WYSIWYG HTML Editors - HTML

Just as what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editors revolutionized word processing, WYSIWYG HTML editors have revolutionized Web publishing. Using such tools designers can design their pages visually and let the tools create the underlying HTML code. This section highlights the three most popular visual tools available for WYSIWYG editing.

Microsoft FrontPage
FrontPage is Microsoft’s Web editing tool. Although most of the Microsoft Office suite of programs can output HTML, FrontPage allows you to manage documents at the site level—creating a template design, navigation controls between pages, and more. Figure shows the main interface of FrontPage, and Figure shows the Web (site) view.

Earlier versions of FrontPage were known for creating non-standard HTML and catering to Microsoft Web extensions. Current versions are much better about adhering to standard code, though the program is still more feature-rich when used with other Microsoft technologies. Still, FrontPage makes a solid, economical choice for a WYSIWYG editor.

Note FrontPage is much more powerful when teamed with a Web server running Microsoft’s FrontPage extensions. If you use FrontPage, it is worth your time investigating running the extensions on your Web server.

Microsoft FrontPage is a visual editor for Web documents.

Microsoft FrontPage is a visual editor for Web documents.

FrontPage enables you to edit related documents as a site.

FrontPage enables you to edit related documents as a site.

You can learn more about FrontPage and download an evaluation copy from Microsoft’s FrontPage site.

NetObjects Fusion
NetObjects Fusion is another site-level design tool that offers WYSIWYG editing. The advantages of using NetObjects Fusion include easy management of entire sites, pixel-accurate designs, and a plethora of features that make publishing on the Web a breeze. Such features include the following:

  • Advanced scripting support
  • Automatic e-commerce catalog building
  • Enhanced photo gallery support
  • Hooks for including external pages and code
  • Incremental publishing capability
  • Flexible meta tag management
  • Powerful, full-site management tools

Note NetObjects Fusion should not be confused with Macromedia’s ColdFusion product. The former is owned by Website Pros and is a WYSIWYG Web editor. The latter is owned by Macromedia and is a database integration tool for the Web. In the latter you can easily create, delete, and move pages around your site—NetObjects Fusion will automatically adjust all links, navigation bars, and other references between the pages.

Besides the visual tools, NetObjects Fusion provides many ways to customize the actual code behind the documents, as well. You can learn more about NetObjects Fusion.

Macromedia Dreamweaver
The king of all Web document editing programs is currently Macromedia Dreamweaver. Combining the best visual and nonvisual editing tools with several development features, Dreamweaver is the most feature-rich program covered here. Dreamweaver provides as much or as little automation during creation of new documents as you would like. You can create the entire site in text mode, editing HTML code directly. Alternatively, you can use the WYSIWYG design editor to create your documents visually.

NetObjects Fusion provides a good framework for designing pages visually.

NetObjects Fusion provides a good framework for designing pages visually.

However, the feature-rich nature of Dreamweaver comes at a price—it is easily the most complicated program covered in this chapter. The learning curve for Dreamweaver can be quite steep, even to create simple sites. However, once you get used to Dreamweaver, it is easy to appreciate its powerful features. You can learn more about Dreamweaver


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