Free CSS Authoring Tools (Editors), CSS Debugging Tools & Validation Tools
The rise and rapid acceptance of mobile devices as primary source of accessing the Internet has made a remarkable impact on the web browser war. More and more web browsers are implementing HTML 5, CSS 3 and other technologies to ensure flawless Internet browsing across all platforms. It is a great relief for web designers and developers as they do not have to tweak their designs for compatibility with many different types and versions of Web browsers. But all of this change can be a little challenging too. Web designers and developers are now required to mark up their design with standard practices and techniques that most Web browsers can support on many different platforms. They need to learn new techniques, follow best practices and use the latest tools to mark up their designs.
Today’s post will focus on some of the useful CSS authoring tools that Web designers and developers can use to design CSS layouts for modern browsers. Most of these tools will allow you to design basic CSS layout, test it for different browsers and then progressively implement support for different versions of these Web browsers. The idea of using CSS authoring tools for designing CSS layouts is to allow you to create a solid design with appropriate mark-up and then add advanced styling and perhaps scripting. It results in web pages that are usable by all browsers. A powerful CSS authoring tool also allows you to separate design from content and focus on designing standardized CSS layouts.
Some of the major benefits that CSS authoring tools offer are:
- Multi-browser preview
- Instant access to standard tags and attributes
- Built-in CSS validator
- Code inspection
- Auto complete
Listed below, you will find our selection of some useful CSS authoring tools:
CSS Authoring Tool for Windows & Mac – Stylizer
Stylizer is very productive CSS tool for Windoes and Mac. You can instantly switch between 12 different browsers and see how your site looks in each one of them, so you will never have compatibility issues again. Preview happens instantly, even before saving, so this will also increase your productivity by quite a bit.
Flux is an advanced HTML5 Web Design application, capable of creating stunning sites from scratch. Flux isn’t a template based solution, it’s a creative design environment. Flux has comprehensive support for HTML and CSS, including Image Maps, CSS Gradients, custom fonts, and almost everything else.
Powerful HTML5 & CSS3 Editor for Windows – TopStyle
TopStyle supports the newest versions of core standards that drive modern web experiences. You’ll get access to all the latest tags and properties, including assistance from built in tools like Insight, Inspector & validators.
Each browser might render your web pages differently. That’s why TopStyle supports the IE, Chromium, Firefox and Safari rendering engines. XRAY answers those vital questions: where is the top and left of this element? how big is each margin? what CSS selector(s) apply to this element?
Style Master is the leading cross platform CSS development tool. Much more than just a text editor, Style Master supports your workflow – including creating style sheets based on your HTML, live CSS editing of PHP, ASP.NET, Ruby and other dynamically generated sites and editing CSS via ftp.
Rapid CSS Editor
Rapid CSS editor makes it easy to create, design and edit modern CSS-based websites. Write the CSS code manually or let the style sheet editor do it for you! It is easy because of the many awesome features such as auto complete, code inspector, CSS checker and instant built-in multi-browser preview. Rapid CSS editor is designed to save you time and make your job easier.
EngInSite – Advanced, Fully Customizable CSS Authoring Tool
EngInSite CSS Editor is a fully integrated Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) development tool, designed to save your time and unleash your creativity.
CoffeeCup StyleSheet Maker creates cascading style sheets for any web browser. Dynamic HTML snippets are included, and the program supports a class and ID wizard for making your own HTML tags. The program includes 50 style sheet drop-down tags, and you can open, edit, and save files in CSS, HTML, and TXT formats.
Xyle Scope was a CSS debugging tool for web designers. It allowed you to inspect the whole cascade of applicable style rules for selected HTML elements.
Today, the functionality is superseded by Safari’s web inspector. The Company has stopped the development in 2007, and the product is no longer supported. The last stable version can still be downloaded here. It might or might not work on your system.
