Options for Creating and Maintaining Web Documents
Sooner or later, many teachers and students want to create their own Web documents and publish them on the Web. Doing so requires some knowledge about Web documents, how they are created and maintained, and ways that these documents can be managed. This activity provides insight into different ways of creating and maintaining Web documents, including strengths and weaknesses of each option. This activity is a good starting point for teachers and students who wish to begin creating their own Web documents.
- Learn different ways to create and edit Web documents.
- Choose an approach to Web document development.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as a World Wide Web browser. In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: none.
- Special software requirements: none.
- Internet access: Medium-speed (28,800 BPS via phone) or higher.
There are a variety of ways to publish documents or pages on the Web, including:
- Creating and updating your document in your preferred word processor and then converting it into HTML. This process requires "converting" your word processing document into HTML and then importing it back into the word processor whenever changes are made. There are add-in programs available for many popular PC and Macintosh-based word processing and desktop publishing products (see Internet Resources below).
- Strengths: You don't need to "learn" HTML to do basic Web publishing and you can continue using your existing word processing program (if an add-in is available for it).
- Weaknesses: You must maintain your "real" Web documents in your word processor and generate the HTML whenever you make changes. If you make changes directly to the HTML files you must import them back in as HTML files. These conversion tools often lag behind HTML development by 6-12 months, meaning that you may not be able to use "newer" features of HTML, or proprietary features supported by Netscape (i.e., frames, VRML, tables, etc.).
- Creating and updating your document in Netscape Navigator Gold.
Netscape Navigator Gold allows display and editing of HTML files from within the browser program and is available for Windows/95, NT, and Macintosh.
- Strengths: You edit in the same product you "browse" or view Web documents - Netscape Navigator. Eventually, Netscape Navigator will be an all-in-one Internet tool, supporting e-mail, newsgroups, chat rooms, virtual reality, Java plug-in modules, and reading/writing HTML.
- Weaknesses: Not yet available on all platforms.
- Creating and updating your document in an HTML editor or text editor. Using this approach, provides the most flexiblity, but requires knowledge of HTML and some technical expertise. A wide variety of HTML Editor programs are available, for the Macintosh and the PC. (See the Internet Resources below for an updated list of these products.)
- Strengths: You can do anything you want on the Web if you learn how to in HTML (see next Activity) - i.e., you'll need to learn to "program" in HTML. This is how the "pros" do it, and any sophisticated Web development effort will likely use this approach.
- Weaknesses: You have to take the time to learn HTML. Those who don't want to learn HTML should choose another option.
- Creating your Web page in a beginner HTML program - such as Web Weaver or HomePage Maker (see Internet Resources below) - to generate the HTML, and then maintain it with an HTML editor or text editor (see above).
- Strengths: Easy to create your initial HTML files, since these programs guide you in creating Web documents.
- Weaknesses: Once created, this approach has the same limitations as creating your document in an HTML editor.
- Having someone else create and update your Web documents.
- Strengths: You get professional Web page design and management without having to learn HTML or do it yourself.
- Weaknesses: It's expensive, often costing $1,000 or more to create a few Web pages; also, whenever changes are required you must spend more money and go through the professional service provider.
- Choose from the options above the approach that best fits your Web publishing needs. For example, if you don't plan on doing a lot of Web publishing, there is probably no need to learn HTML, so use an option that is easiest. If you do plan on doing a lot of Web publishing, take the time to learn HTML (see next Activity) and you'll be more productive in the long run.
- Netscape Navigator Gold
Navigator Gold supports reading and writing HTML files.
Word Processing Internet Publishing Add-In Programs
Note: You must already have the main word processing programs (i.e., Word Perfect, MS Word, etc.) for the add-ins to work.HTML Editors
- Internet Publisher for WordPerfect 6.1 (Windows)
An add-in for WordPerfect that generates HTML files. Note: WordPerfect 7.0 now includes the ability to read and write HTML directly.
- The Internet Assistant for Micorsoft Word 6.0.1 (Windows/95, Windows, and Macintosh)
An add-in for Word 6.0 that reads and generates HTML files.
- HTML Author for Adobe PageMaker 6.0 (Macintosh & Windows)
PageMaker 6.0 includes a feature to generate HTML files.
- ClarisWorks 4.0 (Macintosh & Windows/95)
ClarisWorks 4.0 includes the ability to read and save HTML files.
- RTFtoHTML Translation Program (Macintosh & Windows)
A generic Rich Text Format (RTF) to HTML conversion utility program.
Simple HTML Creation programs
- HTML Editor (Macintosh)
A good HTML editor for the Macintosh.
- HTML Writer (PC/Windows)
A basic HTML editor for PC/Windows environments.
- YAHOO site
YAHOO maintains an extensive list of HTML editors for all platforms.
- HTML Web Weaver (Macintosh)
An easy-to-use HTML file creator program.
- HomePage Maker
Another automated HTML file creation program.
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