EW3 - Editor Wars v.3 EDITOR WARS

Comparative HTML Editor Reviews, v.3


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In a nutshell: Stay away from the code, lose control over results.


WYSIWYG Editors claim to do something which is, in fact, impossible.

Since every browser displays pages in a slightly different manner, the representation of the page as displayed in the browser will never correlate precisely with the way it looked in the HTML editor.

The advantage is that instead of entering <p></p> to create a new paragraph, the user simply presses the Return key on the keyboard - voilá. The disadvantage being that the code is no longer under the user's complete control, but depends of the editor's understanding of HTML instead.

If the Editor doesn't understand some code the user has entered by hand, it will usually either "correct" the code to what it considers to be proper HTML or delete the offending code. Often, if the user has entered Perl code or some other valid markup which is unknown by the Editor, this code will be garbled / destroyed by the editor.

Essentially, you trade control for comfort.

Pros and Cons

In the worst case, these provide you a word-processor-like WYSIWYG interface for creating web pages, but their HTML output is horrendous, biased towards one of the big browsers and bulky to boot.

In the best case, they either let you work directly with the code or edit the page using a good approximation of what the page will look like in current browsers.



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  Terms used.    



DTD (Document Type Definition) - The DTD establishes the kind of document contained in the file. It is an SGML definition neccessary, among other things, for online HTML validators to work properly.

Inspector - floating toolbars and dialog boxes which can remain open even when working in another window.

MDI (Multiple Document Interface) - An interface style where several documents are contained inside a common main window. Alt-Tab or Ctrl-F6 switches between windows.

Site Management - Initially, when a home page only encompasses a single HTML document or half-a-dozen pages, it is easy to manage the links and images contained therein. Once you reach critical mass, which starts with a dozen pages, every time you add or move a page, the links on the other pages must usually be updated. Site management functionality assists the user in updating the pages by checking links, providing a visual map of the files contained in a site and changing references when a file is moved.

Validation - Checking whether the HTML code written is fully compliant, i.e. whether it contains any structural errors. Erroneous code can cause browsers to crash or display pages incorrectly. Usually, errors are returned in a log file. There are both online and offline HTML validators.

Wizard - Like the wizard of Oz, "Wizards" aren't magic. They merely provide assistance through a series of queries prompting the user for information on what they want to achieve.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) - When applied to HTML, WYSIWYG is a lie. The preview in the editor window is an approximation to the browser's representation of the HTML code being generated -- at best.



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