Ask Us Anything: 10 Answers to Your Questions about HTML Editors

HTML is one of the core technologies that power the web. It doesn’t matter if you are developing a simple website or an enterprise-grade web application, you will need to use HTML in some capacity.

Quite simply, HTML is necessary for everything from creating basic email templates and formatting blog posts to building complete application front ends.

That is why HTML editors are so important—they provide you with a user-friendly platform to make it all happen. In this post, let’s answer some of your pressing questions about HTML editors.

Ask Us Anything: 10 Answers to Your Questions about HTML Editors

1. What is the best HTML editor?

There is no such thing as the best HTML editor.  All HTML editors have advantages and disadvantages. Selecting the best HTML editor for you is entirely about your unique requirements and preferences.

There are many popular editor options on the market, however, and some are better than others. For an HTML editor to be well regarded by the web development community, it has to have the features developers need no matter what kind of HTML coding they are doing. Here are some of today’s market-leading HTML editors:

  • Froala
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Adobe Dreameviewer
  • CoffeeCup
  • Atom
  • Sublime Text
  • Notepad++

In addition to these editors, many professional integrated development environments (IDEs) like Visual Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, and Eclipse also have HTML editing capabilities, especially at the code level.

2. Which HTML editor should I choose?

Choosing the right editor comes down to your requirements. First of all, you should always consider what platform and hardware the editor you choose supports. Text-based HTML editors such as Visual Studio Code, Atom, and Sublime Text are cross-platform (Windows, Linux, and macOS compatible) and relatively lightweight. Notepad++ is a Windows application.

Adobe Dreamweaver, on the other hand, is a very resource-intensive tool with support for Windows and macOS. It is also one of the most feature-rich tools and integrates seamlessly into the wider Adobe Creative Cloud toolset. Compared to Dreamweaver, Froala and CoffeeCup are focused and lightweight HTML editors that offer you every HTML editing feature you actually need.

3. Does the HTML editor offer a free version?

Text-based HTML editors such as Visual Studio Code, Atom, Sublime Text, and Notepad++ are free, open-source tools that you can use on any number of machines and several platforms.

Adobe Dreamweaver, Froala, and CoffeeCup are proprietary paid solutions. They offer a limited free trial if you want to test them. Froala and CoffeeCup offer a free online HTML editor for quick HTML changes.

4. Why are text-based HTML editors different from WYSIWYG editors?

What you see is what you get, or WYSIWYG, editors offer a live preview of modifications you make to your web page or app. Using a WYSIWYG editor, you can easily visualize your final output as you go. In addition, WYSIWYG editors use drag-and-drop interfaces. This means you can quickly manipulate your HTML elements to create HTML interfaces without coding.

WYSIWYG editors provide a no-code development environment that gives you nearly the same control over your HTML elements as a purely code-based editor. WYSIWYG editors are excellent tools for both beginners and experts alike because the user experience is simple enough for beginners to use but rich enough in features to keep the pros happy. These features allow everyone to quickly build HTML. They also make WYSIWYG editors invaluable tools, especially in faster-paced development environments.

Text-based HTML editors, on the other hand, offer a code-centric development experience. They may have native live preview functionality, or support third-party extensions that do, but the live preview is not their main function. Text-based HTML editors focus on a code-based approach, which gives you more granular control over your code base.

Text-based HTML editors also come with features like syntax highlighting, autofill, and code linting to assist in development. Their users, however, need to be well versed in HTML to get excellent results.

Here is a breakdown of popular WYSIWYG and text-based HTML editors:

WYSIWYG editors Text-based HTML editors
Adobe Dreamweaver

Froala

CoffeeCup

Visual Studio Code

Atom

Sublime Text

Notepad++

5. What’s the difference between a free and a paid HTML editor?

It’s pretty simple—free versions usually offer limited functionality compared to their paid counterparts. Free trials also tend to expire after a set number of days or uses. When this happens, the editor generally becomes unusable or severely limited in its functionality. Paid versions, on the other hand, contain features unavailable in the free version. In most instances, this includes the advanced editing and team collaboration features you need in a professional development environment. Finally, free versions offer no support other than third-party resources like communities or forums, while paid versions include first-party vendor support on demand.

