HTML and CSS Reference
There are a variety of programming and web development languages supported in syntax highlighting from
HTML to XML and from PHP to Ruby. There are several predefined color themes you can select from, or you can
create new ones to your taste. The different document components (indent guidelines, marks, carets, whitespaces,
tag pairs, active and inactive tabs, and so on) can be styled individually. Notepad++ can change text direction of
documents. It also supports a variety of character encodings, can add and remove byte-order marks, supports
big-endian and little-endian Unicode files, and converts files from one encoding to another. 2 The documents
opened in the application can be previewed in any installed browsers.
Notepad++ also provides advanced text transformation functionalities, such as escaping certain characters,
transforming lowercase characters to uppercase (or vice versa), searching for matching strings, converting decimal
numbers to their hexadecimal equivalents, inserting the current date and time, sorting lists ascending or descending,
automatically converting leading spaces to tabs, and so on. Notepad++ also supports macros, which you can run
multiple times. The list of features can be extended through additional plug-ins, such as the MIME tools for Base64
encoding and decoding.
Graphical authoring tools can be comfortable, but standard compliance is not guaranteed by many of them. They
have features that can be useful even for experienced web designers, and they provide an interface with markup
window, instant preview, and advanced debugging tools. Still, not all developers apply them, and some use an
advanced text editor exclusively. The graphical developing environments usually require only a basic knowledge
of markup and CSS (and sometimes no technical background whatsoever), which is the major reason for their
extreme popularity. Because of the large number of features, however, there might be usability issues. For example,
the interface can be confusing and intimidating to some users, especially the ones without expertise. In spite of
the graphical interface, some systems are difficult to master. All web development tools have a different interface,
and someone who is an expert in one of them is not necessarily familiar with other systems, which is a limitation,
especially if the editor is available for one platform only. In contrast, hand coders can work in pretty much any
environment, because text editors are available for all platforms, and their major functionalities are very similar.
Most WYSIWYG editors can also be used as source code editors. Many features of graphical editors can be useful
for web designers, such as database management features, web server configuration features, and frameworks.
However, only a few WYSIWYG editors are dedicated to standards compliance such as XStandard XHTML and W3C
Amaya (Figure 11-2 ).
2 This feature can be used for those encodings that can be reasonably converted to another, more advanced encoding without
sacrificing special characters (for example, ANSI to UTF-8).