HTML editors: 14 HTML editors in the test

HTML editors make working with HTML codes easier by providing a clear design and bundled functions. There are many powerful text editors for HTML, but which are the best? We present the top 14 HTML editors with all their strengths and weaknesses.

What is an editor in HTML?

The HTML programming language is the first step in creating and structuring your own website. Together with CSS and JavaScript, learning HTML is the basis of coding online content for many programmers. If you want to create HTML codes efficiently and without much effort, there’s no getting around HTML editors. These are helpful when it comes to creating new HTML pages, page elements, or themes and plugins, for example.

What HTML editors are there?

First of all, a distinction must be made between online HTML editors, WYSIWYG editors and HTML editors as software. With an online HTML editors, HTML documents and codes can be created and exported online directly in the browser. WYSIWYG editors, on the other hand, use HTML only indirectly, as the code is created in the background, while users without HTML knowledge use an optical construction kit to design web pages. However, HTML editors that can be installed as software on the PC or laptop are really efficient for creating HTML documents. The functions that a good editor should offer include:

  • Auto-completion/suggestion of HTML commands.
  • Syntax highlighting/color marking
  • Auto-save
  • Search/replace
  • Version control features
  • Simultaneous code editing
  • FTP support
  • Live error checking
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An overview of the best HTML editors

Notepad++

The Windows classic among the editors for HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript with numerous other code languages. Notepad++ stands for lean design with fast loading times and efficient resource consumption. Important features include syntax highlighting, auto-completion, simultaneous programming, split-screen, a macro recorder for command automation, drag-and-drop and search-and-replace. As an open-source tool, numerous plugins are available to add to the editor as needed.

Pros: An effective, flexibly extensible editor, with everything it takes to program and develop in all common programming languages and scripts for free.

Cons: For an efficient, free HTML editor, there are no disadvantages worth mentioning.

NoteTab

Similar to Notepad++, the Swiss HTML editor NoteTab is also one of the classics. Harvard and MIT rely on the award-winning software. The pure editor for Windows supports HTML, XML, PHP, and JavaScript and enables lean programming without bells and whistles including FTP client and Bootstrap integration. The free version unfortunately lacks familiar basic features such as highlighting, code libraries, and templates. These are included in the paid version (about 40 dollars). A big plus: Even the current version is still backward compatible all the way to Windows XP.

Pros: Powerful HTML editor that offers all major editor features in the paid version.

Cons: Important features are not available in the free version.

CoffeeCup

As a pure code editor, CoffeeCup is a good choice if you want to create websites or page elements in HTML, JavaScript, or CSS. CoffeeCup also serves as a markdown editor with its simplified Markdown markup language, which requires no HTML knowledge. While the free, slim version is suitable for website projects and HTML codes, the software only unfolds its full potential in the paid variant (from 29 US dollars). In addition to syntax highlighting and auto-completion, there’s a library for code snippets, compatibility checking with older browsers (via JavaScripts and polyfills), error and code cleanup, a simulated browser, and font and media integration.

Pros: Sleek, easy-to-use interface with lots of features, suitable for HTML beginners and pros alike.

Cons: Limited free features, and currently only for Windows (as of 2021).

Visual Studio Code

The free HTML editor from Microsoft (for Windows, macOS, and Linux) is one of the most popular editors among developers. On the one hand, this is due to flexible extension options, with which the chic user interface can be adapted to one’s own needs. On the other hand, it offers four-weekly updates that also incorporate suggestions from the active VS Code community. The editor eliminates the need for additional tools by supporting HTML, CSS, PHP, and JavaScript. Its key capabilities include auto-completion, syntax highlighting version control (Git/GitHub) and FTP functions. In addition, there are helpful tutorials for users.

Pros: A flexible, free HTML user interface that has all the major code features, is easy to extend and offers an active community.

Cons: No disadvantages worth mentioning.

Atom

The free Atom HTML editor is also available for Windows, macOS, and Linux and comes from the developer platform GitHub. It has a modular design and is thus flexibly extendable. Open source extensions are available as required as packages and supplement the robust editor core with further features. These include the expansion to an integrated development environment (IDE) and the integration of any code languages through language features. On top of that, you get support Git/GitHub version control, one of the largest developer communities in the world (GitHub), open source code, and real-time coding enabling effective collaboration. It also has all the major HTML editing features and is even compatible with many third-party themes and plugins.

Pros: Sleek, flexible extensible editor that offers one of the largest web development communities, many extensions, and powerful real-time coding.

Cons: No disadvantages worth mentioning.

