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Free/Cheap/Good HTML Editor, Is There Such a Thing?

For the past few years I've been using Frontpage 2003 for basic HTML work, usually to write content for SQLServerCentral. Let's me use a decent UI for most of the stuff, it it looks wrong I can easily switch and tweak the HTML. Not recommending it for advanced design work, just saying for vanilla HTML it works pretty well and the big advantage is the HTML is clean. I'd rather just use Word, but I've never been able to learn whatever magic is needed to get Word to save plain, ordinary HTML.

Steve Jones recommended EditPlus, but I found it pretty sparse. Just because I know the basic HTML tags doesn't mean I want to type them (reminds me of WordPerfect users). I've tried a few and so far NVU has been the best of the bunch, but still feels not quite right. Visual Studio actually has a very nice HTML editor complete with intellisense for styles, but I don't really want to load VS on my laptop just to use it for an editor! Turns out that even with the bare bones VS IDE that gets installed with SQL 2005 you can use it to create and edit basic HTML, minus the intellisense and it's clunky when it comes to hyperlinking text. I definitely don't need the power of Expression or similar.

Why give up on Frontpage? It doesn't cost me anything, falling within our licenses, just felt like with a new laptop maybe time to stop using a tool with "2003" in it's name, meaning it was written some time prior to that. It's just an exercise, but a frustrating one! Maybe I'm just not looking in the right place, or so used to the Frontpage tools I can't get comfortable elsewhere? Fixing Word to save clean HTML seems optimal, anyone figure it out? I'd rather not code it.



I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by Bill Graziano on 29 October 2008

I was fighting the exact same problems.  I finally decided to use Expression Web and have been very happy with it.  It's a good clean editor.  I don't think the install is that big either.

Posted by Ken Tucker on 29 October 2008

Visual Web Developer express has a pretty good html editor and it is free

Posted by Phil Factor on 29 October 2008

I use TopStyle to design my stylesheets and fiddle with the difficult stuff and use FrontPage 2003 for the wordsmithing chore. Frontpage is fine as a WSYWYG but its' HTML editing is pants. TopStyle does that very well.

Andrew and Chris do all the setting of the Simple-Talk articles in FrontPage.  

Posted by Andy Warren on 30 October 2008

I'll ok at EW and VWD...in a Virtual PC session first! Phil, I don't think I've ever seen TopStyle so that's worth a look just on that basis, and good to know I'm not the only one using Frontpage.


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