML editor is basically a program that lets you edit HTML (and other web languages) in plain text so that they can be interpreted by a web browser. Basically, an HTML editor is your ticket to creating content for the web. It’s also a powerful tool. With an editor you can build just about any kind of website you can imagine. And most of the best HTML editors are free. But, if you want premium features, and fewer hours spent on personal configuration, you have some attractive options as well.
- What Is An HTML Editor?
- Best Free HTML Editors
- Best Premium HTML Editor
What Is An HTML Editor?
What Should You Expect From Any HTML Editor?
At the bare minimum, there are a few features you should demand from any HTML editor. And the good news is most HTML editors provide these basic features:
- Actual plain text
- It might seem unlikely, but there are some editors out there that don’t let you get your hands on the code itself, but instead use an interface that edits the code for you. Use plain text.
- Syntax highlighting
- To make your code more easily readable for humans (including yourself).
- Code completion
- Coding HTML requires a lot of tedious repetition of various tags and syntax constructs, so (for beginners especially) a little auto completion goes a long way and helps save you from extra typing and user error.
Best Free HTML Editors
The best free HTML editors here are ordered not by quality but by long term viability. As you try different editors you’ll notice some have features you like that are not available in other editors. For example, there might be a feature you like in Sublime that’s not available in Atom. Conversely, Atom might give you something that Sublime does not. It’s not sustainable to try to use multiple editors.
So as you go through this list, know that as you proceed down this list, all of the features you like in Sublime, Atom, and Microsoft Visual Studio Code, can be implemented or, at least emulated, in the more advanced editors toward the bottom — Vim and Emacs.
Atom, similarly to Sublime, provides the basic set of code conveniences, including syntax highlighting and code completion. Likewise, Atom plugins can be installed right from within the main interface — which is a nice option to have if just want to quickly try out extra features.
Microsoft Visual Studio Code
Microsoft Visual Studio Code is more than a text editor, it is a fully “integrated development environment.” What does that mean? An integrated development environment (IDE) attempts to brings a full suite of software tools together in one master application. So for example, you have all the standard coding features like syntax highlighting, code completion, and you get bundled with that support for debugging, version control, deployment, shell, and much more. The main difference between Microsoft VSC and other IDEs is the price: VSC is free.
You likely already have Vim installed in your computer. Unlike all of the other applications you have read about so far, Vim is a terminal-based editor. There are GUI-like versions of Vim you can try out, but the preferred way of getting to know Vim is to open your terminal emulator and run through the Vim tutor. Type “vimtutor” on a command line and then when Vim takes over the screen you can type “:help” and hit Enter.
Vim is highly customizable, which is why its many dedicated users recommend it. Just about anything you can imagine with text manipulation can be accomplished with Vim.
Like Vim, Emacs is highly extensible. Emacs has different “modes” for different types of text. Like other editors mentioned above, Emacs can detect if you are editing an HTML file, and it will jump into a special editing mode designed just for editing HTML files. For the most complete web editing package, with support for the all languages mentioned above, you should check out the
Best Premium HTML Editor
Departing from the world of free editors, there are premium options available. The primary benefit in premium editors is longevity. Paying for a software project is one of the best ways — though certainly not a guarantee — that the software will continue to be developed and updated long into the future. All of the other text editors in this article are maintained by volunteers.
|Editor||Price per user (1st year)||2nd year||3rd year|
Adobe Dreamweaver contiues to be popular year after year, and maintain a loyal following. At $20/month, Dreamweaver provides you with a different experience compared to all of the other editors mentioned above. Instead of editing code directly, Dreamweaver provides you with a drag and drop graphical user interface (GUI). If this is the way you would prefer to work, then Dreamweaver may be the best choice for you. If you are comfortable using tools like Photoshop, Dreamweaver provides a similar user experience.
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