You're on your way to building a Web site. You have your logo, your images, your copy and even a video. Next step? Developing your Web site with Web authoring software.
Web authoring software creates the HTML code that integrates all the elements and scripts for your Web site into a single document that acts as a roadmap for Internet browsers when rendering your site. Nearly every computer comes equipped with a text editor where you can write the code yourself. But there are more user-friendly development tools on the market.
Popular Web Authoring Programs
- Adobe Dreamweaver
Perhaps the most widely known Web authoring software, Dreamweaver has a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) interface that makes it easy for beginners to develop a Web site without knowing HTML. The program also allows advanced developers to write their HTML code from scratch. The current version of Dreamweaver, CS4, sells online for about $399.
- Microsoft Expression
Microsoft Expression is a powerful designer and developer tool that runs from $599 to $999. In addition to Web site development, it includes application development tools plus Silverlight and .NET technologies.
- W3C Amaya
When cost is a factor, consider W3C's Amaya Web editor. It's an open source alternative. Amaya is also a WYSIWYG application and has an integrated Web browser that allows you to search the Web and copy and paste from any document while working in the application.
If you really want to be sure you've picked the right program for you, both Dreamweaver and Expression offer a free trial (and the full Amaya application is available as a free download). It’s worth testing out one or more of these tools before you commit to one Web authoring tool.