web page editing tools compared

List assembled by Blake Nancarrow (blaken@computer-ease.com) of Computer Ease for the Computer Trainers Network (CTN) on 24 Nov 2000.

development speed
learning curve
HTML knowledge
code size
code quality
spelling checking
site editing
smart transfers
special effects
tool cost
overall cost


XXX If you want special effects in your web site, such as a hit counter or smart form handling or an automatic group discussion handler, you often need special services on the server. Scripts or programs will be required.

Microsoft has implemented a unique approach to this: FrontPage Extensions. These are programs that are installed on a server and respond to special requests and queries from components built-in into web pages.

This puts a high degree of control into the hands of the web developer, from novice up to advanced. Without having to consult with server administrators or programmers, a site developer can create dynamic and rich web pages.

Using other tools, creating HTML directly, you need additional help. Or you need to learn to program in the server scripting language. Or you'll need to learn Java and buy a Java compiler. Similarly, with Dreamweaver, if you want multimedia rich content you'll need additional software (and time and training) so to build Flash and Shockwave components.

Both FrontPage and Dreamweaver can generate dynamic HTML (dHTML). JavaScript is produced without the user requiring programming knowledge. Also FrontPage and Dreamweaver can use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) technology for improved and consistent formatting. Again, the user can relax as the web authoring tool generates the code in the proper syntax.

If developing dHTML in a text editor, obviously, the developer needs to learn JavaScript programming and the specifics of using CSS, over and above HTML.