HTML documents are simple ASCII text files, which means you can use any minimal text editor to write them. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that make the process of generating HTML documents more quick and efficient. They fall into two main categories: HTML editors and WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) web authoring tools.
HTML editors are text editing tools designed especially for writing HTML. They require that you know how to compose HTML by hand; however, they save time by providing shortcuts for repetitive tasks like setting up documents, tables, or simply applying styles to text.
There are scores of simple HTML editors available, and many of them are free. Just enter "HTML Editor" in the search field of Shareware.com and wade through the results. For purposes of brevity, I'm going to cut to the chase.
WYSIWYG Authoring Tools
In the beginning, the goal was to spare authors from ever having to touch an HTML tag in the same way that page layout programs protect designers from typing out PostScript. Today, the role of WYSIWYG authoring tools has shifted towards making document production and site management more efficient and automated while still providing access to the HTML source.
Pros and cons
Many professional HTML coders shun web authoring tools, preferring the "pure" experience of creating HTML documents by hand using only a full-featured HTML editor. Others appreciate being spared the grunt work of typing every HTML tag and find the WYSIWYG environment useful for viewing the page and making design decisions on the fly.
If you do choose to use a web authoring tool, don't expect it to excuse you from learning HTML altogether. In many cases, you will need to do some manual fine-tuning to the resulting HTML code. There are a few pros and cons to authoring tools that you should consider.
The pros include:
But also keep in mind these cons:
Some available web authoring tools
The following is an introduction to a handful of the tools that are popular as of this writing (versions are omitted because of the speed of updates). All are available for Mac and Windows systems.
As of this writing, Dreamweaver has emerged as the industry-standard HTML authoring tool, due the fact that it produces the cleanest code of any of its competitors. It does not generate proprietary code and it will not change any code that you add. It is one of the most full-featured authoring tools on the market. It has a fairly steep learning curve.
Microsoft FrontPage (Windows only)
FrontPage is easy for beginners to learn and is popular with the business community. It offers wizards, themes, and tools that make web page creation easy for beginners. FrontPage 2000 won't mangle your code the way earlier versions did, which is good news, but it still produces code that many professional web authors consider to be unsatisfactory. Some
FrontPage functions are closely integrated with Microsoft's InternetInformation Server (IIS), so check with your hosting service for possible conflicts.
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Web Design Principles For Print Designers
A Beginners Guide To The Server
Printing From The Web
Structural Html Tags
Adding Images And Other Page Elements
Specifying Color In Html
Cascading Style Sheets
Server Side Includes
Designing Graphics With The Web Palette
Audio On The Web
Video On The Web
Flash And Shockwave
Introduction To Smil
Introduction To Dhtml
Introduction To Xml
Wap And Wml
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