HTML and CSS Reference
Many general-purpose text editors also include special features to make it easier to deal
with HTML files these days.
Many editors on the market purport to be WYSIWYG. These editors exchange ease of
use (you don't have to remember the tags you use yourself) for control over your
markup. To produce exactly the results you desire, editing the code yourself using a text
editor is the best approach.
With that said, as long as you're aware that the result of working in those editors can
vary, using WYSIWYG editors can be a quick way to create simple HTML pages. For
professional web development and for using many of the advanced features, however,
WYSIWYG editors can fall short, and you need to go under the hood to play with the
HTML code anyhow. Even if you intend to use a WYSIWYG editor for the bulk of your
HTML work, bear with me for the next couple of lessons and try these examples in text
editors so that you get a feel for what HTML is before you decide to move on to an edi-
tor that hides the tags.
WYSIWYG editors tend to work best with files they've created
themselves. If you have some existing HTML files that you need to
edit, opening them in a WYSIWYG editor can do more harm than
good, particularly if the files were created in a different WYSIWYG
In addition to HTML and WYSIWYG editors, you can use converters, which take files
from many popular word processing programs and convert them to HTML. With a sim-
ple set of templates, you can write your pages entirely in your favorite word processing
program and then convert the result when you're done.
In many cases, converters can be extremely useful, particularly for putting existing docu-
ments on the Web as quickly as possible. However, converters suffer from many of the
same problems as WYSIWYG editors. The results can vary from browser to browser,
and many newer or advanced features aren't available in the converters. Also, most con-
verter programs are fairly limited, not necessarily by their own features, but mostly by
the limitations in HTML itself. No amount of fancy converting will make HTML do
things that it can't do already. If a particular capability doesn't exist in HTML, the con-
verter can't do anything to solve that problem. In fact, the converter might end up doing
strange things to your HTML files, causing you more work than if you just did all the