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I've written some Objective-C in Xcode before, but I can't find any free software for writing HTML! I need to create a small website for an online course I'm taking, and figured that HTML is the way to go. Thank you for your help!

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Well, you said you've already used Xcode... I've never done Web Development in it, but try it? –  Jason Salaz Jun 18 '12 at 4:03
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8 Answers 8

up vote 11 down vote accepted

HTML is a simple markup language and doesn't, arguably, require an IDE like Xcode. I'd recommend anyone starting to learn HTML (and related web tools like CSS and JavaScript) to start with a simple text editor. Learn your skills manually before relying on an app to speed up the process. Most of the time you'll find you can do a lot faster with a really good text editor than an all-in-one IDE. For something free on Mac try TextWrangler.

To be honest there aren't that many amazing and free editors/IDEs for websites on Mac OS. For some money there are a lot of amazing tools such as Sublime Text, Coda and Espresso to name a few. If you just need it for a short time it's not likely worth it however all of them currently provide some form of trial period.

Edit: Changed scripting language to markup language. Not sure what I was thinking.

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TextWrangler is great, I use it all the time to code HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. –  Nathan Jul 30 '12 at 23:06
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TextWrangler is free, but packed with a lot of features.

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Now I'm using Aptana- there is a stand alone version, and also just a eclipse-plugin. For HTML you don't need a special software, you can write it on every text editor. but it's really better and faster using a IDE

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Personally I use a basic text editor with syntax highlighting, Tincta is my favorite, but try and find the best fit for you. Any text editor that can save plain text files would work, anything from echoing into a file to a commercial product like BBEdit or Textmate. If you're hunting for a free editor I'd check the Mac App Store, check out some classics like Emacs and ports (Aquamacs and Emacs for MacOS X), Vim, and GEdit, try TextWrangler, a stripped down version of BBEdit, and test out your google-fu. I'd put links in, but it only let's me put two per answer.

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As noted you can use any editor for html but ones like Kompozer also provide some form of interactive GUI layout as well as text editing. (For more complexe text manipulation I would also use Aquamacs with the nxml-mode or other css/html modes)

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Mozilla SeaMonkey

which is based on FireFox, and is free, has a Composer mode, which is a fine basic WYSIWYG tool for HTML authoring with some code-editing tools as well.

SeaMonkey is kept up-to-date and receives updates whenever there is a new version of FireFox. It is much more up-to-date than Kompozer, which has not been significantly updated in several years and has always been referred to as a "beta" product.

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Technically, HTML can be coded using any plaintext editor, like TextEdit (which — strictly speaking — is a Rich Text editor, but can be forced to save as .html). While that's all well and good, it's really no fun. In fact, it's terrible. You don't see what your design looks like, and believe me when I say that coding without visual feedback is the worst.
If you want an alternative with a preview, I'm not sure there's a free one. There are some cheap ones, like Coda; while I've never tried it, apparently, it's quite good.
If you just want an alternative with code hinting, MonoDevelop has an HTML document creation mode, with appropriate code hints, and HTML5 compatibility. Best f luck!

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Personally

I try:

  • Smultron, also known as Fraise – version 3 is free and open source (for greater compatibility with features of Lion, there's more modern version 4 at low cost in the App Store) – not a fan, just nice preview and clip
  • Komodo Edit – not beautifull but a lot of functions for free
  • jEdit (in java) – not really fast but open source!

I use Coda 2, it's not perfect but really smart!


More generally

A comparison of HTML editors on Wikipedia with an option to sort by cost and software license. Some of the comparisons are with titles that are both free and open source.

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Why "not useful" ? Try komodo edit or jedit, for free it's not so bad, it's an alternative! –  benoît Jul 3 '12 at 11:32
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The down vote was not from me, but my suggested edition to your answer may help to bring it closer to the essence of the opening question. –  Graham Perrin Jul 31 '12 at 6:32
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