May 16 2007 0 Comments

Free Web Page Editing Software

I just wanted to let you know about a cool software program I came across for editing web sites.

It’s an open source, completely FREE program. You don’t have to sign up for a mailing list or jump through any hoops. It’s actually a pretty good piece of software. It’s called NVU.

You can get it at:

http://www.NVU.com

Having a background in web design, one of the things I look for web web site editing software is what kind of code the program creates behind the scenes. Web sites are generally written in HTML, which is a fairly simple programming language for web pages. It’s the stuff that works behind the scenes to actually tell your web browser what to display and how to display it on your screen when you visit a web page.

Some programs like FrontPage have traditionally done a lot of weird things with the code. FrontPage has gradually gotten better over the years. Some of the other free software out there, like the Mozilla editor, makes terrible code. It may get better, but some of the code I’ve seen that was created with it was not too pretty. NVU seems to create nice code, which is not very common in a free program, or even in paid ones for that matter.

Also, some programs I’ve seen before, like older versions of FrontPage, would mess up your existing web pages if you tried opening them with those programs. They would mess up the code and the pages wouldn’t work right. However, from what I’ve seen, NVU doesn’t do that at all. It respects your existing code and whatever new code it creates is pretty clean and compliant with the standards.

It even is compatible with PHP. I wouldn’t personally use it to work with PHP files much because I like the way Dreamweaver handles PHP files better, especially for “includes” and things like that. However, you can open and edit PHP files with NVU, which you can’t do with a lot of programs, like FrontPage 2003.

NVU is not the easiest to figure out if you’re not familiar with how web design works, or maybe even if you are, but once you figure out a few tricks about how to get around within the program and get it to do what you want it to, it’s not bad.

Oh yeah, did I mention it’s FREE?

Right now it’s not my favorite web page editor, but it’s definitely my favorite free one. Of the commercial programs out there, I prefer Dreamweaver. But that’s overkill for a lot of people, so NVU is a nice alternative.

I was building a how-to course on building web sites using NVU, but my hard drive crashed and I lost a lot of the work. I put the project on hold at the moment, but I have people requesting it, so I may continue with it and complete it. If you’re interested in having me teach you to build web sites, let me know.

Update!

The NVU project is basically dead (though the software is still available).  However, since it’s open source, some other people took over the project and fixed a lot of the bugs and things and re-released it.  The only thing is, they couldn’t keep the name "NVU" due to some weird legal issues, but it’s essentially an updated version.

The new name for the software is "Kompozer" and you can get it at:  http://www.kompozer.net/

I’ve heard there is another program coming out that is supposed to be even better, so I’ll let you know when I hear something about it.

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