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Choosing a code editor

From: Up and Running with HTML

Video: Choosing a code editor

Authoring HTML really requires little more than just a text editor. HTML documents are really nothing more than text files with an .htm or .html extension, so almost any text-editing tool will suffice. However, authoring websites requires you to code HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and writing it all by hand can be really time-consuming. A good HTML editor can help speed up that process and catch syntax errors that you might miss. At a minimum, you're going to want to have a code-editing tool that has line numbers, code formatting options, syntax highlighting, and code support for all the languages that you're going to be authoring.

Choosing a code editor

Authoring HTML really requires little more than just a text editor. HTML documents are really nothing more than text files with an .htm or .html extension, so almost any text-editing tool will suffice. However, authoring websites requires you to code HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and writing it all by hand can be really time-consuming. A good HTML editor can help speed up that process and catch syntax errors that you might miss. At a minimum, you're going to want to have a code-editing tool that has line numbers, code formatting options, syntax highlighting, and code support for all the languages that you're going to be authoring.

Now if you're working on a team that authors or edits HTML, chances are your team already has a tool they work with. This might be a desktop program like Dreamweaver, Coda, or Sublime, or it might be within the authoring environment of a CMS, like WordPress or ExpressionEngine. If you're already using a desktop editor in your work environment, I recommend using it for this course. If your team is using a CMS, well, I recommend choosing a basic editor for this course and then focusing on learning the CMS after you've mastered the basics of writing HTML.

If, on the other hand, you're brand-new to web development and haven't picked a tool yet, I recommend trying out several different types of authoring tools before settling on a favorite. My Web Design Fundamentals and CSS Fundamentals courses both have movies in them that give an overview of a wide range of HTML editors. Try downloading trial versions of a few of them and experiment with them as you begin to learn HTML. You're bound to find one that fits your personal preferences. Now, for this course I'm going to be Komodo Edit. It's free, it's cross-platform, and it has all the HTML features that we will need for this course.

Now, I'm going to give you a very brief rundown of where you can download it, how to setup my workspace, things like that, but I'm not going to go and using Komodo beyond these basic points. If you decide to use it, there's plenty of documentation on their site to get you started. So to find Komodo Edit you can go to activestate.com and look for Komodo Edit. Komodo Edit is the one you're looking for. This is the free, open source editor. They do have another IDE called Komodo, and it's actually a more robust one that you'll have to get a license for, so you're looking for Komodo Edit.

The Download button is right there; just download it and install it. Now, once you've got it installed, go ahead and open it up, and I'm just going to show you very briefly had a set up a workspace. The first thing that you want to do is to create a project. You can see I've got a couple of projects over here in this pane. I'm just going to go right here to this pulldown menu and tell it that I want a new project, and here I'm just going to say test. And if you've copied your exercise files to the desktop, that's the folder you want to choose. So I'm going to go out to my desktop, find the Exercise Files directory that I copied over there earlier and I'm just going to save that.

It'll list all those files right up here in this Places pane, and that's going to give you easy access to all the files it will be editing and working with. So as soon as you drill down in the folders, you can find files, double-click on them, and that's going to open them up in this workspace. In order to set up the preferences for the coding workspace, I'm going to go to my preferences. You can find them under Edit > Preferences on a PC and Komodo > Preferences for the Mac. So if I go into my Preferences, the first one I want to take a look is Code Intelligence.

One of the first things that I turned off was this little checkbox right here that says Automatically insert end tag when typing a start tag in HTML document. Now, that's very helpful for a lot of people when they're are coding from scratch, but a lot of our exercises are going to be wrapping already existing content in tags and that can be a little frustrating, so I went ahead and turned that off. I recommend you do the same if you're using Komodo. The next thing I did was just go to Fonts and Colors and I changed the default font that I'm going to be using and increase the font size a little bit to make it a little bit easier for you guys to read as I'm working with it.

Just find a size and a font that you're comfortable with. Your screen does not have to match mine in that regard. I clicked OK and that's really all I've done to customize this workspace. One last thing I want to show you guys is throughout the course when I'm working on pages, you'll see me previewing them in the browser. Komodo actually happens to have this feature. If you look right up top, there is this little planet icon and if I grab the pulldown menu, I can see that all my browsers that are installed are right there for me. And just by clicking one of them, it'll go ahead and open up that page within the browser, which is very helpful.

If you're using a code editor that does not have that feature, you can simply open up your browser, open up the page from the browser, and just refresh the page whenever you've made a change in your code editor; that would work just fine as well. It doesn't really matter. Remember, for this course it does not matter which code editing tool you use. You just want to find one that has all the features that you need and best fits your personal preferences.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with HTML
Up and Running with HTML

49 video lessons · 25170 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 12s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 17s
  2. 29m 30s
    1. Learning HTML
      2m 47s
    2. Choosing a code editor
      5m 2s
    3. Exploring basic HTML syntax
      8m 18s
    4. Do I need to learn HTML5?
      5m 6s
    5. Exploring HTML references
      8m 17s
  3. 35m 40s
    1. Exploring an HTML document
      5m 19s
    2. Working with doctype declarations
      4m 3s
    3. Examining the document head
      8m 20s
    4. Looking at the document body
      3m 21s
    5. Adding document structure
      8m 52s
    6. Lab: Coding a basic page
      3m 9s
    7. Solution: Coding a basic page
      2m 36s
  4. 1h 23m
    1. How does HTML format text?
      5m 51s
    2. Adding headings
      7m 24s
    3. Formatting paragraphs
      4m 54s
    4. Controlling line breaks
      3m 50s
    5. Creating lists
      10m 37s
    6. Emphasizing text
      6m 42s
    7. Displaying special characters
      5m 8s
    8. Controlling whitespace
      4m 35s
    9. Inserting images
      9m 20s
    10. Lab: Controlling page content
      13m 57s
    11. Solution: Controlling page content
      10m 55s
  5. 31m 54s
    1. Linking to pages within your site
      6m 45s
    2. Linking to external pages
      3m 2s
    3. Linking to downloadable resources
      2m 25s
    4. Linking to page regions
      8m 0s
    5. Lab: Creating Links
      5m 57s
    6. Solution: Creating Links
      5m 45s
  6. 40m 27s
    1. Examining basic table structure
      5m 10s
    2. Adding content to tables
      6m 20s
    3. Setting table attributes
      7m 42s
    4. Adding table captions
      4m 3s
    5. Defining table headers
      2m 13s
    6. Making table data accessible
      5m 46s
    7. Lab: Building tables
      4m 13s
    8. Solution: Building tables
      5m 0s
  7. 43m 23s
    1. Understanding the relationship between HTML and CSS
      4m 58s
    2. Creating inline styles
      4m 53s
    3. Exploring the style element
      5m 13s
    4. Basic font styling
      9m 24s
    5. Changing color
      4m 55s
    6. Taking styles further
      5m 24s
    7. Lab: Controlling basic styles
      5m 10s
    8. Solution: Controlling basic styles
      3m 26s
  8. 5m 44s
    1. Next steps
      2m 56s
    2. Additional resources
      2m 48s

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