Best HTML Prototyping Tools

HTML prototyping tools are an absolute must in any form of web development and UX. However, what are the best ones out there? Well, that kind of depends on what you need to do. But, I’ll talk about four of them here, and give you the down low on what they do. One or two of these will definitely fit your bill. Keep in mind: Two of these products are from Adobe.

#1 – Handcraft
Handcraft is a traditionally-styled web-powered HTML prototyping tool. On some level it’s free, but the full functionality costs an SaaS subscription. It’s affordable, and this is the down to earth designer for those who don’t want to use an atomic bomb to do a fire cracker’s job. It’s easy to use and set up, and it’s intuitive with the live in-browser preview system alongside a visual and code editor. It’s mobile-friendly too, meaning that Starbucks lurkers can design websites with their overpriced tablets with even more convenience than ever. All joviality aside, this is actually a pretty good grassroots editor for general purpose web design, and if you don’t want the expense and complexity of the next entry, this is the right tool for you.

#2 – Dreamweaver
Dreamweaver is Adobe’s titanic HTML and web design system, offering visual and code editing, as well as design modes for extended web coding such as PHP, ASP, JavaScript, CSS and more. It’ a beast though, and is absolutely not mobile friendly, requiring a machine that can handle Adobe’s software API and interface complexity. It lacks Handcraft’s real-time previews as well, though a preview tab will use the native browser control (Explorer if on Windows, Safari if Mac or Linux) to render the project at its current state. This one’s expensive, but it’s the de-facto web editing program for general purpose, but may be more than you need and costlier than you can afford unless you’re a big business or have good capital.

#3 – Edge
Adobe Edge is at the moment free, and is a visual design system intended for HTML5 applet design. A lot of good SaaS has been designed with this, and it’s great for prototyping user flows. No code has to be written for this, either. It offers a suite of tools for animation, coding if you want, and much more, and is intended to be a native alternative to Flash, and features a rich real-time preview system as well. It’s great for gaming and media rich projects, and did I mention it’s free?

#4 – Solidify
Solidify is another SaaS system with real-time, clickable interactive prototyping features which center around web design and HTML, but can also work for other GUI purposes as well. This one’s a little novel and has some growing pains still, but it’s by the illustrious ZURB, who have done some impressive SaaS work in the past.
HTML prototyping tools are important, and these four cover the basic applications you could need, so it’s all about your budget, target and preferences which one’s the best for you. I am sure one of these fits your needs perfectly.