What Is an HTML Viewer?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 28 May 2020
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A hypertext markup language (HTML) viewer is a web design tool that allows web designers to view and edit their work in real time. The HTML viewer displays code on one side of the screen and the webpage-in-progress on the other.

Also known as an HTML previewer or HTML editor, these tools are designed to reduce or eliminate broken or inefficient code. HTML viewers can insert prewritten, frequently-used sections of code, or highlight certain lines of code. Depending on the software, an HTML viewer may also feature pre-made templates, free graphics, and File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to quickly upload and publish the finished webpage. HTML viewers are usually either free, or may be purchased for a one-time fee.

Popular HTML Viewers

  • CoffeeCup

Why Use an HTML Viewer?

One of the most popular features of an HTML viewer is the ability to split the screen between the webpage code and a preview of how the code will look when it is uploaded to a server. This feature means that broken links, misplaced images, and other mistakes can be corrected before the website goes live. This feature is included in even the most basic HTML editors, and is used by both novice and expert web designers alike.

An HTML viewer also helps the web designer to pinpoint mistakes, either by using the split-screen preview or outright telling the designer that the code is broken, outdated, or could be better written in some other way. To further reduce mistakes and speed up the process of creating a website, the software program might come with numerous bits of pre-written HTML, so that the designer does not have to repeatedly rewrite or copy and paste certain lines. It is also common to include a highlighting feature that can be applied to any line, enabling the web designer to quickly dissect his or her own code.

Some extra features of an HTML viewer might be pre-made website templates and free, no-royalty images. These extras make it simple for novice web designers to build a website without manipulating much or any HTML code. Even professionals might use these extras to build the basics or act as placeholders for a client’s own images. Once the website is complete, the designer can sometimes upload the finished project using the HTML viewer’s own FTP program. If an FTP program is not built-in, the designer usually must turn to a third-party FTP program to make his or her website live.

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Discuss this Article

Post 2

@Logicfest -- a lot of people do wander into that HTML view and a good number of people learn the basics of working with HTML by tweaking things when necessary. That is a great, hands on way to learn basic HTML.

And, if there's something you don't know how to do, there are plenty of forums where HTML pros will post tips and tricks.

Post 1

Good idea mentioning these things were once used by HTML pros and are now increasingly used by novices. Take an Internet based HTML email editor, for example. Those generally pull up a dual screen -- one shows how your email will look when sent while the other is the place you compose it. The composition side usually looks like something you would see while working with a word processor, but it can be changed over to an HTML view if you need to tweak the code a bit to get things to look just right.

The same go for online-based blogging systems and a whole host of software set up to help just about anyone build something online that looks professional.

Believe it or not, a lot of people venture into the HTML view and do make adjustments.

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