HTML editor
December 18, 2003 11:01 PM   Subscribe

What's the best code-centric, css-aware HTML editor, or failing that, what's your favorite, and why? [more inside]

I've never been fond of WYSIWYG HTML editors, and although I've tried Dreamweaver trials every time there was a new rev released, it never did it for me.

I'm fond of Topstyle at the moment, and I end up using Notepad a lot of the time (I know there would have been at least one joker to pop up with "Notepad!" if I didn't mention that). I've tried Homesite, and didn't like the interface. Are there any other good ones out there that I might not have seen yet?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken to Computers & Internet (40 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
BBEdit! best evar!
posted by rhyax at 11:10 PM on December 18, 2003

TopStyle is my favorite. My supplemental editor is NoteTab Pro.
posted by xyzzy at 11:16 PM on December 18, 2003

homesite. i live and breathe it :)
posted by poopy at 11:50 PM on December 18, 2003

I've used both homesite and bbedit extensively and homesite is superior but unavailable for mac so i'm stuck with bbedit. I assume you're on PC? There's also Hot Dog Pro, though I can't vouch for it and tucows lists these.
posted by dobbs at 11:59 PM on December 18, 2003

I've been using TextPad for awhile, but is want HTML shortcuts, et cetera, HTML-kit is awesome.
posted by j.edwards at 12:05 AM on December 19, 2003

stavros, you have to give homesite a chance, or at the very least, simply hang out with a homesite user for a few minutes to see how they work. It took me a while to get into it, but now I won't drop it from my cold dead hands.

Actually, it's a good excercise for any software, even software you know -- find an expert in it and ask them to describe how and why they set up their environment just so, and how they typically use it to do work.
posted by mathowie at 12:36 AM on December 19, 2003

That's good advice, Matt, but the only people I could potentially actually ask about it 'round these parts, if I could find any, wouldn't be able to tell me about it in English. D'oh!

Maybe I'll give Homesite another was written by Nick Bradbury, the same person who did Topstyle (and the very snazzy Feeddemon), wasn't it?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:36 AM on December 19, 2003

I *definately* prefer EditPlus 2.

No, really. Try it.
posted by armoured-ant at 1:46 AM on December 19, 2003

it was written by Nick Bradbury, the same person who did Topstyle (and the very snazzy Feeddemon), wasn't it?

Yep, Nick wrote them all. The thing that keeps homesite a killer app for me is all the autocomplete and quick right-click features. I write code pretty much by hand, but being able to right click and edit 5 properties of an element saves a ton of time. No matter how hard I try, I can't tweak out BBEdit on my mac to work half as quickly with HTML files. Plus all the custom button stuff in Homesitemeans I can have keystroke and button shortcuts to all the repetitive code I don't have to enter by hand. Homesite saves me tons of time over other text editors.
posted by mathowie at 1:49 AM on December 19, 2003

Dreamweaver is good for sorting out tables if you have a boss who seems intent on insane layouts.

For everything else I used to use Homesite, but it was getting too slow on my Computer. I've just switched to Edit Plus and think it's the dogs danglies.

"I liked it so much I bought copies for the whole company..."

posted by twine42 at 2:00 AM on December 19, 2003

Homesite if it's purely for client-side, but recently, more often than not, it's Visual Studio for both client and server-side (yeah, I'm one of those MS aberrees ...burn him!). Technobitching aside, you've got to hand it to MS - their IDEs are their greatest strength, in my opinion.

But here's a supplimentary question, if I may: If I'm knocking something out in a hurry as a prototype, I'll usually use Homesite, version 4, specifically, just because it's what I've got. I see they're up to 5.5 now. Anything amazing in the newer version that makes it a compelling upgrade?
posted by normy at 2:04 AM on December 19, 2003

preHTML looks interesting. It's a client-side editor / preprocessor. Not much by way of on-screen formatting, but if you need generic menus across a site, and you don't want to use php / asp, it may be what you're looking for.
posted by seanyboy at 2:47 AM on December 19, 2003

I second the nomination of BBEdit, but I've been using SubEthaEdit a bit recently too, and find its relative lack of features seem to make me work a lot quicker, on little projects anyway. And, of course, it has all those collaborative editing features built in for when you get stuck and need a hand.
posted by jack_mo at 2:55 AM on December 19, 2003

I've been using Metapad for years; basically an improved version of Notepad. No syntax highlighting though, if you need that sort of thing.
posted by milov at 3:17 AM on December 19, 2003

As an editor, I find NEdit is great.
posted by thebabelfish at 3:59 AM on December 19, 2003

I have a tendency to use SimpleText for anything under 35k and then HTML Creator for anything bigger.

I do use Dreamweaver on occasion, but it irks me with its CSS-usage. It's only really great if you have a heck of a lot of tables to put in.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:04 AM on December 19, 2003

BBedit does not suck. It is the Lord's own text editor. It has built in macros for HTML and CSS, and you can write your own if the ones that ship with it aren't enough. I love this editor. Of course, you need a Mac for it.

Sans Mac, I prefer a good text editor. UltraEdit and TextPad are both good if you're stuck in Windowsland.

I haven't used Homesite, but from what people have written here I might give it a go - my next job is going to force me back to a Windows desktop again.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 4:16 AM on December 19, 2003

Anything amazing in the newer version that makes it a compelling upgrade?

Dunno about 5.5, but 5.0 does have a few new features. Which aren't coming to mind quickly. Basically, the one thing I love about it over 4.x is there are now two folder panes in the left-hand panel. Doesn't seem like much, but if you work on multiple servers or drives, it makes things faster. I imagine some of the XHTML support is better, but I never really noticed.

