No HTML Required

Build your own Web sites with easy-to-use applications

Have you been wanting to join the legion of businesses touting their products and services to the world via the World Wide Web? Have you also wanted to do it as cost effectively as possible, and be hands on in the process? Then you’ll be delighted to know there is a host of HTML editors that will help you create effective Web sites with no programming or HTML knowledge at all.

The World Wide Web (WWW) is written in Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML), a library of “tags” that, when woven together, create Web pages. HTML editors allow users to concentrate on things like page layout and design without worrying about manipulating the underlying code.

In the past year, dozens of Web editors have come to market, offering a vast array of functions. Four of the most popular are Netscape’s Composer, Adobe’s PageMill, Allaire’s HomeSite and Microsoft’s FrontPage. The first two are considered WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) and are well suited for the beginning-to-confident novice, while the latter two reach beyond the basics toward more advanced levels of Web design.

Netscape Composer (www.software-depot.netscape.com) is built into the Communicator 4.0 browser. Its intuitive, word processor-like interface is easy to navigate. It allows for simple creation of hyperlinks and tables, and importing of graphics. It also lets you preview your site, so you’ll see the same thing your visitors will. Composer operates well on lower speed PCs and Macs as old as the IIC model. The Communicator package is free, or call 800-550-5892.

The simplistic look of Adobe’s PageMill (www.adobe.com/purchase) is a bit deceptive. Creating and customizing frames is extremely easy, while basic functions like establishing hyperlinks (the highlighted text that connects Web pages) are unnecessarily complex. For sites with a lot of text that needs distinction in font size and color, this is a good choice. A toggle button allows easy back-and-forth viewing between the working area and a browser preview. PageMill gives considerable attention to the building of forms that allow for data collection from site visitors. An HTML source allows the designer to view and edit code. The program is available in both Mac and PC versions. Though it will require some time to develop a feel for the program, it’s a good value at $99. You can download it from their Web site or call 800-833-6687.

Allaire’s HomeSite 3.0 (www. allaire.com) has the necessary tools for straightforward Web page design by novices. Designers who have a working knowledge of HTML tags and who frequently use a select set of colors, form elements and other design tools will appreciate this program even more. It lets you customize a tool-bar for each set of colors, putting your most-used functions right at your fingertips. For the beginner wanting to stretch a little, the program comes with complete Java scripts (bits of code that actually program your Web site with advanced functions). Other notable features include drag-and-drop capabilities for graphics, the ability to estimate the site-loading time (also known as the weight

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