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Definition: Web authoring software

A website development system that allows Web pages to be visually created like a desktop publishing program. A Web authoring program generates the required HTML and JavaScript, and users can switch back and forth between the rendered pages and the code. At a high level, the software is judged by its design tools. At a low level, the generated documentation and code clarity determines how easily the site can be customized.

Comprehensive products can download an existing website and display it as a graphical hierarchy of pages. They can then be used to manage the site from that point forward. See content management system and HTML editor.

Sample Site
NetObjects Fusion automatically creates a hierarchy for a typical website that can be easily edited. Such programs automatically create the navigation code that links all the pages of the site. (Screen shot courtesy of NetObjects Inc., www.netobjects.com)