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"By creating we think, by living we learn" Patrick Geddes

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Tools for Web Authoring

HTML Editors (Plain Text)

Plain text editors are used to hand-code HTML. The major advantage of this approach is that you can create valid syntactically correct code (ie. code that validates to the standards and displays correctly on different browsers). Your code will also be clean (no unnecessary characters) and, as a result, your pages will download quickly because they are smaller. Many people are now using html editors, most after a bad experience with WYSIWYG web authoring software (more below)!

Recommended: MED

The software MED: Programmers Texteditor is recommended if you use an html editor (download an evaluation version from the MED website). The features of MED include:

The University has purchased some single user licences for MED. The licences are available to purchase for £15 each, a saving about £6 on the full price (plus between £5 and £10 in costs for an international transfer of money). If you would like a licence please send a chargeable account number either by email or on paper to UoD IT, Web Development, Computer Centre, Park Place (website: Service Desk). Your licence number and instructions will be sent to you via email. The software itself can be downloaded directly from the MED website. The licence can be used with one copy of MED, and it is a lifetime licence for all future versions of the software, including major upgrades.

If you already have a copy of MED you can check whether your copy is licenced by clicking on the "Help" pull-down menu, and choosing "Product Information". If it is not registerd, you will see a message like "This is fully functioning shareware......please support further development by registering." If it is registered, a "Registered by:...." and "Licence Nr:...." will be displayed.

MED can be very straighforward to use, but if you have any problems or want help using a more advanced feature please contact the Service Desk, Web Development

HTML-Kit

If you don't like MED, or want to try an alternative, look at HTML-Kit. This software is currently free, but the next build of HTML-Kit will include a commercial version for business users.

BBEdit (MAC only)

An HTML and text-editor for the Macintosh. Further information is available at http://www.barebones.com/products/bbedit.htm.


WYSIWYG

"What You See Is What You Get" software provides an interface between the user and the HTML code. Although this can make it easier to create web pages it may not all be easy sailing, and you could be counting the cost in the longer term if you want to change to another tool. Some disadvantages include:

Macromedia Dreamweaver

The only WYSIWYG tool worth mentioning here is Macromedia Dreamweaver - see http://www.macromedia.com/software/dreamweaver/. Contact Purchasing in ICS if you want to buy a licence and the CD-ROM. The manuals and a good tutorial are available on the Macromedia web site.


Converting Office Documents to HTML

It is possible to convert documents created in Word, Excel and other applications to HTML. However, the output will almost certainly need some attention, especially if the original document contained more complicated formatting eg. tables. The use of validation tools is encouraged after conversion in order to ensure the cross-platform functionality of the html used by the converting software.

The most popular tool for conversion of word processed documents is Microsoft Word which provides a "Save as HTML..." feature. Use of this feature is strongly discouraged as it creates very poor, Microsoft specific html. A better approach is to open the document in Word, highlight the text, copy and paste it into MED and hand-code the paragraphs, lists etc. However, this isn't very practical for long complex documents.

If you do use Microsoft Word, or any other word processing software to convert to HTML, try using either:


Staff Development Courses

There are Staff Development Courses on web publishing, including a course on Dreamweaver. For further information see the page on Courses for Web Authors.

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