6. What are some differences between HTML editors?

VS Code, Atom, and Sublime Text are developer-focused code editors. You can extend them to support most programming languages. While these tools ship with a minimal feature set, they are customizable. For instance, you can quickly add HTML-focused extensions if you need pure HTML editor functionality. You can even configure them as complete IDEs. The main advantage of these editors is their ability to be configured to suit any development need.

Notepad++ is also a code editor but comes with all the features built in. You can install and start using it without any configuration. However, Notepad++ has limited extension support and cannot act as a complete IDE. It is a purpose-built code editor for making quick changes to files in your environment.

As a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, Dreamweaver provides the most feature-rich platform with support for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other web-based languages and standards. It supports both WYSIWYG editing as well as direct code editing.

Froala is a front-end WYSIWYG editor optimized for performance with a GZIP core of 50 KB, it loads in 40 ms, and it is compatible with Android and iOS devices. This tool also comes with rich-text-editing capabilities and the ability to edit code directly.

Finally, CoffeeCup is an advanced HTML editor that enables users to create and edit HTML interfaces. It also provides a complete component library and features like built-in templates to simplify the development experience.

7. What is Markdown?

Markdown is a lightweight markup language for creating formatted text using any editor. With Markdown, users create documents and automatically format documents in plain text.

Unlike other languages that require a specialized syntax, Markdown uses simpler characters like hashtags or asterisks to specify formatting. Markdown users create formatted HTML without writing any actual HTML. It is ideal for posting on websites without relying on HTML.

8. How will I know the right HTML editor for me?

While none of the tools mentioned above is a bad choice, it always comes down to your requirements. Go with a code editor like VS Code, Atom, or Sublime Text if you want a fully customizable experience and the ability to extend functionality beyond simple HTML editing. On the other hand, Notepad++ is perfect if you need to edit HTML occasionally and make some advanced changes.

Software like Adobe Dreamweaver, Froala, and CoffeeCup provides full-featured, web-development-focused WYSIWYG editors that you can code with as required. They should top your list for their versatility, especially if you are a web-focused user with web-based projects. Ultimately, any tool that provides all the features you need with no compromises is the ideal HTML editor for your needs.

9. Which is the best HTML editor for Android?

You can use DroidEdit and anWriter HTML editor for Android to edit HTML. Their functionality, however, is limited compared to desktop or web-based applications. Once again, your choice of HTML editor for Android boils down to your needs and preferences.  Instead, you can use a free online HTML editor to edit your HTML code so you can see what the end result will look like. Froala editor is optimized and compatible with mobile environments.

10. Is there anything else that would be helpful to know?

The web is not built with a single technology—it is an amalgamation of multiple technologies working together. Because of this, your editor needs to support core technologies and languages like CSS, JavaScript, and others. The more languages and platforms your editor supports, the more flexibility you have.

If you are developing applications, you also need to consider your back-end languages and the frameworks when selecting the HTML editor.

Next, you should explore all the additional features each HTML editor offers. Each editor may have similar core functionality but limited extensibility. As always, your final selection should come down to the features each tool offers to match your workflow.

For people working on code-intensive rather than design-focused projects, integrated development environments can also act as HTML editors. This is especially true where your code changes are technical rather than visual. You can have the best of both worlds by extending text-based HTML editors like VSCode to provide limited WYSIWYG capabilities and Markdown support. That said, you can do the same thing with Froala out of the box.

I hope I have answered all your questions about HTML editors and led you down the path to selecting the right HTML editor.

Ready to get started with a great editor right now?

Check out the Froala HTML editor today.

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