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Which HTML Editor

 

Should I use Word Pad, Front Page, Dreamweaver or some other editor?

Introduction

The editor that you use will depend on a lot of factors (e.g. easy to learn vs advanced features, small projects vs large vs very large projects, digging into the code vs abstract from the code). To really get the right answer, you will need to do some research and Google does a great job of finding this sort of information. This page offers a basic overview that just might help you make up your mind. A Web Monkey link is furnished at the bottom of the page.

 

Word Pad

Editors such as Word Pad are for editing unformatted text such as raw HTML code. HTML classes at the local high school or college should start out with teaching you how to build a simple web page with nothing but a text editor. And Google can help you find a lot of websites that feature the basics of HTML code editing.

There is nothing wrong with starting a church website with a simple one page presentation with basic information that people will be looking for. A simple static site (e.g. address, directions, phone number, meeting times) is much better than a large site that does not work well and/or has a calendar and other information that is months and even years out of date. Starting out simple can be a very good idea.

 

Microsoft Word


Word is capable of exporting HTML code that is ok to pass out among friends. I have edited in Word a few times, followed by a major clean up effort. Your church or ministry site will be visited by a growing number of people with a variety of browsers. Word does not produce the necessary caliber of code to be taken public. Do not use Word for your church or ministry web pages. It is ok for people to submit content to you in Word as long as somebody (e.g. you) does the conversion to proper HTML.

 

Power Point

Read the previous paragraph about Word and don't use Power Point as a web page editor. Power Point can still be very useful for drafting a website's graphic design (professional website designers will be horrified with this comment).

 

FrontPage

This is perhaps the most popular WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) web page editor. Both Word and FrontPage are Microsoft products such that their user interfaces have a lot in common. Many professional website designers use FrontPage for sites that are optimized to sell products (e.g. graphically simple, fast loading).

I frequently hear people say that FrontPage interjects a lot of bad code. This was especially true of the oldest versions which were very messy. The more recent versions, especially starting with 2002, do a clean job. The messy code argument is out of date.  FrontPage offers a lot of features that work with Internet Explorer and don't work with Netscape and other browsers. In many cases these other browsers simply ignore the code. For example, I can insert a horizontal line and color it bright red. Netscape will render the line in gray where I.E. paints it red. I highly recommend using FrontPage as long as you learn which features to ignore for the sake of browser compatibility. You can tell FrontPage to restrict it's menus to features that most browsers can handle. It is highly recommended that you do so.

 

DreamWeaver

This is the preferred WYSIWYG tool for a lot of professional website designers. It is not as intuitively similar to Word as is Front Page. It has more advanced features which take a bit more learning. It is also a better choice than FrontPage for those who like to dig into the HTML code along side the WYSIWYG. It is better suited for developing very large websites. It is the advanced professional's choice. DreamWeaver also make Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) easier to work with.

 

Shootouts & Showdowns

FrontPage vs DreamWeaver Showdown