Gone are the days when any web designer would design a webpage using tables, font tags and internal styling. The problem with internal styling is that it is not universal, you have to use the same internal styling and HTML code in each and every single page of a given website. This is a nightmare for any designer, because managing the code and its corresponding output on all the pages of a given website is nearly impossible, if the website is large enough and houses a thousand pages.
Another disadvantage of not using a CSS layout is that it makes the code bulky. The result is slower loading of pages and bad visual output.
CSS (Cascading stylesheets), on the other hand, makes life easy for web designers. All the code can be managed from a single external file and for your design to reflect on a given page, all you have to do is call the external CSS file from the <head> section of the webpage in question.
Now, why do we need a CSS editor? Isn’t Windows notepad capable of editing a css file?
The answer is, Yes it can but it is not as full featured as a professional CSS editor program. A CSS editor allows you to define elements and classes easily, refer to ID’s and add CSS properties, even if you don’t know the exact syntax. It is nearly impossible to remember the correcrt syntax and operation of every CSS attribute, hence CSS editors are indespensable.
In this article, we take a look at the top CSS editor tools for Windows, Linux and MAC.
Rapid CSS editor is one of the easiest and simplest CSS editors out there, you can create or modify multiple CSS documents in one go. Rapid CSS supports auto completion of code so if you remember the beginning or ending letters of an attribute, Rapid CSS will automatically complete the entire syntax for you.
Rapid CSS includes a CSS checker and code verifier which can be used to automatically check your code for markup errors, so this ensures that you don’t need another tool for validating your HTML code. The application UI comprises of separate preview and coding panes, so you can see a live preview of the design while you’re coding it. Rapid CSS is free to use for the first 30 days on a trial basis, you can buy a lifetime license at $29.85 only.
Style Master is a multipurpose cross platform CSS editing tool that supports both Windows and MAC operating systems. Style master can handle HTML5 and CSS layouts pretty easily and this is one of the best tools for newbie designers who often stumble in writing the correct CSS code.
Stylemaster includes an interactive wizard based tutorial section, so this will help you learn the basic as well as advannced concepts of CSS coding and editing, without having to “guess” a segment of code.
Other than its extensive features, Stylemaster comes with 20 pre-defined templates, so you can start experimenting with the templates and do a few sample designs on your own.
Style Master comes with a 30 day free trial, you can buy the lifetime license at $59 only
Among all the other CSS editing tools reviewed here, I foundTopStyle the most appealing and user friendly. TopStyle contains powerful tools for building standards-compliant web sites, comprising an in built style checker, syntax highlighter, code indentation and many more features.
Other than a feature rich CSS editor (Windows only), you can use it to develop iOS apps. TopStyle supports iWebKit, so you will have no problems ion developing apps for iPhone, iPodTouch using its rich developement framework.
You can try TopStyle ifor free using the 30 day free trial download, while the pro version costs a one time fee of $79.
XyleScope is not just a CSS editing tool for MAC, it is a complete web browser with modern features. XyleScope allows parallel editing and surfing of webpages, so you can render a page on one pane while edit it on another. This feature makes it super easy to preview your design changes directly in the browser, the moment you have coded something.
As you can see in the above screenshot, the designer can navigate to any HTML segment, highlight the section and check the corresponding style rules in the right hand CSS pane. A pop up menu provides quick access to all internal as well as external style sheets being called from the given page, no matter which position they have been called from.
One of the unique features of Xylescope is its ability to filter out all the CSS rules, influencing a given HTML section. This helps in narrowing down the code to its bare minimum, so you get a compact code with no redundant values.
Did I mentioned that XyleScope is completely free, absolutely no strings attached.
Espresso / CSSEdit
Espresso, previously CSS Edit, is a feature rich CSS editor for MAC with awesome CSS3 support for multi browser gradients, shadows and web previews with the X-Ray technology. The drag and drop editing interface lets you edit code in no time and you can fold specific nested segments using its uique codde folding feature. Additionally, Espresso supports automatic server sync so this is surely one of the best tools for easy workflow and management.
Espresso costs $39.95 for the featured version, while trial version lets you use it for an indefinite period with CSS files that contain fewer than 2500 characters.
Notepad++is by far one of the best notepad replacement program for Windows, which at the same time, is also a feature rich code editor for a majority of programming languages e.g HTML, PHP, CSS and so forth. One of the best features of Notepad++ is the ability to automate the writing of code segments which you have to type frequently. Thanks to custom Macros, you can define keyboard shortcuts and store code sequences within Notepad++; deploy them whenever you want.
Notepad++ is an ideal solution when you are working parallely on multiple projects, as it lets you save your current working state as a “session”. This is extremely time saving, as you won’t have to recursively open the same files over and over again. Your project files are saved as a unique session and Notepad++ will resume your last session automatically.
Notepad++ is also available as a portable app, so you can simply drop the ZIP package on your USB device and use the application on multiple computers without having to install anything at all.
If you work with a lot of different programming languages and need a single place to edit the core files of your web application, Aptana Studio is for you. Aptana Studio supports Git integration, so you can easily combine your projects under the GIT source code and collaborate with team members through remote repositories e.g Github. Aptana supports git based deployments and provides a built in terminal for execution of operating system commands and language utilities.
One of the most interesting features of Aptana Studio 3 is that web developers can setup their own development environment by extending the core functions through scripting of custom commands. The application houses an integrated debugger which is very useful when you need to perform through checks and fix bugs. The deployment wizard of Aptana is one of its kind, you can create synchronized setups and automatically publish your local projects to the web.
Sublime text is a powerful HTML editor that supports all platforms – Windows, Linux and OSX. The code editor comprises of a minimap at the top right corner which lets you navigate through the entire code with mouse clicks. This code editor bids Good bye to the scroll bar and allows you to navigate large chunks of code through the minimap. Here is how the interface looks like:
Sublime text lets you edit up to 4 files parallely and changes to your files are reflected automatically in real time. Similar files of the same project are grouped together so this is useful, when you are editing a dozen CSS files and need an easy way to group similar files in one program window. The code editor has a sleek “distraction free” mode which hides all the stuff in one mouse click and lets you focus on writing the code. This is actually good for programmers who have the habit of “hand coding” and need a simple interface without any bells and whistles.
Sublime text supports syntax highlighting for many programming languages and allows multiple selections. In fact, this is the only HTML editor which allows the user to select multiple lines of code in one instant. With multiple selection turned on, you will never have to use macros or regular expressions.
PS PAD Editor
PS pad is not a very feature rich HTML editor but it is ideal for beginners and novice web designers who need an interface similar to Microsoft Frontpage or Adobe Dreamweaver.
PS Pad editor supports editing multiple files in different tabs and the user can cascade editing windows wither horizontally or vertically. The program has a built in FTP client, so you can edit and update code on a remote server directly from your desktop. Equipped with a file browser, project manager, bookmark manager and the FTP client, PS Pad editor does a perfect job for amateur web developers or programmers who want an easy to use interface without advanced controls.
Ps Pad can also be used to tidy up your code, compress files and bind multiple files into one. The program is a free download, works only in Windows Operating systems.
Tell us what’s your favorite CSS editor?
[This post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing advisor to a company that created a passbook solution to follow credit card charges on the iphone , and who also advises to a shopping cart abandonment service company.]