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Text Editor

Step 1: Get a decent text editor

Windows comes with Notepad installed, but I recommend the open source (free) program, Crimson Editor, instead. Unlike Notepad, Crimson Editor makes it easier to catch mistakes by color-coding your code, including HTML, XHTML, CSS, PHP, ASP and other coding languages. It also lets you keep multiple files open, search and replace throughout all open files at the same time, save all open files at the same time, remotely edit files that are online, and more.

April 7, 2009 edit: Mac users: Crimson Editor is only available for Windows. My apologies for not realizing this before writing the beginner tutorial series. Please see this comment for a Mac alternative, and substitute “Text Wrangler” any time I say “Crimson Editor” throughout these tutorials. I’ve known Morwen Oronor online for a while now and, if she recommends it, it has to be good. 🙂 End edit.

Visit the Crimson Editor homepage to get an overview, then click on their download link to download the latest version.

Crimson Editor screen shot

Notice in the above screenshot what happens when you leave something out. The word “first” is supposed to be enclosed in quotes, but because I omitted that closing quote (see where the cursor is at line 17, which is highlighted in the screenshot), the words after that are purple when they should be black, and the <em> tags surrounding “not” and </h2> at the end should all be blue with black brackets. Pretty handy, eh?

Colors may differ, depending on how you set your Crimson Editor preferences.

It’s tutorial time!

Now that you know the importance of using the right code, it’s time for you to start learning how to write that code. Let’s move on to the first tutorial, xHTML basics.

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Comments (20)

Morwen OronorApril 7th, 2009 at 12:44 am

I did about two hours’ work with the practice page this morning.
I use Text Wrangler on the Mac. It’s a really great program. It changes the font color as you change the coding so that all the same type of code appears in the same color, that helps when you’re looking for a specific type of code.
Download it for free here”

LesaApril 7th, 2009 at 6:05 am

Thank you for that tip, MO! 🙂 It sounds like a good alternative for Mac users, including colorization of code like you said, as well as their remote editing functionality. I also hadn’t noticed until looking again just now that Crimson only works on Windows, so I’ll make an edit to my post for Mac users to substitute “Text Wrangler” every place where I say “Crimson Editor.”

Thanks again! 🙂

overthehillfanApril 9th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Question: Does Crimson Editor work with Vista? I went to the website above and found only WINDOWS info……but nothing mentioning Windows VISTA…..which sounds weird but is way different than any of the Windows XP’s?

LesaApril 9th, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Welcome, overthehillfan. 🙂 That’s an excellent question, and luckily I can answer that in the affirmative. The computer I’m on right now has Vista, and I have no trouble using Crimson with it. 🙂

overthehillfanApril 9th, 2009 at 6:00 pm

SWEET! I’m off to download! (BTW…it’s me, Queeny)

LesaApril 9th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

I know. 😆 I just thought you might be going incognito. 😉

Enjoy! 🙂

overthehillfanApril 9th, 2009 at 6:20 pm

NOPE…that is actually the first online name and the one I use for most accounts….that are IMPORTANT! LOL
BTW…..that editor is cool……just showed hubby, now he wants it too! LOL

LesaApril 9th, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Yes, you used to use it at Ren’s place. 🙂 I wonder whatever happened to him. 😕

Does your hubby code, too? 🙂

overthehillfanApril 10th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Don’t know what happened to Rene…..I sent him a Christmas card last year and for the first time in 3 years he did not answer back… 🙁 And when I sent foreverXena her card, she answered and so I asked her and she said she lost track of him too… 🙁
No..Hubby does not code….he won’t even do a chat room or help me with mine unless I need a graphic or something made….
I think he may have been thinking of using it for perhaps his “Statement of works” he does for his job or something…not sure. ❓

LesaApril 10th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

That’s too bad about Rene. I hope he’s ok. 🙁

It’s good that your hubby does graphics. Once you get fluent in code, you can go into a side business together. :mrgreen:

overthehillfanApril 14th, 2009 at 11:32 am

😆 He really hates being on the computer, once he’s off work. He does ALL his work on computer, (as he works from “home/RV” upwards of 8 to 10 hours a day! :mrgreen:
His sister made him sign up for Facebook in order to view some baby pictures…and he was like…..”I HATE THIS! How do I do this or that, and why am I getting all this crap!” 😆 I had to show him how to use it and how to get rid of the emails and notifications stuff….LMAO…..he still hates it! :mrgreen:

LesaApril 14th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Poor hubby. 😛

CybertronicApril 27th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

I wanted to try to get Crimson, using wine on my Linux.. but I found out.. ubuntu has a built in editor, that is pretty nice… I still kinda like notepad better :p

LesaApril 27th, 2009 at 10:08 pm

What self-respecting Linux user would say they like notepad better? 😯 😆

Hmm, now I’m looking at that and wondering if I can bold some of the code in Crimson, too. I’d never played around with those settings much, because the default is fine by me. Maybe I’ll look tomorrow though, just out of curiosity.

Iggyn8usMarch 11th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

well I’m really new at this. I have understood everything well and I enjoy reading more and more . Im learning something also. Thank you for your website. :mrgreen:

LesaMarch 12th, 2010 at 8:18 am

It’s my pleasure, Iggyn8us. Thank you for the comments, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you ever need to. 😀

OldWarriorJuly 12th, 2015 at 4:49 pm

I have just begun to read through the tutorial for beginners. It seems like it will be quite useful to me. Thanks for this useful site, Lesa!

Yeah, this is OldWarrior from that other place. 🙂

LesaJuly 12th, 2015 at 10:57 pm

You’re very welcome, OldWarrior, and it’s more than ok to say where that other place is. 😀

OldWarriorJuly 14th, 2015 at 1:05 am

Oh, so I can advertise Runboard here then… 🙂

LesaJuly 14th, 2015 at 1:06 am

Most definitely! 😀

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