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Volume 68, Issue 155, Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Arts & Entertainment

Web pages effortless with 'wizzywig' editors

Basic skills needed to set up Web sites

By Paul Hensarling
The Daily Cougar

Everyone wants to make Web pages, but choosing a software package to work with is arguably just that: a matter of choice. Hardcore coders want to only write code. Newbies want a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get, pronounced "wizzywig") editor. The trick is to have an editor and enough basic skills to produce Web pages.

Making Web pages is a combination of skill and art. Unfortunately, newbies tend to think that the fancier their newly constructed Web page is, the better it will be. However, the skills and the artistry abounds within all of us, and it is easy to get started if we first study the tools that can be used to achieve the goal of a "professional-looking" Web page.

While there are thousands of Web page editors, including BBedit, Bluefish, Netscape/Mozilla Composer, HoTMetal and, of course, trusty text editors such as Notepad, Simple Text and Xemacs, we will focus on the offerings from Microsoft, Adobe and Macromedia. The feature list, such as automated use of databases and javascript, on these three packages go into the realm of professional-quality Web page manufacturing. 

These "wizzywig" editors will help everyone from the total novice to the seasoned programmer design and build a Web page quickly. All three still have a code editor so that anyone can tweak out the code.

Frontpage is the most contrary of the three. It needs a lot of unnecessary items, such as Microsoft Server Extensions and "bots" that the Microsoft-instituted Frontpage wants to add and use to work.

GoLive from Adobe is in a lot of ways a better product than Frontpage. It will also import a Photoshop file and open it as a Web page. GoLive also integrates with Photoshop and other Adobe tools, so images can be edited from within GoLive.

The most mature package of the three is Macromedia's Dreamweaver MX. In addition to being a top-quality "wizzywig" editor, it has incorporated the Allaire Homesite editor within it. This code editor is close to being as good as Visual InterDev (a code editor programming environment from Microsoft). Integration with other Macromedia products, such as the image editor Fireworks MX and the vector editor Freehand, is seamless.

If you want to build Web pages, you have to know basic design skills. Having a great editor cuts down on the build time. But a real artist must know basic design skills and be technical enough to do some coding if necessary. 

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