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What is a Web Page Editor?

By Alex Terris
Updated May 17, 2024
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A web page editor — often known as an HTML editor — is a type of software that allows the user to create web pages. Initial HTML editors only allowed the user to type standard HTML code but today’s editors often come with visual features to make the process quicker and less technical. Aside from HTML, most modern editors can also work with other scripting and programming languages such as CSS, JavaScript and sometimes PHP. There are several different types of web page editor — text editors, objects editors and what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editors.

Every web page is written — at its most basic level — using HTML code. HTML isn’t strictly a programming language but instead a markup language that allows designers to specify how certain areas of a page should be displayed. Web page editors are used for creating the HTML code. Examples of some of the top web page editors available include Dreamweaver, CoffeeCup and First Page. There are also many free options although these usually have a reduced feature set.

The most basic form of web page editor is the text editor. These are simply regular text editors that are programmed to highlight HTML code. They often also have toolbars for quick insertion of common tags. Although a text editor provides the most control over the final code, they require knowledge of HTML in order to use. Today, text editors are most often used for editing or inspecting existing web pages rather than to build them from scratch.

WYSIWYG editors provide an environment that allows for creation of web pages without the need for in-depth knowledge of HTML. As the name suggests, a what-you-see-is-what-you-get web page editor allows the user to edit a webpage to how he or she would like it to be viewed in a browser while generating the HTML in the background. This allows even someone with limited knowledge of HTML and CSS to develop a web page that looks close to what he or she wants. Professional web designers, however, rarely use WYSIWYG editors as they don’t provide total control and often have difficulty generating code that is displayed correctly by all browsers.

Many content management systems (CMS) have a built-in WYSIWYG web page editor. This allows a user to post an article or web page to a site dynamically without the need for ever looking at HTML. Two examples of widely used CMS software that come with this functionality are Wordpress and Joomla.

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