We all make mistakes, and that also applies to writing code. But whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned vet, making an error in your code can cause you a real headache. As we use all kinds of tools to help us with simple tasks, such as spellcheck for writing, an HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) editor is no different. HTML editors have a lot of features behind them, and we will be covering that and much more when we look at the list of the best HTML editors.
What is an HTML Editor?
In hindsight, an HTML editor is used to write the foundation of a website. And while any text editor can do the job, it doesn’t mean you have to do it without any help at all. Added functionality, error checking and all around a more intuitive editor is something that can ease your life significantly. The very fundamentals of HTML editors are the same; they help you write code by highlighting syntaxes, insert commonly used HTML elements and structures as well as providing autocompletion.
When should you use an HTML Editor?
To put it simply, always! An HTML editor is invaluable for both beginners and more advanced developers. We already mentioned the basic features of HTML editors, like syntax highlighting, inserting common HTML elements and autocompletion. All this makes sure that your code is kept functional and clean with less effort, thus makes it significantly easier to do what you do best – code.
For example, the editor will notify you should you forget to put the end tag </ in a code element. Therefore you should not limit yourself by not using some sort of HTML editor.
There are two types of editors available, WYSIWYG and textual HTML editors. Let’s start by talking about the first type.
Textual HTML vs. WYSIWYG Editors
WYSIWYG is the acronym for What You See Is What You Get. These editors provide an editing interface which shows how the code looks on a working web page. Using WYSIWYG editors does not require any HTML knowledge; therefore it is much easier to get started for an inexperienced user with no coding experience whatsoever.
Textual HTML editor
As the name implies, textual HTML editors are text-based. You should have HTML knowledge when using these types of editors. Features include opening files — either a single file, a whole project or multiple projects are universally available for all editors. When using a textual based editor, you can’t see a live preview of the site.
This type of editor may provide more freedom and personalized options. Using a textual editor, you may better optimize web pages for search engines. For example, it’s possible to create a web page that follows the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), so that people with disabilities can view your web page.
Best HTML Editors
Since we discussed what is an HTML editor and when to use one we can finally sink our teeth into the actual editors themselves and pick the best HTML editor.
We all have different tastes, and when it comes to choosing a platform for our work, where we will spend a lot of time on, it’s important to pick one that best suits us. Each editor has the same basic features. However, some provide more visual representation than others, more additional packages to install and so on. Let’s get the list of the best HTML editors list started!
Atom is a relatively new editor that came out in 2014 and gained tremendous momentum since. Atom is a free, open-source code editor, it was developed by the GitHub team. Atom uses a free software license for their package and it is maintained by the GitHub community. They aim to offer a premium feel to the editor while keeping it completely free. As well as flexibility to customize the software itself.
As for the tagline, they boast as the most hackable text editor of the 21st century. It means that developers can contribute to edit, extend, change, and share the program source code as well as create their own packeges to improve Atom.
Let’s review the key features of Atom.
- Atom comes with 81 built-in packages and you can add up to 7,500 additional installable packages. You can also develop your own package.
- Open Source Text Editor. The entire Atom editor is a free and open source program and is available at GitHub.
- Atom supports Teletype. It is an important feature if you want to do a collaboration with other developers in real-time.
- Supports multiple panes. Atom can split the interface into many windows so you can compare and write code side by side.
Atom offers a slick design with a premium look to it.
Why developers love Atom
- Customizable. Atom is very easy to customize, tweak how the interface looks and add other essential features. You can also build packages and themes from scratch. Or, simply install pre-made packages and themes from the community.
- Atom in Dev Mode. You can experiment by adding features to the core system.
- Git and GitHub integration.
- Cross-platform editing. Atom works across all operating systems.
Available for: Windows, OS X, and Linux (64-bit).
2. Notepad ++
Notepad++ is an editor that was developed for Windows-based machines. Linux users can also use it via Wine. This editor is distributed as free software and its repository is also available in GitHub. Like other community projects, third-party plugins are supported.
Notepad++ distinguishes itself for its simplicity. Notepad++ is super lightweight; there’s even a mobile version if you fancy it. Here are some highlights:
- Notepad++ interface is simple, lightweight, and fast.
- It supports multi-language coding environment, from ActionScript, CSS, to visual basic.
- 100% compatibility with Windows, although other OSs are not supported (without additional software).
Why developers love Notepad++
- It’s completely free.
- Extendable – you can add plugins from the community or create your own.
- Customizable – developers can personalize the features and interface to their preference.
Notepad++ interface is minimalist, but developers can customize it.
Available for: Windows and Linux (via Wine)
3. Sublime Text
Sublime is another excellent HTML editor. Developed by a Sydney-based company, this software falls under the category of freemium. Freemium means that you can use Sublime for free, but you have to buy a license to enjoy the full features.
Sublime offers great support to ensure that the program is constantly updated. Users can add plugins made by the community or build their own. We think using the free version of Sublime is more than adequate. However, if you feel like you need more features, you can get the license at a later point.
- Sublime supports Python API that allows the plugin to expand its default functionality.
- Simultaneous editing. You can make changes to many selected areas at the same time.
- Cross-platform. Sublime is available in Windows, OS X, and Linux. Developers only need one license to use Sublime on any computers they own.
Why developers love Sublime Text
- Powerful API and package ecosystem. Sublime provides thousands of packages that are available and built by the community. These packages are open-source.
- Split editing. Developers can use multiple monitors and edit different types of code simultaneously.
- Go to Anything. This feature is useful to open the files with a few keystrokes, to search for symbols, lines, or words.
Sublime Text interface is excellent in terms of aesthetics.
Available for: Windows, OS X, and Linux (32/64 bit).
Developed and managed by tech giant Adobe Inc, Adobe Dreamweaver CC is a premium, powerful, and versatile tool. It caters for both the back-end and front-end development. As a closed-source software, Dreamweaver is designed to work within the Adobe ecosystem. Adobe also provides support, plugins, and features to make sure you will always code seamlessly.
Dreamweaver is one of the editors that support both textual and WYSIWYG methods. So, you choose whether you want to code with a live visual presentation or go the classical way.
- Dreamweaver allows you to write code in any major programming language.
- Supports textual and WYSIWYG editor modes.
- Fully integrated with the Adobe software ecosystem.
- Awesome performance and support from Adobe Inc.
Why developers love Adobe Dreamweaver CC
- Code and preview. This way developers can code while previewing the end product.
- Confirm the code and page accessibility. This feature can ease the developers to follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
- Access to creative cloud libraries. Premium access to the abundant supply of assets in the Adobe ecosystem. From colors, words, graphics, layers, characters, and much more.
Dreamweaver has that high-class premium look, with a stunning aesthetic and design. After all, it’s made by Adobe, a respected company in the creative industry.
Available for: Windows and OS X
Getting a helping hand to write code faster and more efficiently is becoming a must, now more than ever. Whether you just started coding or you’re a seasoned vet, we believe that an HTML editor can become anyone’s best friend. Features aside, picking the best HTML editor that suits you might be hard. We encourage you to experiment with different editors and choose one that fits your style and workflow best.
We would also note that unless you need 24/7 support and manage code for a huge company, you will probably be fine with a free editor.