Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.


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    Chapter 2. The choice of programs

    You usually use a so-called editor to make home pages.

    Editors are programs that are especially designed to write HTML files. There are many and very different editors, but they can roughly be defined in two categories:

    ·        The graphic oriented editors

    ·        The code orientated editors

    The more graphic editors let you work in a word processing-like environment, where you only see the contents of the home page; all the codes are hidden. In the real code-editors you work directly in the codes. And that is what we are going to do in this book.

    The graphic editors

    At first glance it appears very user friendly that the home page author is spared from seeing the  ”awful” HTML tags. Therefore the graphic editors are quite useful for many beginners.

    I have written two books: ”Home pages – teach yourself” and ”Home pages with FrontPage Express” that use those types of programs. Let me show you the best known:

    Program

    Comments

    Netscape Composer

    Excellent free ware program
    for beginners.

    Microsoft
    FrontPage Express

    Free program for Windows 98.
    Fine for beginners.

    Microsoft
    FrontPage 2000

    Large and reasonably comprehensive.
    Is part of the Office suite.

    Macromedia
    Dreamweaver

    Adobe GoLive

    Very large, expensive an ”complete” programs that can make the most advanced home pages with all the new technologies.

    Figure 7. There are lots of graphics editors for HTML editors.

    The problem with the graphic editors is often that they cannot make the really ”good” HTML code.

    The graphic editors have their own way to create code, and basically it is not intended that the user needs to be familiar with the code. But most home page authors really want full control over how to format the home page. You almost always end up having to polish the code off manually. That can be quite cumbersome and time consuming.

    Therefore many choose to drop the graphic environments and work directly in the codes. That is often much faster, and you get 100% control over the home page, which is very satisfying.

     

    Figure 8. In FrontPage 2000 you work in a graphic environment – without seeing the HTML codes.

    The ”real” HTML editors

    All the graphic editors that are mentioned in Figure 7 can also work in a  ”code environment”. This means that you can enter and adjust the HTML codes directly. But the graphic oriented programs are not really designed to work directly in the code; this is more of a support function.

    So when we want to work directly in HTML you need an editor that is designed for that – and nothing else. There are scores of these editors; I will only mention a small handful that I know and can recommend:

    Program

    Comments

    NoteTab Light

    Swiss. Lightening fast, flexible and free.

    WebWriter

    Free and effective.

    AceHTML 4 Pro

    American shareware, a very thorough program.

    Figure 9. There are lots of “pure” HTML editors. They are also included in programs such as Dreamweaver (as you can see in Figure 7).

    Pure text

    In this book you will work with the free ware program NoteTab Light. That is a nice program to work with and actually just as easy to use as for example FrontPage Express.

    If we wanted an even simpler program, then we could select Windows’ Notepad. That is also a text editor, with which you can edit HTML docu­men­ts. But the disadvantage in Notepad is that it provides no help to the author; you have to enter every single code yourself. That is not the case with NoteTab Light, as you will see later. There you find lots of program functions, which simplify your work greatly.

    Figure 10. Windows’ Notepad is the simplest editor available. It can not do much else but saving text files, and I can not recommend it.

    Other editors

    My choice of NoteTab Light for this book does not mean that you locked to that program forever. On the contrary, you can easily work on the same home pages using different programs – even simultaneously. The genial part is that home page files contain only HTML, which is written in pure text. Therefore different programs can easily modify the same document without interfering with each other.

    As an example I use Dreamweaver besides NoteTab. That happens when I need specific functions, for which Dreamweaver is excellently suited. I also use the Ace­HTML editor for certain tasks, where that one is a little smarter than NoteTab. To produce buttons I often use Fireworks, which actually is a graphics program that can also make the HTML code needed for the buttons. But by enlarge you can get very far just with NoteTab!

    Working with graphics

    Since Web is a graphic medium you will probably also need a program on your pc for photo editing or picture processing. Many programs are available, and you do not have to be faithful to just one of them. Personally, I often switch between using Photoshop,
    Fireworks, Paint Shop Pro and the small and limited freeware IrfanView.

    Some tasks are so simple that it is not worth it to open a large and heavy program like Photoshop. And as mentioned, Fireworks is quite good for making ”buttons” in the home page.

    Figure 11. IrfanView is a free program that can be used for many graphics tasks when producing home pages.

    The home page for his book

    I have made a home page that contains links, pictures, code etc. – all of what you need for your work in this book.

    Now open your browser (I recommend that you use Microsoft’s internet Explorer), and enter this address:

    www.mkdata.dk/html/us

    Now you are going to get into the nitty-gritty work!

     


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