Web Page Authoring Tools
Sometimes WYS isn't Quite
If you're just getting started with web
design, you really should check out our HTML
page for some links and recommended reading. If you're anxious
to get started, there are a few things you can do to begin
learning. If you use a PC and have Internet Explorer installed,
there's a fairly good chance you have "FrontPage Express"
installed, and don't even realise it. Go to START> PROGRAMS>
INTERNET EXPLORER> FRONTPAGE EXPRESS. Open the program
and start messing around. It looks a lot like "Word".
Go ahead and design a web page. Look at the source code. Have
fun. We don't recommend you try to use it as a serious authoring
tool though, as it writes some bad code, and re-writes code
from pages designed in other programs. It's not a bad way
to get a glimpse of what goes on in a web page, though.
Getting Serious/Text Editors
If you're ready to get serious, there are
several basic approaches. For the purist, there is no option
but hand-coding. This is an admirable approach, but it takes
real study of HTML to hand-code web pages, especially if you
have complicated design ideas. If you want to try the hard-core
method, you can easily get started with another tool that's
almost certainly on your PC. If you're not familiar with "Notepad",
and if you're running Windows, go to START> PROGRAMS>
ACCESSORIES> NOTEPAD. Open it up. It's a simple text editor.
Write some HTML, and save the file by using save> save
as> save as type> all documents. Make sure to end your
file name with .htm or .html. This will save it as a web page
rather than a .txt (plain text) file. If you get serious about
hand coding, one popular commercial choice is HomeSite
"What You See Is What You Get"
tools run the gamut from evil and useless, to powerful and
essential. Some programs that use WYSIWIG to design pages
generate code that is very redundant (contributing to code
bloat), or in some cases so proprietary as to not be recognized
by browsers at all. However, the high-end software (like the
three programs linked to here) allow you to use some of this
drag-and-position designing if you like, while writing fairly
clean code. With most of these tools, we'd still avoid designing
completely with WYSIWIG features though, as a lot of tags
like <layer> are still not broadly supported by browsers,
and you can usually achieve the same results with more commonly
supported tags. There's nothing more embarrasing as a novice
designer than having a carefully designed page rendered with
all your carefully-placed layers covering other items on the
The tools here are probably the best three
choices for professional site design, for different reasons:
has become something of an industry standard. It's powerful,
flexible, writes solid code for you, has amazing search-and-replace
features, built in FTP, site-management tools, plugs in well
and has a pretty intuitive interface.
has many of the features mentioned above, and if you're working
mainly with other Microsoft applications, especially in a
corporate environment where the content is going to be served
on Microsoft Servers, it's probably the way to go. The issues
FrontPage had in early versions with proprietary code have
been done away with for the most part. Small business owners
who can't afford to hire a design company might find it useful
as well, because of its wizards and templates.
is part of the Adobe product line, well known for providing
high quality image-editing and publishing tools. The best
reason to make this application your main design tool is its
seamless interface with other Adobe tools.