Consider this another vote for HomeSite. I work in it at least 8 hours a day and can't work without it now. Heck, I even dropped $99 for my own version at home. I tried to pimp out HTML Kit to get the same feature set, but never could.
posted by yerfatma at 4:20 AM on December 19, 2003

i_am_joe's_spleen, you can write your own macros in HomeSite using JavaScript. I have it so damn automated my hands actually form the button press combos when I talk to other developers about inserting a snippet of code.

Re: the time of my last post: timezone preference doesn't seem to apply to AskMeFi and to that I say, "Duuude."
posted by yerfatma at 4:24 AM on December 19, 2003

I started coding everything in notepad. Then learned to really hate Cafe during my Java days. Loved Hot Dog during the dot com ramp up. Lots of poking at Visual Studio now and then.

But for many years now I've been joined at the hip to Homesite. I'd be interested in what you don't like about it. It does so much and is so customizable that it seems like a no-brainer to me. Being able to customize the interface is one of the strong points. And of course TopStyle is bundle in.

I don't know of a compelling reason to move from version 4 to 5.5. But I did have some ftp problems that I couldn't fix without the upgrade.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:02 AM on December 19, 2003

Count me in as another vote for Homesite, although I had to use Dreamweaver MX at my previous job, and I use that in Code mode a heck of a lot nowadays, too.
posted by cheaily at 5:32 AM on December 19, 2003

I'm perfectly happy with vim, which offers a lot of customizations and extensions for handling various file types, but vi-like editors have been known to turn some people off.
posted by majick at 5:54 AM on December 19, 2003

Oh! I also seem to remember playing with some HTML and XML tools while fooling around with Eclipse, but that was a while ago. I can't imagine it wouldn't have a decent set of HTML tools.
posted by majick at 5:57 AM on December 19, 2003

I love BBEdit (and others do too), but when I've had to work on a Windows machine in the past I loved Homesite too.

For me, the single most important feature when working with files hosted on remote servers (which is pretty much always) is good FTP support: the ability to open files from a server directly into the editor, and when you hit Save, they get re-uploaded transparently. If anyone's still using the "save and drag" approach to editing remote files, you should consider stopping that.
posted by staggernation at 6:14 AM on December 19, 2003

Working under Windows, I use EmEditor, which has gorgeous syntax highlighting, and also highlights inline CSS (which is a nice touch). When working under Linux, it's NEdit all the way.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:20 AM on December 19, 2003

I write code pretty much by hand, but being able to right click and edit 5 properties of an element saves a ton of time. No matter how hard I try, I can't tweak out BBEdit on my mac to work half as quickly with HTML files.

Matt, do you have a two-button mouse on your Mac? Just curious.
posted by staggernation at 6:21 AM on December 19, 2003

I was a big homesite fan but now that I've switched over to TopStyle Pro I will never go back to that thing.
posted by Mick at 7:27 AM on December 19, 2003

I love BBEdit and like HomeSite quite a bit. Dreamweaver MX is good, but it doesn't handle CSS-positioned layouts very well. Dreamweaver MX 2004 is supposed to be better with CSS. Oh, and Dreamweaver's interface is XML and JavaScript, so you can customize it.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:39 AM on December 19, 2003

If it's not emacs, it's crap :)

Seriously, though. Never having to move my hands from the home row thoroughly rocks.
posted by bshort at 8:56 AM on December 19, 2003

Well, y'all got me curious, but upon a quick glance it doesn't look like Homesite is really suited for PHP development. Mark up another vote for EditPlus2, the little text editor that could!
posted by jess at 9:07 AM on December 19, 2003

I personally use Crimson Editor for just about everything. Lightweight and tweakable to your hearts content. Fab.
posted by Mossy at 9:55 AM on December 19, 2003

HomeSite works just fine for PHP. There's syntax highlighting. Not much else though and no tag insight, but if you look around, someone probably has written a plug-in.

And if you find it, let me know.
posted by yerfatma at 9:59 AM on December 19, 2003

No love for UltraEdit? I ignored it the first twelve times I went searching for a better editor because I couldn't get past the product pages and it looked too freaking geeky for a dolt like me to set up. Somehow I screwed up my courage to try it and find I like it quite a bit. Especially after I added a button to force UNIX line endings.
posted by cairnish at 10:02 AM on December 19, 2003

Sub-question if I may. For the products that include integrated FTP, are any of them secure (SFTP)?
posted by cairnish at 10:10 AM on December 19, 2003

Daring Fireball has tips on PHP Syntax Checking in BBEdit.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:29 AM on December 19, 2003

cairnish, BBEdit 7.1 does SFTP.

On Windows, you might try a bridge.
posted by staggernation at 10:33 AM on December 19, 2003

I didn't know about bridges - thanks. I guess I currently use sort of a variation on a bridge: filezilla as an sftp client, with ultra-edit specified as its default editor.
posted by cairnish at 10:45 AM on December 19, 2003

vim, because it was the editor I used when first learning to build webpages, and it lets be work at the level I genuinely enjoy being at when hacking on HTML. I don't need no steeenkin mouse. :wq
posted by Voivod at 1:26 PM on December 19, 2003

Just a quick followup to Mossy's recommendation of Crimson: It tends to barf on filenames with spaces in the path: trying to open a file called "C:\Program Files\Rockstar Games\GTA Vice City\Handling.cfg" will result in an error, empty tabs for each of "Program" "Files" "Rockstar" etc., and half the time won't actually load the file. Not a problem if you don't use spaces in your paths, but it seems a bit daft for a program designed for recent Windows versions.

On the other hand, it has got some cool interface ideas. In particular, it will remember which files you have loaded in which tab, and reload them again each time you start the program--super handy for multi-file projects.
posted by arto at 4:22 AM on December 20, 2003

Weird. Works fine on the latest version.
posted by Mossy at 2:20 PM on December 22, 2003

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