Web Authoring Tools

Dick Bowman; November 2006

Requirements

The main objective is straightforward creation and editing of primarily text pages (with some included screenshots) to document APL-related activities.

Microsoft FrontPage

Microsoft FrontPage was used for several years as authoring tool.

ProsCons
Visual display of site content with linking.Microsoft's tiresome version upgrade procedures
Simple inclusion of things like datestamping on updateIntrusive/irrelevant "FrontPage Extensions"
Edits are to the HTML files, not some internal formatIt's from Microsoft

I got bored using it and started casting around for alternatives.

Net Objects Fusion

After reading glowing reviews some years earlier Fusion had interested me, and it became available at the right price, so it became tool of choice for a while.  Inward migration of the old pages was easy enough.

ProsCons
Visual display of site content with linking.Edits are done to a Fusion-only file, which is turned into HTML by a "publish" process
It's not from MicrosoftThe site layout display isn't very flexible
The GUI has a mind of its own about things like scrolling
I just hated using it

Maybe if I'd been working with a denser site layout, or more graphic content, I'd have liked it more.  But Fusion just got tiresome - especially with its concept of working with an internal file rather than the bare HTML.

In addition - never having been much of a person for looking at and criticising the HTML code produced by these tools - I saw that the end-product from Fusion was pretty obnoxiously verbose.

NVu/KompoZer

Using the Thunderbird/Firefox applications led me to see whether Mozilla had anything to offer, which took me to NVu.  Which I fairly soon found to be relatively dormant, but KompoZer was available as an interim until NVu development resumed.

ProsCons
It's simple to useApplying CSS isn't obvious until you know how
Edits are to the HTML filesIt seems fragile; tends to terminate unexpectedly
HTML generated is more compact than with FusionThe future is uncertain
It's not from MicrosoftThere's no visual display of site content and linking

For now, KompoZer is where I remain...

APL Tools

So far I've resisted the temptation to do much in the way of creating APL-based tools to manipulate these HTML pages, a couple of exceptions being...
If KompoZer turns out to have a likely future the temptation's there to start thinking about a site visualiser and drag-drop rearranger.  Maybe that'll happen - if it does maybe it'll grow some simplish editing capabilities.

And Finally...

Given the ongoing vogue for HTML content it's probably unreasonable to expect good tools for free.
My reqirements are probably at odds with the fashionable direction towards things like Macromedia/Flash - but it's surprising that I haven't found many "basic" site editors that stretch the one level over and beyond the "type the HTML into NotePad" approach.
If I find an editor I prefer to KompoZer, or start writing tools of my own I'll update this page.

Page created 27 November 2006

Copyright Dogon Research, 2006.  Material from the Dogon Research Music and APL Pages may be freely redistributed, but copyright is retained and attribution to Dogon Research is requested.