Saturday, November 22, 2008


Tools for Web Pages

When I first started creating web pages back in early 1996 I used a text editor. Now almost 13 years later I still use a text editor for my own site As you can see everything is pretty simple. No great effort was expended to select a particular font or colour. The over-riding criteria was that the site should work correctly on the maximum number of browers.

To this end one can quickly develop a list of things one should not do.

Do not:
  1. Use Flash
  2. Use animated gifs (these are really annoying)
  3. Use technology that only works in IE
Now with sites that are artistic things change a bit. Let's take mandalacreation as an example. It's far better looking than the site. If you look at the HTML files of mandalacreation you will see that the largest file is over 20,000 bytes. It's too complex to go in there with a text editor and update things especially with all the tables. In this situation I would recommend using NVU.

As one can see from the site NVU is a free web authoring program which is available for Linux, Windows and Mac. It's a relatively easy to use program in the "What You See Is What You Get" mode. Better still NVU is open source and covered under the MPL/LGPL/GPL tri-license.

What other software you will find useful depends on what you are trying to do. For picture gallerys I use Coppermine and for forums I use Drupal and your host server will need to run the open source database Mysql (along with Apache, PHP, and GD).

Things change so quickly on the Web that there's no way to keep up with all the newest technologies. My main advice remains the same: Keep things simple and provide as much useful information as possible.


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