Composing HTML with KompoZer
by Alan German
years I have used Homesite as my HTML editor of choice.
Over time, the development and maintenance of this
software has been transferred to several companies
Allaire, Macromedia, and Adobe the latter now no
longer offering support for the package. Since I am
scheduled to give an HTML 101 session at one
of Ottawas library branches, I thought that I
should try to find a replacement editor preferably
either free or open-source software that
participants may use to edit their web pages.
I didnt have to look very far before I came across
KompoZer, an open-source package that offers all of the
features that I desire in an HTML editor. First and
foremost, it has to edit and save HTML files without
adding a whole raft of spaghetti code as several
designer programs are prone to do. Secondly,
it has to provide easy-to-use buttons for things like
formatting text (e.g. bold, centered), and also support
complex page elements such as anchor tags and
tables. Obviously, one can create all these HTML codes in
a simple text editor such as Notepad++, but its so
much easier with a purpose-built editing package.
all of these features, plus a file manager to display
relevant files and folders, and a series of windows that
allow the current web page to be viewed in a number of
different ways. The normal view provides WYSIWYG
capability where a page can be edited directly with the
results being displayed as changes are made. A preview
window shows the final result as it might appear in a web
browser, while a source window shows the underlying HTML
code. An interesting window is entitled HTML Tags. This
adds little yellow boxes indicating specific elements on
the page such as A (anchor), IMG (image), and TD (table
Now, this isnt to say that KompoZer has no quirks.
Far from it. One thing that I found very non-intuitive
was how to establish a list of files in a given folder.
Fortunately, the help files that come with the program
are in fact very helpful. To establish a file list for a
folder on the local hard disk, one has to use the
Site Manager. Navigate to Edit
Publishing Site Settings, give the site a
name (e.g. DataDisk), and provide entries for both the
Web Site Information and Publishing Server fields in the
form file:///D:/. The easiest way to do the
latter step is to use the Select directory button for the
Publishing Server entry and then cut and paste the
browse-to entry into the Web Site Information field. The
next problem is that, even after all of these
contortions, DataDisk doesnt show up in the Site
Manager window at least not until one exits from
and restarts KompoZer!
The other feature that I personally
dont like is that any new file is named with a
.html extension. The problem here is a personal issue in
that, when I first started creating web pages, I adopted
a filename.htm format for all of my files.
Homesite provides the option to set either html or htm as
the file extension. Unfortunately, KompoZer does not.
However, the above-noted annoyances are
merely part of the learning curve for someone who is very
familiar with a different HTML editor. For the most part,
the wide range of useful features that KompoZer offers
far outweighs any such downsides. So, if you have need of
an HTML editor, I'm sure you will find this software to
be a worthwhile addition to your toolbox.
Originally published: November, 2014
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The opinions expressed in these reviews
do not necessarily represent the views of the
Ottawa PC Users' Group or its members.