BBEdit for websites


BBEdit is a plain text editor from the good folks at Bare Bones Software. The plain applies to the formatting of the text, not to the features of BBEdit, which are anything but plain. Unlike Pages or Word or TextEdit or many other examples of word-processing software, BBEdit does not care much about WYSIWYG document creation. But if you have one or more text files, and you need to manage them as text using Mac OS X, BBEdit is the tool for you.

According to, BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Macintosh. I concur.

After years of using BBEdit for every imaginable text-editing chore, including the creation and maintenance of dozens of websites, I discovered that there was no how-to guide on using BBEdit for this, its intended purpose.

Here, therefore, is my opinionated view on how to use BBEdit to develop and maintain static websites.

In case you are wondering, BBEdit runs on Apple computers under OS X versions 10.9.5 and later. If you don’t have an Apple computer, please go buy one right this minute. I will be here when you return. (Partial disclosure: I may own a bit of stock in Apple, Inc.)

Here are the topics I intend to cover:

About BBEdit, about me, your web project choices, and conventions used in this material.
Getting started
Creating your first HTML document, adding HTML tags and attributes, and formatting your code.
Managing a website as a project
Managing groups of files, special BBEdit features for projects and project files, and special files.
Legacy websites, normalizing the files, text conversions, and advanced find and replace considerations.
Starter frameworks
Standing on the shoulders of giants with Bootstrap and others.
Other applications you might find as useful as I do.
Advanced topics
Using BBEdit to develop with static site generators and WordPress.
Getting help
What to do when you get stuck.

BBEdit also handles text files for about a million other uses. This information deals only with a tiny subset of BBEdit’s capabilities, and probably not even everything it offers HTML editors.

Note: The use of Bare Bones Software and BBEdit are descriptive only. I am not associated with Bare Bones Software except as a customer and long-time user. No other connection with Bare Bones Software is implied or intended. This information is presented as a labor of love, and I have received no consideration from Bare Bones Software for creating or presenting it, other than permission to use certain trademarked words and images.

— Greg Raven