HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language, is the most basic building block of the web. It defines the meaning and structure of web content. The styling section is handled by the Cascading Style Sheet, or more popularly known as CSS. It describes the design and presentation of a document written in a markup language like HTML.
Both CSS and HTML files are saved as text files with the extension .css and .html respectively but long gone are those days. Text editors have a lot of features that a normal notepad lacks. It reduces the time you spend on writing the code and maximises the time you spend on creative designing. It has added functionalities like, error checking, autofill options and plenty more that can ease your life significantly. Choosing your text editor as a coder is one of the most crucial aspects in setting up your workspace and that’s what we’re here to help you with. Below is a list of seven open-source editors we find to be the best among the pool.
Atom – The Hackable Editor: Atom is a free and open-source code editor that was developed by Github in 2014. It is called a “hackable text editor” due to its customisation features. You can use one of the many packages available with added functionalities or you can create a package by yourself and provide it to the Atom community. Simple and productive real-time collaborations with Atom is probably its biggest highlight.
Furthermore, it has an embedded Git Control that integrates with GitHub to track your source code during development. Numerous add-ons for CSS can also be installed to enhance your experience with CSS editing. Overall, the Atom editor comes with more than just code editing features and increases user experience as a whole.
Most editors do not come with a debugging functionality but with its built-in debugging tool, Visual Studio Code can help you catch errors easily. Unlike other editors, it has an intelligent autocomplete feature that completes code based on functional definition, imported modules, and variable types. With its features evolving constantly and soon-to-be-added new settings, Visual Studio Code is here for the long run.
Notepad++ – Exclusive for Windows: Another favourite among the developers’ community is the Notepad++ editor. Built purely on win32 API, it offers great execution speed and small program size. It supports more than 20+ programming languages, making it one of the most versatile code editors. Besides the usual auto-complete feature all editors offer, Notepad++ comes with macro recording and playback facilities.
One of the most prominent features of Notepad++ is its entirely customisable GUI with which users can specify how they want the syntax to highlight and fold. On an unfortunate note, this editor is not available for Linux and macOS. However, it remains as one of the go-to options for developers who prefer a lightweight, and extensible code editor for Windows.
BlueFish – Old but Gold: It is an advanced text editor developed for experienced programmers who are looking for a straightforward tool that is exactly what it looks like. It is cross-platform software developed by Bluefish Dev Team in 1997. Unlike other editors, BlueFish editor is well equipped with Auto recovery option for sudden data loss like the crash, kill, or shut down. Despite being a standalone application, BlueFish can also be integrated with GNOME, an open-source desktop environment. Apart from all the mentioned features, it supports multiple encoding that can handle multiple files simultaneously and it has a Unicode character browser.
Komodo Edit – The cousin everyone loves: With a rating of 4.5 stars from users on Capterra, Komodo Edit is an editor that can be used for a variety of purposes like debugging, unit testing, code refactoring. It is adapted from Komodo IDE and comes with specialised features for web development.
This HTML editor consists of some robust features, such as auto-completion and if that isn’t enough, you can get customised extensions via plugins and macros. But, Komodo Edit is not perfect as it comes with some downsides to it. It doesn’t offer any live preview feature and real-time collaboration. Nevertheless, it doesn’t give in to its competitors and continues to impress us with its ever-growing new features.
Brackets – Known for the tricks up his sleeve: Brackets is a lightweight editor developed by Adobe Systems specifically for front-end web development and for this reason, its main features consist of visual tools and preprocessor support. One interesting feature that makes it stand out from the rest of the HTML editors is the Extract feature. It allows you to extract information, like fonts, straight from PSDs.
Users can have a unique experience with ‘Inline Editing’ that lets you edit all the CSS properties by displaying them within the current file instead of jumping between multiple files. In spite of its young age, Brackets has a lot to offer to its users.
NetBeans – Camouflage is his favourite costume: The last item on the list is technically not a code editor but it is open-source and makes up for it with all of its fascinating features. Apache NetBeans is an Integrated Development Environment primarily used for Java but it enables you to build powerful web applications.
As an IDE, it can indent lines, match words and brackets, and highlight source code semantically. It also offers coding tips, templates and generators. It is available in many languages such as English, Japanese, Russian and Chinese Overall, NetBeans deserves a spot with the other amazing code editors.
There are many reasons you can point out why writing a piece of code on a regular notepad cannot do justice to your web project. Associating with the right HTML/CSS editor will make the developers’ life easier and comfortable. Apart from appearance, it is necessary to keep your website structured and organised. You will be amazed to see that a single toolbar and some text editing options can make a world of a difference.
A free and open-source HTML editor can be the right solution for all your web development needs. All you need to do is select the most appropriate tool and enjoy the benefits. Web development has always been a fast-paced and challenging career that is of high demand. The average salary of a Junior Web Developer in the United States is $78,897 per year, while Senior Web Developers can earn as much as $117,848 as per Glassdoor Salaries Report, 2018. The foundation to thrive in this lucrative career is HTML and CSS.