website creation program is used to create your web pages and
manage your website. These programs come in all different price and
feature levels and come in several different flavors. Currently, the
most popular type is the what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) editor.
Many of these have a user interface similar to a word processor or page
layout program. Another type is the HTML editor. These are designed
for people to prefer to create there web pages in HTML markup directly
rather than through a visual interface.
other essential ingredient is the image editing program. At a
bare minimum, you will need a program that will allow you to resize
your images and save your images in "gif" or "jpeg"
format. Resizing images in you website creation program is a real no-no
and is one of the most common reasons for "page bloat". For
a review of "gif" and "jpeg" and why you need to
care about these go to optimizing images.
More advanced image editing programs allow you to do full blown image
creation, editing, optimizing and will even generate "roll-over"
effects for you.
Web Site on a Budget
Word Processors: If you are creating a personal website and don't
want to spend any money, you still have some choices. You could use
your word processor. Word 97, Word 2000 and several versions of Word
Perfect allow you to save your documents as a web page (i.e. and HTML
document). Please note that your word processor will generally create
bloated pages with HTML that is not compatible with older versions of
Netscape and Explorer, so watch out!
Front-page Express and Netscape Composer: As an alternative,
you can use Front-page Express, that comes with most PCs or Netscape
Composer, which is built into Netscape Communicator. These programs
are bare minimum in features, however they are free.
Image Editing on a Budget: There is also a good chance that your
computer came with a simple user friendly image editing program such
as PhotoDeluxe. This program is more than adequate for the basic requirements
of resizing your images and saving them in either gif or jpeg format.
Alternatively, you could use shareware or freeware programs. You can
find many of these at winfiles.com.
If you plan on building anything more than a simple site you will want
to use a website creation program. In the under $100 range you have
many choices. Here are a few.
Symantec Visual Page: This program is has a clean, simple user
interface, is easy to use and has a very nice tutorial to get you started.
It has a very good core feature set: (What You See IS What You Get)
WYSIWYG page layout, HTML editing, and good site management. We highly
recommend this program.
Microsoft Front-page: We have mixed feeling about this program.
Front-page 98 has many features of a professional program but has some
serious short comings which cause us not to recommend it. Unless you
build your site from scratch, you will find it very difficult to modify
or customize the built-in themes. Second, Front-page produces web sites
that require special extensions that need to be included in the Server
called Front-page extensions. Note that Acquired Knowledge Systems Supports
Front-page extensions if you plan on using Front-page Third, many of
the whiz-bang features create pages that are not compatible with Netscape,
and there is no indication which features these are !
Front-page 2000 overcomes these objections. You can turn off Front-page
extensions, there is a browser compatibility check, you can modify themes
and create your own. If you want to use Front-page, our strong recommendation
is not to use Front-page 98 but instead to use Front-page 2000.
you want to use the software that professionals use and don't mind investing
some money you can't go wrong with either one of the following combinations:
Dreamweaver / Fireworks (versions 2.0 or later)
Adobe Go Live / Photoshop 5.5 or later
sets of programs have similar feature sets. Both combinations have been
used to build some of the finest sites on the web. Both Dreamweaver
and Go Live give you object oriented editing (like a page layout program),
WYSIWYG editing, and HTML editing. Both have excellent site management
tools. Both are run on either PCs or Macs. The differences are really
a matter of taste.
and Fireworks: The Dreamweaver/ Fireworks combo (both versions 2.0
or latter) are well integrated and extremely powerful and easy to use
once you get past the initial learning curve. Fortunately, both programs
have extremely good video tutorials to get you up and running quickly
Fireworks was designed by Macromedia from the ground up as an image
editing and creation program specifically for the web. Fireworks integrates
many features that once required several programs to accomplish. This
includes both vector (shaped base) and raster (continuous tone) image
editing, editable text, effects and very user friendly image compression.
Fireworks also works with many Photoshop Plug-ins (programs that run
inside Fireworks or Photoshop that enhance its functionality). Both
Fireworks and Dreamweaver work harmonious with another Macromedia program
called Flash. Flash allows you to build compact fast loading animated
presentations and web sites
Go Live and Photoshop: Photoshop is the number one image editing
program for bit map images. Recently, Adobe has incorporated text editing
and user friendly image compression in order to compete with Fireworks
strong web features. Photoshop is much more costly than Fireworks ($600
vs. $300). Since Photoshop was originally designed for the print world,
you can also do your non-web based image projects as well.
Before Dreamweaver came along, Go Live was the web site creation tool
of choice of many professional design firms. Go Live has most of the
same features as Dreamweaver. Here are the differences: sports the Adobe
look and feel, better HTML editing, less customizable and less extensible.
For Creating Dynamic Pages
you plan on doing an type of e-commerce yourself such as a webstore
with on-line shopping or you want to have information generated on the
fly, such as automatic responses to forms that your customers fill out
you will need additional software.
Generally, web stores run specialized programs on your Internet Service
Provider's Server known as "shopping cart programs". Automatic
responses are generally created by small custom programs running on
the server. These are often known as CGI scripts (CGI stands for common
gateway interface). Large web sites (from hundreds to hundreds of thousands
of pages) are often database driven. This means that all of the information
is stored in a database. The pages are created on the fly by filling
a page template with text and images stored in the database.
Creating Dynamic Pages from Scratch: Creating dynamic pages from
scratch requires programming still. You will need to know SQL (Structured
Query Language) to access the database and a server side scripting language
such as Perl or PHP3. As an alternative, you can use a program called
Drumbeat 2000 which allows you to create Database Driven sites without
programming. This program has a fairly steep learning curve.
A Simpler Alternative: If you want to do a webstore yourself
but don't have the time or inclination to learn web programming, we
offer a simple alternative that requires no programming experience or
web design skill at all. Our full featured webstore creator allows you
to create an attractive webstore which will allow your customers to
purchase with their credit cards on-line over our secure server. The
powerful site administration tool allows you to easily add or subtract
products, change prices and retrieve customer orders. Click
Here for more information.