Help for Church Webmasters
Issue 15 09/05/02
It’s been a while since I sent out a newsletter. I’ve been enjoying the summer but now that school is back in session, I thought I should probably get out another issue.
I get asked these two questions quite often. I can’t give a definitive answer to either one in this newsletter. But here are some resources that should help you.
Question 1: Can you teach me HTML? Variation: Is HTML too hard for a non-technical person like me?
Answer 1: HTML is VERY easy. Anyone can learn basic HTML. It is good to know some HTML so you can tweak the pages your WYSIWYG editor spits out (if needed). I have found that occasionally I want to edit the HTML by hand as that is much easier than trying to get it just right in the GUI of FrontPage or DreamWeaver. This usually occurs when I am trying to do something very specific, like get a table to lay out just so.
Instead of trying to teach HTML in this newsletter, here are some pages that will help you learn on your own. Some of these tutorials are very similar, but we all learn a little differently. So maybe this variation will help you find one that is just right for you.
http://www.gettingstarted.net/ - Basic web development
http://builder.cnet.com/webbuilding/0-3881.html - Basic and Advanced web topics
http://www.wdvl.com/WebRef/Help/Begin.html - Beginners page
http://www.wdvl.com/WebRef/Help/Intermediate.html - Intermediate page
http://builder.com/Authoring/Basics/ - HTML basics
http://www.htmlgoodies.com/primers/basics.html - Primer on HTML
http://www.cc.ukans.edu/%257Eacs/docs/other/HTML%5Fquick.shtml - HTML Quick Reference
http://www.webteacher.org/windows.html - excellent step-by-step guide
(hint: poke around on these sites. There’s some REALLY good stuff here!)
Question 2: What is the best program to use to make my web page?
Answer 2: I don’t know which one is best. I do know which ones NOT to use. Never, ever, use Word or PowerPoint to make web pages. I know Microsoft advertises that those programs can save HTML. But you will notice that MS doesn’t make any claims about the quality of the HTML those programs generate. To be nice, the quality is less than satisfactory. It is kind of like saying “Water is water.” But some water is nice and clean and sparkling and some water comes from a mud puddle. Draw your own conclusions about the HTML generation from Word and PowerPoint.
So now that we know what not to use, the question remains – what should we use? That’s a toughie, cause we all have different tastes and abilities. Here are some suggestions…
Note Tab Light – FREEWARE. This is not a graphical editor. But it does have a fairly unique way to help you write your HTML by giving you a tool bar to insert HTML commands. Very cool. This is also a great little editor that I use for LOTS other things. It also supports tab viewed so you can edit a lot of different files at once. (The price is right!) They also make a PRO version that they charge for - www.notetab.com.
FrontPage OR DreamWeaver. Far and away the best two graphical editors. If your budget can afford one of these programs, I highly recommend them.
http://webdesign.about.com/cs/htmleditors/ - Here are some brief write-ups on shareware and commercial HTML editors. I haven’t personally used most of these, but the write-ups should help you decide if one of these editors is right for you. Many of these programs have a free trial period that can help you make a decision before you buy.
Hopefully one of these resources will be of use to you. You should definitely checkout NoteTab. It is very useful!
If you have a question or something you are struggling with, let me know and I will see if it can be covered in a future newsletter.
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the fine print…
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It would be way cool if you could mention this resource somewhere on your web page! You can link to “Help for Church Webmasters” at http://www.downeychurch.com/HelpForChurchWebmasters.html