SimpleCSS – A Free CSS Authoring Tool
SimpleCSS is another editor that will make this whole process easier. The application works both for Windows and Mac, however it doesn’t seem to be any support for Windows 8 yet, but it will probably come at some point in time. The application is very easy to use and will make the process of editing and building CSS faster, but this choice shouldn’t be your top choice if you ask me. There are other applications that are much better, but this one is free as well, so it scores some points there too.
CSSed is a small developer editor and validator, that tries to ease the CSS editing. It is an Open Source project, it means that you can download the program but also its source.
It features syntax highlighting, syntax validation, MDI notebook based interface, quick CSS properties and values insertion, auto-completion and dialog-based insertion of CSS complex values.
Coda is developed by Panic and is a web development software designed for Mac only. It focuses on functionality, but unlike many others, design is important as well and is packed by default with more than 100 features. One of the amazing features is linked in Diet Coda, which is the app for the iPad. Users having both applications running on their own devices can use AirPreview in Diet Coda as a dedicated preview app. This means that you code on your Mac and preview on your iPad instantly. Now this is something no other app comes with and it is an impressive way of integrating several Apple devices.
Firebug is an extension to Firefox that allows you to edit code live and see a preview of your changes instantly. This web development tool is probably the most used app in the web design and web development world. It is really invaluable because it is great for debugging, which usually is a very frustrating process. Firebug has the power of making this process less frustrating and that’s why designers and developers love it. And if you want to hear something even more impressive, well, this tool is totally free.
Firebug Extension to Debug CSS – CSS Usage
CSS Usage is an extension for Firebug which allows you to scan multiple pages of your site to see which CSS rules are actually used in your site.
The Web Developer extension adds various web developer tools to the browser.
CSS Tab Designer
CSS Tab Designer is a unique and easy to use software to help you design css-based lists and tabs visually and without any programming knowledge required!
Notepad++ is a free source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License.
Based on the powerful editing component Scintilla, Notepad++ is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size. By optimizing as many routines as possible without losing user friendliness, Notepad++ is trying to reduce the world carbon dioxide emissions. When using less CPU power, the PC can throttle down and reduce power consumption, resulting in a greener environment.
Aptana Studio is a complete web development environment that combines powerful authoring tools with a collection of online hosting and collaboration services that help you and your team do more. Includes support for PHP, CSS, FTP, and more…
PSPad – A Freeware Code Editor
PSPad is a freeware programmers editor in 8 languages for Microsoft Windows operating systems. Some features are highlighted syntax, ftp, projects and so on. Code explorer for Pascal, C/C++, INI, HTML, XML, PHP and more in development, internal web browser with APACHE support. Installation contains templates for HTML, PHP, Pascal, JScript, VBScript, MySQL, MS-Dos, Perl.
Bluefish is a powerful editor targeted towards programmers and webdesigners, with many options to write websites, scripts and programming code. Bluefish supports many programming and markup languages, and it focuses on editing dynamic and interactive websites.
Amaya is a Web editor, i.e. a tool used to create and update documents directly on the Web. Browsing features are seamlessly integrated with the editing and remote access features in a uniform environment. This follows the original vision of the Web as a space for collaboration and not just a one-way publishing medium.
SynWrite is a free source code editor, HTML editor, and Notepad replacement for Windows systems. It tries to be a full-featured alternative not only to simple Notepad, but also to such rich applications as Notepad++.
EditPad Lite is a general-purpose text editor, designed to be small & compact, yet offer all the functionality you expect from a basic text editor. It is a step up from Notepad, offering cleaner handling of large files, support for UNIX and Mac end-of-line characters, & provides a tabbed interface for editing multiple files at once.
BlueGriffon – Comes With SVG Editor
An HTML editor based on Mozilla rendering engine, currently between alpha and beta stage of readiness. Supports some CSS3 features and since recently has a built-in SVG editor.
TextMate brings Apple’s approach to operating systems into the world of text editors. By bridging UNIX underpinnings and GUI, TextMate cherry-picks the best of both worlds to the benefit of expert scripters and novice users alike.