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Technical Information
 HTML Development Tools in Linux

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Posted: 9 Feb 2005

Web development can be done in various ways. Everything from using a full blown WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) suite, to using nothing more than vi or emacs to edit text.

So, what does Linux have to offer along the lines of HTML editing? Let's see...

Linux has various web development tools in its lineup.

Today I'll be introducing only three of the many tools Linux has in this arena. All three of these products are freely available at no cost.

  • Quanta Plus
  • jEdit
  • NVU (pronounced "N-View")
Let's dig into Quanta Plus first...

Quanta Plus

Quanta Plus has just about everything your normal non-wysiwyg HTML editor would be expected to have like tag highlighting and such. It also has the features listed below:
  • Can open multiple documents simultaneously
  • Remote connection through many different protocols
  • Multi-panel view provides information ranging from document structure, to to your local file tree
  • Tag attribute GUI for easy viewing / modifying of HTML attributes
  • Great project management features
  • A slew of other features
It's obvious Quanta is trying its best to become the de-facto standard of Linux editors. They're doing a great job, too.

Some things to note about Quanta are:
  • Quanta is based on KDE, so you'll have to have the KDE libraries installed in order for it to run
  • Quanta comes with all features implemented, so it's quite a large program. Some might say it's bloated.
For more screenshots and information, click here.


jEdit is another very well written text editor-type application.

jEdit, out of the box, seems like a very simplistic editor. It doesn't have much more than text highlighting and a few other basic functions, but you don't have to keep it that way.

What makes jEdit such a great editor is its extensibility. jEdit has a plugin manager which gives it the ability to do just about anything you want it to. The plugins accessible to jEdit have the ability to make it one of the most powerful editors for any platform.

Some of the features of the plugins include:
  • Spell checking
  • PHP / Java / HTML parsing and error checking
  • FTP / SFTP tunnelling capabilities
  • Tag completion for HTML
  • Whitespace control
  • CVS Integration
  • 80+ plugins for even more extensibility
Some things to note about jEdit are:
  • jEdit is a java-based program, so it needs a java VM to run, but most computers now days don't have a problem with that.
  • It doesn't come with all the features ready to use, but the plugin manager makes it quite easy to make it so.
  • Getting to know the plugins takes a bit of time, and know-how. Definitely not for amateur developers.
If you've used programs like Quanta, but haven't used jEdit yet, I'd highly recommend doing so.

For more information on features of jEdit, click here.

For screenshots, click here


If you are the "Macromedia Dreamweaver" type of developer, then you'll love NVU.

Though not as mature as Quanta, or jEdit, NVU (pronounced "en-view") has a great system down for creating web pages graphically. To use NVU, you don't have to know HTML at all. It's 100% graphically based.

Some of the features of NVU include:
  • Graphic editing capabilities.
  • Very easy-to-use interface
  • Based on Mozilla's Gecko engine
  • Very easy to create and publish web pages with this tool
This program is great for people who are just learning how to develop web pages.

Some things to note about NVU:
  • NVU is not very mature, so it lacks a lot of advanced features.
  • NVU is under pretty heavy development, so expect it to change and improve quite a bit as time goes on.
For more information and screenshots about NVU, click here

As for me personally, I used Quanta for web development for almost a year, until I found jEdit. I've been using jEdit now for about a year, too and have loved it. I always keep my eye open for better tools.

If you know of a great editor, please let me know, or post a comment using the rating system.

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