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KompoZer

KompoZer - A Freeware WYSIWYG Editor

review from 2 Penny Ron, Apr 2007, permalink HTML Editors

 

From 2 Penny Ron:

KompoZer — A Freeware WYSIWYG Editor

 

Web site building tools fall naturally into three varieties: text-only HTML-editors, editors that combined a graphic WYSIWIG view with a code view, and those there were purely graphic, for users who shied away from HTML. Each type of site editor had its own audience, die-hard programmers, part-time Webmasters, or graphic designers.

 

The nice thing about the Internet is the ability for anyone to post a personal page or whatever without too much trouble. Many times, ISPs supply their subscribers with on-line tools/page builders which allow you to work within their defined parameters, but this doesn't quite give you complete control over your content. However, there are users that need more than on-line builder pages.

 

WYSIWYG

What You See Is What You Get - this is a term used for web-content (typically) editors that allow you to edit the final rendered page as it would appear to your end-viewers. Pretty cool really, so there is reassurance that what you are editing will look the same to your Internet audience - - browser differences aside (for now).

 

Mozilla has always had an editor that was built-in with their browser products. Netscape had one as part of their package (based off of Mozilla's code), and Microsoft Word can edit/create HTML files (after injecting their own coding and tags. Tools are available to clean them up).

 

Enter Nvu

 

In early 2004, the search for a free WYSIWYG editor appeared to be over with the release of NVU, a tool based off of the Netscape editor code. Nvu was easy to use, had not only a huge number of easy-to-use features, but included a preview, tag, and HTML source editor pane - all very easy to navigate. In mid-2005, Nvu's 1.0 development pretty much died, with the original developer moving on to other projects, leaving Nvu with some needed bug fixes and enhancements for others to deal with. Another group took on the challenge, and released KompoZer not long after.

 

KompoZer, built on the NVU architecture, is a good free option that is beginning to approach the functionality of Dreamweaver. KompoZer is a very easy to use HTML editor, with the added benefit of being able to see what you are editing as it would appear to the person viewing the page on the Internet (for the most part, since some browsers display content differently than others). The project strives to fix bugs in the NVU project and added new features to it.

 

The interface is different than Dreamweaver’s, but it should still feel familiar. Major editing buttons live in a three-tier toolbar at the top of the program that includes a one-click Publishing icon as well as one-click buttons for Image insertion and Table and Form creation. Font tweaks like Size and Style live in toolbars just below for easy HTML editing. A Site Manager, including File tree, is anchored on the left, although it can be collapsed. KompoZer seems to compete more than adequately with better-known competitors.

 

The Basics

 

Creating a new page and setting up tables, colored fonts, images, within that page is remarkably easy to do. There is a built-in forms tool, which helps you develop simple user interfaces (like dropdown lists and text input boxes)–in addition to including the ability to manipulate just about every single property available for whatever it is that you are double-clicking (images, tables, etc.). Also included is support for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), so if a user is up for it, she/he can start coding page attributes for a more dynamic experience!

 

KompoZer offers the ability to upload and publish your pages directly through the toolbar using the built-in FTP interface - akin to FrontPage, Dreamweaver, and others. You can manage your pages using the Site Manager feature. This allows you to associate resources like images and HTML pages into a single project–making it easier to find what you are looking for when creating links to your other pages. KompoZer can, with some work, be customized with some XUL (eXtensible User interface Language) and JavaScript coding.

A very good (and free) FTP program for uploading files is FileZilla.

 

Views of the program:

 

Fig. 1 KompoZer workspace

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Fig. 2 KompoZer Help

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Fig. 3 Sample page created directly in workspace.

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Fig. 4 HTML Tag view

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Fig. 5 Source view

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Conclusions:

 

KompoZer is still a little buggy, but not nearly so much as Nvu. It’s fine for quick results, but if you need to work in ASP, then PSPad is a fine choice http://www.pspad.com/

 

Currently, the best sources for KompoZer information are in the Nvu forums and pages.

http://www.nvudev.org/guide/pdf/nvuug10r1.pdf

http://nvu.kellertechnologies.com/Main_Page

http://www.thesitewizard.com/gettingstarted/nvu1.shtml