Using CoffeeCup — Free Software for Editing HTML - dummies

Using CoffeeCup — Free Software for Editing HTML

By Bud E. Smith

As a leading what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) Web pages tool, CoffeeCup HTML Editor has all the important features that you need to build basic Web pages. CoffeeCup HTML Editor has most of the advantages of an HTML tool, with few of the disadvantages. Here are its six key advantages as an HTML tool:

WYSIWYG doesn’t work perfectly on the Web. Different Web browsers interpret the same HTML tags differently. Also, users can have different browser settings, which means the same page can take on a different look for different users. To work around these problems, and to create Web pages that work well on the widest possible range of computers and browser versions and settings, knowing what’s going on with the underlying HTML really helps. For this reason, many Web page publishers work directly with HTML tags.

  • CoffeeCup HTML Editor is free to try: CoffeeCup HTML Editor is available for free for 30 days. This is long enough to develop a site.

  • It’s easy: CoffeeCup HTML Editor is very easy to use. It leaves out some complex advanced functions in favor of drop-dead simplicity.

  • Its functions match HTML tags: The functions available in HTML Editor are the functions available in HTML — and only those functions. You can’t do things in your Web page that aren’t supported by Web browsers.

  • It uses “generic” HTML: The only functions available in HTML Editor are those supported by all widely used versions of HTML. Web pages that you create with CoffeeCup are likely usable by all major Web browsers on all computer platforms.

  • It lets you see and edit HTML: HTML Editor gives you one-click access to the HTML tags underlying your Web page, simply by moving between the Visual Editor and the Code Editor. You get ease of editing in WYSIWYG mode but can still always see and edit the underlying HTML-tagged text.

  • It’s part of a suite of programs. CoffeeCup HTML Editor includes several cool tools, but you can also get more from CoffeeCup. Nearly all of these are available as free trials.

These features of CoffeeCup HTML Editor place it comfortably between using a text editor and using more advanced HTML editors. The starting and ending points of that spectrum look like this:

  • Text editors: Working directly with HTML tags can be frustrating and lead you to make mistakes in the look and layout of your page.

  • Advanced HTML editors: These programs, such as Microsoft Expression Web Designer and Dreamweaver, may overwhelm you with complex functionality (and certainly will overwhelm you with their price).

Most beginning Web publishers use HTML Editor in Visual Editor mode and check the underlying HTML frequently to see what’s really going on. As you get more knowledgeable with HTML, you may wish to buy and use a more advanced HTML editor — or go the low-tech route (as many Web professionals do much of the time) and use a basic text editor or the Code Editor side of CoffeeCup.