Simple, online HTML editor?
April 4, 2006 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Is there such thing as an application I can install on a client's web server that will allow him to edit certain HTML documents and save them?

I've designed a website for someone, and he'd like to be able to edit the content easily. The editable areas of his site are pieces of HTML embedded into the layout via PHP (so as not to overwhelm him with the code of an entire page, he only has to deal with some <p> tags). I like the editing sections of WordPress and MovableType, but that's overkill -- I don't need a full-blown CMS or Blogging tool. Just an editor.

It would be great if there was an app I could install on his server that could list these files, allow him to make changes, and save them.
And as a bonus, maybe allow him to upload some image files.

He's not adverse to using FTP, but I figured I could make it as easy as possible for him to edit things on the fly.
posted by Robot Johnny to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Oh, and of course -- free would be best!
posted by Robot Johnny at 11:07 AM on April 4, 2006

Check out these javascript HTML editors. They run in the browser, but can edit files on the server. Takes some setup/embedding in a php script on your end to set up:



There are some other ones as well that I'm sure google would turn up.
posted by gus at 11:31 AM on April 4, 2006

We wrestled with this question for years and when Macromedia Contribute came out, it really did seem like the best solution at the time. It ain't free, but for a hundred bucks, he'll get full styling and really, really easy uploading (or 'publishing', if you will).

You can set up templates, and editable/non-editable reigons, and all sorts of good stuff. Its been very successful with our techno-phobic authors. Good luck.
posted by gemini at 11:32 AM on April 4, 2006

With the right FTP client and text editor, you can double-click a file in the FTP file listing to open it directly in the editor, and every time you hit "Save" in the editor it will be re-uploaded.

Some text editors also have FTP built in, but I've always preferred the former approach. Either way, I'm always appalled when I see people who are still using the "go into the FTP client, download, go into the editor, edit the local copy, go into the FTP client, upload" method.

One advantage to going the desktop-app route as opposed to giving him some sort of web interface is that he'll be able to use an editor with syntax highlighting for the HTML code, which makes it a lot easier to edit if you're working with straight HTML. (Although the editors linked by gus give you WYSIWYG editing, which may or may not be preferable.)
posted by staggernation at 11:39 AM on April 4, 2006

Macromedia Contribute will work magic for this guy.
posted by rlef98 at 12:13 PM on April 4, 2006

Another vote for Contribute.
  1. Browse to the page (Contribute has a built-in browser)
  2. Click the Edit Page button
  3. Edit the page
  4. Click the Publish button
Contribute gets the file from the server via FTP in step 2 and puts it back in step 4, but it's all in the background and your client doesn't even have to know what "FTP" is.

The built-in browser does a pretty good job at displaying CSS layouts, and it's super-easy. If you're using Dreamweaver, you can lock down the layout and only let the client edit certain areas of the page.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:21 PM on April 4, 2006

p.s. Contribute also uploads images, and you can specify where the files go on the server.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:22 PM on April 4, 2006

I'd also strongly recommend keeping the client away from your (layout) code. Maybe instead of them editing blocks of content inline, they could edit files to be php-included?

If you change your mind about the CMS, Textpattern's worth a shot - it's very easy to make old pages dynamic, without re-writing their layout, or learning some specific template format.
posted by unmake at 2:56 PM on April 4, 2006

unmake, I mention in the question that he'll be editing content-only files to be php-included.

Thanks for the suggestions, folks. Contribute looks cool, but a bit rich for this project. I think I'll just stick with a text-editor with FTP capabilities as staggernation suggests. It was my original thought, but was hoping to keep my guy entirely in his browser. He knows enough simple HTML to not be scared off by this option.
posted by Robot Johnny at 6:47 PM on April 4, 2006

One of the options (disclaimer, I work with the MT team) is that in Movable Type you can customize the posting screens using these instructions or these examples, and just hide all the complexity you don't want them to deal with. Works just fine with the free version.
posted by anildash at 12:59 AM on April 5, 2006

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