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Ten WYSIWYG HTML editors for Mac OS X (Updated)

OK, I'm sorry if I have been stuck on the theme of website creation lately, but the TUAW inboxes have been inundated with emails from readers who are concerned about the probable demise of iWeb.

One of our readers, Mickey, wrote to say that "I'm a former Mac user who was forced to switch to PC and has since come back to the Mac. In the interim, however, I have created a personal webpage (mostly for family). I've got hosting and a domain and all that, and I have coded it in Microsoft FrontPage. The way I see it, I have two options 1) use Boot Camp or VMWare Fusion to continue writing the webpage in FrontPage or 2) find a Mac program that might be at least relatively amenable to importing the HTML code from FrontPage."

Mickey wanted to redesign his website in iWeb, but had concerns about the future viability of the app. For that reason, and the fact that being able to edit his existing website on the Mac would keep him from having to do a complete reboot of the site, I figured he needed a Mac replacement for FrontPage -- a Windows application that has been abandoned by Microsoft.

I've compiled a list of ten possible candidates to replace FrontPage with lovely Mac goodness. FrontPage was one of the first WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) website tools that allowed you to design a page by moving elements around while it handled writing the HTML code behind the scenes. If you're looking into a way to move to Mac but still need to keep up a website that you originally created in the dreaded Land of Windows, then you'll find this list of Mac HTML editors to be very useful.

1) Panic Coda (http://www.panic.com). Coda probably has a lot more sophistication than most casual website designers need, but it will read existing HTML files and let you also add CSS style sheets. There's a free trial download available on the Panic website. Update: Several astute commenters pointed out that Coda is not a WYSIWYG editor. Instead, it's a full-powered text and code editor with the ability to display a preview of your edited work.

2) Kompozer (http://www.kompozer.net). This is a branch of the abandoned Nvu Open Source HTML editor that has been updated fairly regularly and is free. Never used it, so I can't vouch for it. The screenshot below is for the Windows version, but the user interface for the Mac edition is similar.

3) Flux (http://theescapers.com). Flux (£69.95) is a fairly powerful CSS / Javascript / HTML editor, with a free trial download. Once again, I've never used it -- but if you want to update your site into HTML5 goodness for the future, it's probably a good way to go. Potential Flux users shouldn't be worried if they don't know much about CSS, as the application is a wonderful way to get your feet wet in terms of style sheets. There's a very thorough Quick Start Guide available for download as well.

4) W3C Amaya (http://www.w3.org/Amaya/User/BinDist.html) If you want a tool that will let you both browse and author web pages, the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has a freebie editor available for download. For former FrontPage users, this app seems appropriately low-key and quite simple to use.

5) Mozilla SeaMonkey (http://www.seamonkey-project.org/) Made by the folks who created Firefox, SeaMonkey is not only an HTML editor, but has a lot of built-in Internet tools including a web feed reader, IRC chat client, etc. Update: The most recent version of SeaMonkey was delivered only five days ago.

6) Adobe Contribute (http://www.adobe.com/products/contribute.html) Back in the early 2000s, I had several sites that had been developed in FrontPage and needed to be maintained. Macromedia Contribute was a powerful tool, although sometimes frustrating. It's $199, and might be a bit of overkill for many casual users in terms of price and capability.

7) Freeway Express (http://www.softpress.com/products/freewayexpress/) Freeway Express is a wonderful Mac HTML editor with a surprisingly complete feature set. It's $69 for this low-end version, or you can upgrade to the even more powerful Freeway Pro ($229) if you need more capabilty. Trial versions of each are available for download.

8) Adobe Dreamweaver (http://www.adobe.com/products/dreamweaver.html) This is the design tool for professionals. It has a steep learning curve and an equally steep price tag ($399), but for a top-of-the-line web design package, Dreamweaver is the choice.

9) Quanta Gold (http://www.thekompany.com/products/quanta/) Considering that the web page for this app shows that it is now "Mac OS X ready", it looks like it hasn't been updated for a long, long time. There is a free demo version available for download, and the price if you decide to buy it is $39.95.

10) BlueGriffon (http://www.bluegriffon.org/) A free WYSIWYG content editor based on Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine. Free is always good!

Update: Before anyone asks where RapidWeaver and Sandvox are, note that although they do have the capability to edit RAW HTML, they're both predominantly used to design new websites from scratch using built-in templates and then maintain those sites. Those two solutions were covered in my previous post, "Ten ways to replace iWeb and MobileMe hosting."

Also, you may wish to look at several other editors, some of which aren't really WYSIWYG, but are favorites of some of the bloggers here at TUAW:

Hype sells for $29.99 in the Mac App Store and is an amazing HTML5 WYSIWYG editor. Created by two ex-Apple engineers, it's gaining rave reviews and can be used to create animated websites.

HyperEdit ($9.99) is another package from the Hype developers. It's a code and text editor in the same vein as Coda. Very similar to HyperEdit is Taco HTML Edit ($24.99), which has a component library that can add amazing features to an HTML document.

MacRabbit's Espresso was a huge miss on my part. It's also a code editor more than a true WYSIWYG tool, and it's available from the MacRabbit website for $79.99.

As usual, if you have a favorite Mac WYSIWYG HTML editor and wish to let other readers in on your personal choice, leave a comment below. Good luck, Mickey!

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