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Sublime Text 3

Apart from the powerful program core and support for various markup and code languages, the editor for Windows, macOS, and Linux has an impressive range of extensions and a large plugin library. Extensions can be conveniently installed via Packet Manager and the user interface can be customized as needed via a JSON file. With the clear interface you can define the required syntax, use code highlighting and code preview, search for commands, replace code components and make programming efficient through divided tasks. Important tutorials and comprehensive documentation are also available for beginners.

Pros: On-demand extensible editor for various code languages with a large plugin library.

Cons: The full feature set is only available in the paid version (about $80).

Android Studio

As a free IDE, Android Studio from Google is ideal for developing and programming Android software on Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS. It primarily supports app programming for Android, Android TV, and Android Wear. Thanks to integrated Gradle-based build management automation tool, developers use optimization for different mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Programs can also be emulated directly in target devices for easy testing. In addition, there is a theme editor, open source code, and integration with Google services and frameworks.

Pros: Practical, free editor for Android software, with mobile optimization as well as preview and integration of Google services.

Cons: No disadvantages worth mentioning.

Brackets

Brackets is a free, open-source HTML editor from Adobe Systems. It supports Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems and focuses particularly on the development of web projects. The important programming languages HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are included. Numerous functions can also be added through extensions. New features are added almost monthly. Highlights include a live preview, fast editing (also with LESS and SCSS), reading/extracting PSD design data as CSS code via Adobe Creative Cloud Extract, extracting layers as images and full preprocessor support.

Pros: A simple, versatile, web-focused editor that offers WYSIWYG-like functionality via live preview and satisfies professionals thanks to extensions and Adobe Creative Cloud Extract.

Cons: Live preview only works with Google Chrome.

CotEditor

A handy text editor for the Mac, but without a lot of bells and whistles and similar to Notepad++? That’s exactly what the free, open-source CotEditor is. The OS X editor offers syntax highlighting for 40 code languages, autocomplete, split editor for split programming, search and replace code components, and eight themes.

Pros: Simple open-source text editor for macOS with important basic functions that are absolutely sufficient for occasional programming.

Cons: Suitable for basic programming and development, possibly too rudimentary for comprehensive and elaborate projects.

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Bluefish

Bluefish is a free open source editor and supports over 30 programming and code languages. It runs on most operating systems that support a POSIX interface (Windows, macOS from 2.0, Linux, Unix) and is characterized in particular by practical shortcut functions for code creation. Using the quick start menu, PHP forms can be created quickly or SQL queries can be executed. All important editor functions such as syntax highlighting, error corrections, search-and-replace, automatic indentation and FTP support are included.

Pros: Handy open-source development and project management tool that offers 17 languages and many supported programming languages.

Cons: The user interface is a bit outdated and can seem cluttered.

Komodo Edit

Komodo Edit is the slimmed-down version of the Komodo IDE development environment and proves to be a comfortable, multilingual HTML editor, including HTML, PHP, CSS, Python and JavaScript, which runs on common operating systems. In addition to standard features such as auto-completion and highlighting, the editor offers a code snippet toolbox and project management.

Pros: Efficient tool with standard features, pleasant user interface and compact set of functions.

Cons: The free editor is suitable for simple code development, but overall has limited features.

Vim

A further development of the modal Vi editor, Vim proves to be a complex open-source tool for Linux, macOS, and Windows with many useful and extensible features such as syntax highlighting (depending on the code language, for around 500 languages), auto-completion, split screens and tab arrangement, auto-correction, and Blowfish encryption. Vim is also popular with purists, as navigation is almost entirely keyboard-driven when needed. Comprehensive Vim documentation also helps in finding solutions and getting familiar with the program.

Pros: A compact editor with different modes of operation that allows fast editing of code and is especially suitable for occasional use.

Cons: Requires a longer learning/familiarization period and is ideally used with prior knowledge of code terminology and programming experience.

WeBuilder

The fee-based WeBuilder is a compact, streamlined editor that offers HTML and CSS as well as many other scripting languages. The mandatory features of a powerful editor are also included: Autocomplete, code folding and validation, FTP support, search-and-replace, a code snippet library, a project management, and clever extras like the commands Convert HTML to PHP or Convert Style Blocks (transfer CSS statements to stylesheet). Those who are still beginners with CSS can also rely on the CSS wizard.

Pros: A strong editor with all the major standard web editor features and a focus on HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript.

Cons: One-time fee of about $60 for features that free editors also offer.

PSPad

The Windows editor PSPad is not only free, but can also be used quite comfortably without installation. As script languages HTML, PHP, C++, SQL, ASP as well as Perl and Visual Basic are available. The user interface is simple and clear. Strengths include FTP support for direct online programming, a macro editor, project management and other standard features such as auto-completion, parallel editing of codes, syntax highlighting and auto-correction.

Pros: An editor that provides all the important functions for effective programming as a free all-round package.

Cons: Only available for Windows.


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