Tools Used in Creating a Web Project
The following list contains information on the editing tools used to create this project. All are shareware or freeware, and are for the Macintosh platform.
The subject of HTML editors is always the cause of much debate. I prefer to compose all HTML files offline, using an HTML editor, then upload the finished product. For the Macintosh, I have two favorites:
- BBEdit Lite
- BBEdit is a nice, stripped down text editor for the Mac. The Lite version is freeware; there is also a commercial version. This is what is known as a macro editor: the HTML extensions are added on to the existing application. If you pay for the commercial version, you get the HTML extensions as part of the package. If you use the freeware, you have to download the extensions yourself. The freeware and HTML extensions are available on their Web pages. The advantages of BBEdit: it creates an HTML template for you, and has no file size limitations. On the downside, the freeware version supports primarily HTML 2.0 tags. The new, spiffy tags like tables and font sizes are nowhere to be found--yet.
- HTML Web Weaver
- HTML Web Weaver is what is known as a stand-alone WYSIWYG editor: What You See Is What You Get. It needs no other program to run, and supports a wide number of tags. Its friendly, icon-based interface will remind you of your favorite word processor. The disadvantages: it's a little unstable (save often--it's liable to crash!), and can open files of 32 K or less. There is commercial version avaailable, called World Wide Web Weaver, which supports many of the latest tags, and has no file size limitations. All versions are available for downloading on their Web page.
The bottom line on editors: experiment! Try out a couple (almost all, even commercial apps, offer free demos). After a few go arounds, you'll know what you like or don't like. For more information on HTML editors, take a look at Yahoo's list of Web authoring apps.
Adding images, sound, and video requires some additional tools. These are few of the most common. All are shareware, and widely available.
- Graphic Converter 2.2.2
- Graphic Converter will convert between most formats, and can be used to read in just about any graphic file and save it as a GIF or JPEG format which can then be served easily over the web. It has limited editing abilities, too, allowing you to adjust brightness/contrast, add text to, or resize an image. And you can't beat the price!
- JPEG View is a must-have for viewing images, but it, too, allows limited editing of images. Unlike Graphic Converter, you can only save images as JPEGs (though it can import other formats).
- Movie Player
- Movie Player allows you to edit Quick Time movies. If you want to create video files, keep a few things in mind:
Of all the tricks talked about here, video is the only one that entailed any real expense. If you are interested in pursuing video for your computer, get the Quick Time Utilities Starter Kit. It is a fairly inexpensive (less than $100 usually) way to get your feet wet. Movie Player, and the other applications you'll need to start editing video, are included.
- the resultant files are huge (quite often several MBs)
- you have to be able to hook a VCR or video camera up to your Mac
- creating video files makes big memory demands on your computer's memory
- Sound App 2.0
- SoundApp, by Norman Franke, will play or convert sound files dropped onto it. It has no editing capabilities, but its support of many formats makes it a valuable conversion utility.
- Sound Machine 2.5.4
- Sound Machine allows you to record large sound files (as large as your hard disk, potentially) from an outside source to your computer. It allows recording in either AIFF or AU, the two most common Web sound formats. It also allows you to change
speed, play backwards, loop sounds, switch formats and more.
- Stuffit Expander 3.5.2
- The all-important Stuffit Expander, from Aladdin Systems, allows you to expand compressed files. It can deal with almost any compression format. You'll need it to decompress any of the above downloaded apps. Its companion, DropStuff, will do -- you guessed it -- the opposite, and compress files for you.
- Ender's Realm Graphics
- A fantastic collection of backgrounds, bullets, icons and other graphics that can be used to spruce up your Web pages.
- HTML Background Color Selector
- Let this site pick your background and text colors. Select from several default colors and textures, or go to the hex code page, pick a code, then preview it.
- HTML Editors
- We created this page here at USC. It contains a collection of links to HTML editors for PCs and Macs. These editors have all been tried and information about the pros and cons of each are provided.
- Interactive Graphics Generation Page
- Tired of "borrowing" other people's bullets and bars, but don't feel like forking over the big bucks for Photoshop? This nifty site allows you (within somewhat limited peramters) to generate your very own grapics, whioch you can then download and keep.
- First rate library of shareware and freeware for both macs and PCs, from c|net. You can search for specific types of software, see what are the most popular downloads, or try out their recommended titles.
- Web Helper Applications
- From Netscape, this is a collection of helper applications for Web browsing, many of which can also be used for Web authoring. It will access most of the helper apps described earlier.
- Want to check out how well your pages are conforming to HTML standards? Plug in a URL, or HTML data and this site will return a page with your errors. You can set it to read or not to read Netscape and/or Java extensions. Warning: this can be really depressing.