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XHTML editors

XHTML document can be developed with any text editor software. A simple text editor such as Notepad has limited functionality but is free and comes with loaded on Windows operating system. On the other hand, a development toll like Dreamweaver is more user-friendly and powerful but is expensive.

The cost may not be only the factor that will decide the type of editor you use to markup in XHTML. The degree of knowledge you posses of scripting, your preferences toward a particular development tool, and hand-coding versus visual designing are some of the factors that are likely to determine the type of software authoring tool you use. If you like hand-coding, this will not only help you learn XHTML elements, attributes, and structures but also provide you control over your documents versus using a development tool that will write the code for you without making it transparent the rational behind using particular piece of code. Hand-coding also gives you more control over exactly what scripting code is written.

If, on the other hand, you use a WYSIWYG (short for "what you see is what you get") editor, it will require no or minimum knowledge of XHTML. Table 1 highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each of these two approaches to writing scripting code.

  Advantage Disadvantages
Text editor
  • help you learn XHTML
  • flexibility in code writing (you write code what you think is most appropriate for your web page, you don't have to wait for a authoring software update for using newest XHTML features)
  • requires knowledge of XHTML coding
  • typical text editors support only limited features
  • may slow your work
Examples of text-editors Notepad on Windows, vi or pico on Unix, SimpleText and TechText on Macintosh
WYSIWYG editor
  • requires little or no knowledge of XHTML
  • simple to use as using a typical Word-processing application
  • supports many useful features (such as link checking, FTP support, etc.)
  • expensive
  • the development tool is in control over what code is written if you don't know how/what to edit
Examples of WYSIWYG editors (for HTML, XHTML, etc.) Dreamweaver, Microsoft FrontPage, and Netscape Composer

So what editor should you use given all these choices and considerations? You may try a simple text-based editor as a start. If you realize it is too much work for you to do hand code everything, you may try downloading a trial version for one of the available WYSIWYG editors. After trying both options, you will have a better understanding of what authoring tool is best suited to your scripting needs.