Web authoring system
- 1 Definition
- 2 List of editing software
- 3 Useful browser extensions and browser tools
- 4 Software of particular interest to education
- 5 Links
A web authoring system is software to produce web contents. They range from simple HTML editors to fairly sophisticated integrated development environments. Today, a lot of web contents are not produced with web authoring systems, but with portalware of various kinds (and that include learning management systems. In other words, you don't necessarily need a web authoring tool for producing web contents.
See also: Text editor (for more technically minded people)
2 List of editing software
Specific tools for web programming are not included here.
2.1 Free structure editors
There are dozens of available systems. They usually offer support for editing HTML and CSS. Some also support scripting languages. We don't have time to evaluate these. You should look out for features like:
- Syntax high-lighting
- Code formatting
- Code completion
See also XML editors to edit XHTML, SVG etc.
Daniel K. Schneider can recommend these systems, i.e. they do a job, but prefers to use a programming editor, e.g. (X)Emacs.
2.2 Cheap structure editors
For the Mac:
2.3 Programmer's editors with HTML support
Programming editors also offer support to a wide ranger of other languages. Other than that, they should be no different to structure editors.
There are lots of text editors with HTML support, e.g.
- Notepad++ (Windows)
- Lightweight and easy to use, does good syntax highlightning but no indentation
- Has a rather large library of plugins.
- PSPad (Windows).
- Lightweight and easy to use, does syntax highlighting, but no indentation (too bad !)
- Only thing you need to know is: "CTRL-space" will open a popup for contextual code completion
- (X)Emacs (Most systems, that's what I prefer, but young people have trouble with this.)
- JEdit (Most systems)
- This is a more complex editor than PSPad or similar, ok for programmers.
- BBEdit (commercial) is popular with Mac users. The free TextWrangler has some HTML support.
- Aptana (Mac)
See the text editor article for more information about text editors.
2.4 Free HTML WYSIWYG Editors
- Kompozer (formerly NVU). A fairly nice editor, HTML4 and XHTML only (!). Good for beginners.
- Mozilla SeaMonkey Suite (a followup from the earlier Mozilla browser that includes a navigator, includes a composer and an email client). HTML4 only ?
- Amaya, The W3C sponsored test browser and editor.
- BlueGriffon HTML 5 editor
Wikipedia has a list of some Free HTML editors
2.5 Through the web editors
2.6 Commercial Mid or High End tools
- Microsoft FrontPage
- GoLive is a dead product since April 2008. See Dreamweaver.
- Dreamweaver (Adobe's flagship web authoring tool, students can get substantial discounts).
- Espresso by MacRabbit. A lean but yet powerful tool.
2.7 Other editing software
- Some word processors like Adobe FrameMaker can be configured for single source HTML/XML/PDF production.
- Word can export HTML (although the code is pretty non-standard and may require cleanup)
- Open Office
- Presentation software can export to HTMLweb authoring
See also document standard, since one can produce HTML from any reasonably well defined document format.
3 Useful browser extensions and browser tools
Many authoring tools don't provide you with enough information about what you are doing.
(1) Browser extensions, in particular for Firefox, can help. E.g. if you develop web page, Web Developer is a must have.
- Read more in the browser extension article !
(2) Most modern browser also include built-in development tools. For the moment, read:
- 25 Secrets of the Browser Developer Tools by Andy Smith, nov 2011.
- A Re-introduction to the Chrome Developer Tools by Paul Irish, May 2011.
4 Software of particular interest to education
These systems offer additional functionality, e.g. can export to IMS Content Packaging.
- Adobe Dreamweaver (with the free CourseBuilder extension, iff still available)
- Free stand-alone
- Free server-based
- Docendo (a free server-based solution to produce SCORM 1.2 packs or HTML zip files, needs a JAVA servlet engine such as Tomcat)
- Free HTML Editors, Web Editors, and WYSIWYG Web Editors and Site Builders
- Sourceforge search for HTML + Editor
- Browser tools