Web Tips for Webzine Editors and Writers #2: Software, Part 2

The delay in the second part in this series is due to my hesitance in deciding my approach to how web content is made available. Much of how web content today is written, posted, and managed has shifted since I started making websites. This post will deal with the more traditional and still widely practiced method of web content generation: writing pages in a text or web editor to be directly uploaded to a webserver.

This change that I mentioned was caused by the development of content management systems (CMS), web applications used to write and publish web content. The advent of CMS software has paved the way for individuals less skilled with programming to be able to produce highly customized and complex websites or to post information on existing sites like social networks. Because of their importance in modern web development, CMS applications will be given their own post.

Web Page Creation

Web pages must be in a format that can be translated by a web browser into a layout that can be viewed by a user. These pages are written in markup languages such as the ubiquitously used HTML or the new standard, XHTML. There are many other languages that can be incorporated into pages to make websites more dynamic and interactive, and they will be covered in later posts.

To create a file in one of these formats, all that is absolutely necessary is a simple text editor, which is typically provided with the operating system of any computer (ie. Microsoft notepad or Apple textedit). However, using one of these programs can be extremely difficult for novices and even tedious for experts. For this reason many web developers use specialized software.

Web editors

Web editors are advanced text editors that contain additional features specific for creating web pages. Simple web editors, such as jEdit, have few features such as color coding programming tags, but can be used for multiple languages. These simple programs are best suited towards programmers with advanced knowledge in writing code.

However, there are other programs intended for ease of use. What-you-see-is-what-you-get or WYSIWYG editors allow for users to create pages in an interactive layout format, and the software creates the necessary markup script. These programs also allow for direct editing of the code for any necessary tweaking.

WYSIWYG editors are especially useful for less experience web content creators because learning a programming language is not necessary. However, it is strongly recommended, as an editor’s internal layout format may not match that of the many available web browsers.

Another type of web editor is an integrated development environment (IDE). These programs can be used in conjunction with advanced programming languages (ie. Javascript, PHP, PERL) and can range in functionality from simple to WYSIWYG as well as include features such as debugging.

How much do these programs cost?

There are many web editors available free of charge that are competitive with their proprietary counter parts. Below are lists of a few that have been recommended to me. There are many more available online with many different features, so it is best to search for what best suits a developers needs.

Simple Editors

~Casey Seda

$0 Bluefish Windows, Mac, Linux, and more
$0 jEdit Windows, Mac, Linux


$0 Kompozer Windows, Mac, Linux
$0 Mozilla Seamonkey Windows, Mac, Linux
$0 W3 Amaya Windows, Mac, Linux
>$499 Adobe Dreamweaver Windows, Mac
>$99 Coffee Cup Windows


$0 Eclipse Windows, Mac, Linux
$0 NetBeans Windows, Mac, Linux

The next post will be dedicated to the applications used to upload files to the internet.

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