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(X)HTML, XML, PHP, and other Web design editors

HTML, XHTML, XML, PHP, js,... it's all just text files, so really, you could use any text editor, including the various software I mention in the "text editors" page. Editors listed here have special tools designed to assist you in writing web pages, testing and validating code, etc. making it much easier to work.

There are so many editors one could get lost. Worse, they are so many good ones making a selection is kind of hard, but anyway, the software below are pretty cool.

There are basically 2 types: Code editors and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). A WYSIWYG editor is much like a Word processor, except that, well, it doesn't always work as you expect, so you better know your code too. Still they are very useful tools.

Most of these are free, but a few are not. Prices are given "for information only". I do not own or sell these software, so make sure you get the latest data from the relevant companies by checking directly on their websites.

HTML-kit
Editor Rating: 8/10 - Highly recommended!
User Rating: 7/10 (8 votes)
 
Where to start? HTML-kit (free version) is an awesome (X)HTML editor. Interface may look a little old, but the features are great. Can open several files in Tabs and supports customizeable syntax highlighting as expected. Includes very, very comprehensive toolbars (tabbed too) where you can easily get the code for images, links, tables, styles, headers...just about any HTML tag you want. You can download and install extra toolbars to expand the functionalities (like PHP, MySql, Java script... code, batch actions, code clean up), or even create your own customized ones. You can create shortcuts to insert text/code. A simple use could be assigning "Alt+p" to insert an opening/closing "p" tag around a selection or around the cursor, but you could get really fancy and assign a larger code block that you use often (like a complete div with attributes, class and js code) to a shortcut. HTML-Kit also support templates, internal and external preview, FTP... On the downside, user interface looks old (Commercial version looks real cool, but I am talking about the freeware), it doesn't really support unicode (small unicode pop-up editor with little functionalities) and file management functions are weak. PHP syntax highlighting could be better - can't highlight variables, and doesn't show code blocks. Nevertheless HTML-Kit remains an excellent HTML editor and I strongly recommend you get a copy.
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Max HTML Beauty 2004
Editor Rating: 7/10 - Recommended!
User Rating: 2/10 (2 votes)
 
They say it is "The best freeware HTML editor in the world". Nah, not quite but still a great one. It's got a little bit less flexibility than HTML-Kit in that you can't really customize it al that much. On the other end, the existing list of tags is good, the file management system is OK, there is support for right click tag editing, PHP highlighting is better, it can match starting and ending brackets and even has a gif optimizer included. Crazy detail, it looks like there is no wordwrap. Probably must be an option somewhere I haven't found. Can't a good software like this one would miss something this obvious, but still, where the heck is it? Anyway, if you have to work with Max HTML Beauty, My bet is, you'd be just fine.
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License: Freeware | Price: FREE
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PHP designer
Editor Rating: 7/10
User Rating: 2/10 (1 votes)
 
User interface is clean and current. There are a lot of nice skins. This may not sound like much but when you work for a long period, you kind of enjoy having something nice to look at. It supports multiple syntax highlighting, templates, internal and external preview of course and it also has a decent file manager. For PHP, you can indicate the path to your testing server and run the code in the preview windows or in the external browsers. You can highlight the line you are working with. Small things like that makes it a tool pleasant to work with. Another really cool feature, a ToDo manager. It's a little weak on the code insertion side however. Really, you are gonna have to type most of the code, which is a shame.
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License: Freeware | Price: FREE
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Flash Develop
Editor Rating: 6/10
User Rating: Unavailable (0 votes)
 
User interface is clean as well. I wouldn't recommend coding HTML in there because there isn't anything much to help you on that. On the other end, it has some really cool features when it comes to code. You can hide irrelevant code blocks, and immediately see what's part of what. It offers a clean view for XML files as well. A good place to open a buggy file and find out what's wrong.
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License: Freeware | Price: FREE
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Dreamweaver
Editor Rating: 9/10
User Rating: 5/10 (3 votes)
 
If there was an industry standard, that would be it. A WYSIWYG editor so good you could be forgiven to think you are working in a word processor with a normal text document. Handles pretty much everything you can think of and more, including testing server for php, amazing file management, syntax highlighting in code view (of course), css editing, flash, php, custom js code for all common tasks, event handlers for different browsers... the thing even updates your links automatically when you rename a page! It also contains code reference from O'Reilly for HTML, CSS, Java Script and a few others). Really, you will have a hard time finding something that can't be done with Dreamweaver. On the downside...400 bucks is 400 bucks, man!
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NVU
Editor Rating: 7/10
User Rating: 8/10 (1 votes)
 
This is open source "answer to Dreamweaver", or so they say. Linux fans will tell you it replaces it. Nonsense. NVU is a toy, compared to Dreamweaver. Not even close. However, it should be said that few HTML WYSIWYG editors wouldn't look like toys next to Dreamweaver. NVU is a very decent free WYSIWYG HTML editor. You can use it very much like a wordprocessor too, and as a translator, if you don't know much about HTML and need to translate relatively simple files, you could just open them in NVU and translate your heart's content. It shouldn't damage the code. (I say "simple" not because NVU can't handle complex files. It can. However if you don't know much HTML you really shouldn't take on complex files). NVU has a file/project manager, supports templates, integrate a css editor, and supports unicode languages. Don't get me wrong, this is definitely a good piece of software and it's free.
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License: Freeware | Price: Free
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Please contact me if you wish to suggest another tool in this section. I would be particularly interested to hear about free XML editors.