Is What You See What You Really Get?

by Todd Hooge

All SEO Articles

This article from The Mender (Issue 8),
Metamend's Web Site Optimization and Marketing Newsletter.


There are many HTML editors our there in CyberSpace. As a new web designer, one of the biggest choices you'll make in your search for perfect code is which editor to use. This is understandable, as picking the right one can be a daunting task given all the current acronyms out there: WYSIWYG, WYSIWYN, HTML, ASP etc... It's important to understand at what level you wish to explore web design before you make your decision.

WYSIWYG stands for "What You See Is What You Get." Editors such as Microsoft Front Page and Dreamweaver are good examples of this type of editor which allow you to move text and graphics around without having to actually know HTML. The main advantage of this kind of editor is also the main disadvantage - it generates the HTML for you. This means that you generally do not have control over the code and can run into trouble when trying to make mission critical changes to your website. I will say that Front Page has come a long way since inception, and the latest version (Front Page 2000) offers some very robust features which enhance user control over how the code is displayed and what areas you want left alone.

WYSIWYN stands for "What You See Is What You Need." A good example of this would be Allaire Cold Fusion Studio (and my preference). The main advantage here is that you have the advantage of moving graphics and text around like a WYSIWYG, but also have the added advantage of being able to make small adjustments to your HTML without hindering the look - that's where the "need" comes in; if you need to make minute changes to your code, you can do so. Remember to look at how deep you want to explore web design before you purchase your editor. If you're looking to make a quick website for home or small business use, then a good WYSIWYG editor may work for you. If you want to create complex websites with absolute control over how it all looks and functions, then a good WYSIWYN editor will suit your needs nicely.

Other articles from this issue:
- How To Choose The Right Hosting Company

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