I’ve been busy updating one of my websites and, after hours of screen time mucking about with HTML and trying to feed my own blog, I haven’t been able to contribute here. But, in the interim, I discovered the Kompozer WYSIWYG HTML editor, which is free, open-source, and available for Linux, Mac, and Windows (I have not tested it in Windows or Mac).
First, some background:
I know that some persons disdain WYSIWYG editors and use only text editors; I know others who use only WYSIWYG (they are often captives to overpriced proprietary software). Since I fumbled my way through my first website 15 years ago, I’ve always used a combination.
I like to draft a page using a WYSIWYG editor, then fine-tune and validate it using a text editor. In my Windows days, I used a combination of AOLPress (now long unsupported) and HTMLKit, which is still a fine program).
When I moved to Linux, I started out using Quanta Plus, because it came with Slackware 10.0, and whatever Linux text editor with color-coding happened to be handy, but I found Quanta to be rather clunky (that was five years ago–I haven’t tested the current release).
When I decided it was time to update my boating website to current standards and practices, I started looking for a WYSIWYG editor and decided to give Kompozer a whirl. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good.
When Kompozer starts, it displays menu and formatting bars at the top and a navigation pane on the left; webpages open for editing to the right.
Kompozer offers three views of the webpage.
The Design View is shown in the picture above. In that view, Kompozer functions much as a word procressor. The icons and menu bar can be used to insert and modify page elements.
In the Source View, the source code for the page being edited is show in the right. Icons and menu items that do not function in the source view are greyed out. Multiple pages can be opened in the Design View; if you are in the Source View, you must click back to the Design View to move from one page to another in the tab bar above the editing window.
In the picture below, Kompozer is at the top and the Kate text editor is at the bottom. Both editors are open to the same part of the same page:
This leads to Kompozer’s primary deficiency, which the comparison with Kate brings out. The source view is difficult to use.
- Display text is too small.
- The color has insufficient contrast with the background.
- Elements are not separated by blank lines.
In a long page, elements to edit are difficult to find. I have been unable to find a configuration setting to change the source display color or size. Consequently, for significant editing in text mode, I used Kate.
The Split View helps somewhat. In the Split View, highlight a particular element displays that element in the source window at the bottom of the screen:
This helps, but could also use some fine-tuning.
For example, when you highlight a picture or icon that is part of a link, the source view defaults to the picture element, not the complete link+picture element. It is also not possible to scroll from one element to another in the source pane; elements must be selected in the WYSIWYG pane.
Changes made in the Source View are reflected immediately in the design view. This is one of the benefits of a WYSIWYG editor; you don’t have to save the page, then reload it in the browser.
The bottom right of the navigation pane includes a DOM explorer for either the CSS or the HTML; I was not able to use both at the same time.
Kompozer has a good help file which is also available for download in a PDF format.
Since the project is open source, developers, translators, and testers are invited to volunteer at the project page.
A Note: Jeffrey is working to figure out why the comments are marked “closed” and I can’t open them.