Platforms & Apps

The PeC Review: KompoZer is a Capable, Free Web Authoring System

KompoZer is a complete, open-source, and free web authoring system that combines web file management, coding hints, and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) page editor that is easy for non-technical site owners or designers to grasp.

The KompoZer editor has an interesting history. It is built on the work of the Nvu (pronounced N-view) Open Source Project, which has been a leader in free web authoring tools for years. But Nvu has not been updated since 2005; so in effect, KompoZer is the new Nvu, fixing many of its bugs and adding to its feature set.

Four stars In a roundabout way, it makes perfect sense that KompoZer, which is a Mozilla project, should carry Nvu’s banner forward. You see, Nvu was based on the source code for Netscape’s Composer, which was made open source with the Mozilla Project and is still available. Nvu improved Composer, and now KompoZer is improving and updating Nvu. It’s come full circle.

This week, KompoZer is the subject of “The PeC Review,” my weekly analysis of a product or service that I believe could help an online merchant improve his business. My goal is to both identify and then rate a product or service, providing good decision-making information. In KompoZer, I found one of the best free web authoring tools available, so I’m awarding it four out of a possible five stars.

File Management and FTP Capable

KompoZer has a built-in file management tool that allows you to maintain your website, including a page-heavy ecommerce operation, publishing updates in just a click, and moving files back and forth from the server via file transfer protocol (FTP).
This is an especially useful feature for managing large sites or sites that are frequently updated. For example, if you are frequently changing merchandising zones or a deal of the day section (as Jay Shaffer of Infopia recently suggested in a webinar), you can easily make your updates with KompoZer without employing a separate FTP tool.

Tabbed Document View

When tabs came to web browsers it was revolutionary. In a web authoring suite, the ability to tab is far more common, and all of the best tools include it; but tabs are an exception in a free tool. KompoZer’s tabs just make it easier to move back and forth from one page to the next, and to create PHP functions, external JavaScripts, or even external CSS.


For someone new to XHTML (extensible hypertext markup language), CSS (cascading style sheets), or other web languages, KompoZer can be a lifesaver. The tool’s WYSIWYG editor works like a word processor. A non-technical designer can type just like she was writing a letter, paste in images, color text, and generally create a web page without coding a single character.

You could even use KompoZer to learn XHTML, toggling between the design view and the underlying code.

Bottom Line

KompoZer seems to focus on function while remaining a relatively light and fast tool. You won’t find some of the bells and whistles, but you will find useful tools that are easy to work with. Its WYSIWYG, design view and FTP file management capabilities makes KompoZer a capable professional web authoring system worth of four stars in this “The PeC Review.”

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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