So you want to create a web site? Great idea! There are few things in this world
as satisfying as creating a good web site and having other people look at it, comment
on it and like it.
You have many choices in the tools that you use to perform this act of creation. If
you already know HTML or if you are a "purist", you can just use the simplest, most basic
program of all - Notepad. In fact, many webmasters do just that, and many of the best
looking web sites are created completely by hand with no help at all from any other tool.
Some of the editors that I have used over the years are listed below, with a few
brief comments about each. There are many other editors on the market, some good, some bad.
Notepad [Free with operating system]
Many people just use Notepad to edit their HTML files. What is Notepad? It's the
text editing program that comes with all versions of Windows. Notepad is extremely
simple, which more or less means you get to do everything (and I mean everything) by
hand. Personally, I like to use Notepad occasionally to make quick and dirty edits to
my web site when Dreamweaver or Frontpage 2000 won't do the job.
NoteTab Light [Freeware]
NoteTab Light is a replacement for Notepad which is intended to include some
extensions to make editing HTML easier. It's simple and easy to use, but not extraordinarily powerful.
This is an excellent HTML editor with many features. If you like editing HTML and
don't really want a WYSIWYG interface, then this is probably the editor for you.
Highly recommended. By the way, this product is "care ware", meaning if you keep it
you must "care" for a short time.
NoteTab Pro [Shareware - inexpensive]
This is a very powerful and cheap HTML editor. It has a dictionary, clipart, a handy
global-replacement feature and lots of other things to help make the webmaster's life easier.
FrontPage 2000 [Very expensive]
If you just want to get your site up and running in the minimum amount of time
and don't want to bother learning HTML, then FrontPage 2000 is the editor for you.
This editor has just about everything you could ever want, including full WYSIWYG
support, dynamic HTML, forms and so on. On the downside, FrontPage 2000 does not
support CGI, SSI or PHP at all - in fact, if your site uses CGI then you will not
be able to use FrontPage 2000's upload capabilities.
Use caution when choosing this editor - while it's great for getting a site up fast,
it can be very frustrating for more advanced users, and if you take advantage of
the templates you will certainly be labeled an amateur. Also, using any FrontPage
special features such as forms requires that your web host have FrontPage extensions
installed, which limits your choice of providers.
FrontPage XP [Very expensive]
This is a product which I cannot recommend. Frontpage 2000 was tolerable,
FrontPage XP is simply bulky and awkward. I would say Microsoft has made a large
step backwards with this product. Out of everything on this list, this is probably
the only editor which I would state is not recommended for any application.
Dreamweaver [Very expensive]
Another good choice is Dreamweaver, which in many ways is the best editor of them
all (at least so far). You can actually combine the two (Frontpage and Dreamweaver)
to take advantage of the best features of each product. This is fairly expensive,
however. On the downside, Dreamweaver has a very high learning curve for most users
and it can be cumbersome to perform simple tasks.
Out of all of these editors, probably the most useful all-around program is
Arachnophilia. Simple to learn, easy to use, quick to get things up and running.
Dreamweaver is highly recommended if you want a WYSIWYG editor, although it can be
a difficult program to learn. FrontPage 2000 is acceptable, but stay away from any
extensions, templates or special features.
Richard Lowe Jr. is the webmaster of Internet Tips And Secrets at
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