Tuesday, March 23, 2010

HTML Editors for Beginners

In about two weeks, I'll begin teaching an HTML class and I'll need a good HTML editor with syntax highlighting. I need something cross platform as I know that most students will be using Windows and at least one will be using a MAC. I, of course, will be using Linux. I prefer using vim.

Vim is great as I can run it at the command line, in a GUI (gvim) and on any OS you can think of. Within vim you can activate html syntax highlighting by simply typing:

:set syntax=html

That will add html syntax highlighting for only that session of vim. You will need to add "syntax on" in your .vimrc file for highlighting to be permanent.

Now as much as I love vim, I'm not going to have my students use it. This is an HTML class for the absolute beginner and introducing vim to the class is a hurdle I don't want to jump over. So, I'm leaning towards having my students use bluefish. Bluefish has several cool features including running on all three major platforms.

Any other suggestions for an HTML editor for beginners? What features do you like? What are your thoughts regarding bluefish?


glamux said...

Cream. Then, if anyone wants to, they can learn Vim's real interface.

Jake T said...

I tried installing Bluefish on Windows (at work) the other day.

It bombed out when it tried to download GTK. I didn't bother trying to troubleshoot it--maybe it's b/c we're behind a proxy? I dunno.

In any case, it never installed.

Jared said...

Cream is a good idea.

I had no problems installing bluefish on a Windows partition. GTK installed fine.

Laurent Duperval said...

Kompozer: http://www.kompozer.net/ might be useful if you're looking for WYSIWYGness

hilltop_yodeler said...

I agree with Laurent that KompoZer (http://www.kompozer.net) is the way to go if you are looking for a good cross-platform WYSIWYG html IDE tool.

If you are looking to only work from code view (like with Bluefish), why not just use a text editor that supports syntax highlighting (such as Gedit) and have your Windows-using students use Notepad++. Notepad++ is a fantastic IDE and it supports syntax highlighting for a number of different languages. (http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/uk/site.htm)

Incidentally, my favorite IDE for Linux is Geany. (http://www.geany.org/)

Jared said...

I really like kompozer and have used it personally in the past, but I really want the students to learn the code. Using a WYSIWYG editor I feel would defeat the purpose of the course.

I have looked at Notepad++ and it looks pretty decent. It also seems to run well in wine. I'll definitely consider it.

I've never used geany, but it looks pretty powerful.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Billy said...

quanta is good too

Jake said...

I'm a big Geany fan, myself - It's cross-platform, and doesn't do too much to get in my way code-wise. It does have some features (tag completion, so you don't have to type out the whole closing tag) that might bother you if you're a purist, but it's become my editor of choice.

Sorry for the late response - just reading through my planet feeds! :)

Anonymous said...

I have had a few min play with Quanta and I liked it a lot. I remember finding a KDE project of getting KDE on windows which might be of interest. It was on the KDE website.

Notepad++ is the best text editor. Geany comes close but it is missing a few features that Notepad++ has. I started with PSpad which has a very helpful feature when beginning website design. You press a hotkey and get a dialogue box for current tag which gives you combo box's of parameters for that tag.

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