RE: best software for web site development

Subject: RE: best software for web site development
From: Jean Weber <jean -at- wrevenge -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 13:40:03 +1000

I agree with the many people who suggest learning about web design and HTML before leaping into tools, and I'm glad others have mentioned usability issues like making the site work in any browser and with features like graphics and javascript turned off.

I'm sure that by the time I post this note, someone else will have mentioned the overall questions that anyone should ask before designing a web site: "What is the purpose of the site?" "Who is the audience?" and so on. From the answers you can begin to determine what information to include and how that information should be organized, what navigation you need, what if any interactivity you need, and the answers to many other questions. After you work out some of those, *then* you can begin to look for a tool (or several) that will help you do the job efficiently and effectively.

I strongly recommend the "Poor Richard's" series of books, which are written for non-web-savvy businesspeople and explain the questions you (or your boss) should be considering, why you should consider those questions, what some of the answers might be, and what to do next. Visit for more information on these books, including:

Poor Richard's Web site, by Peter Kent
"Geek-free, commonsense advice on building a low-cost web site," Second edition, Top Floor Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0966103203.

Poor Richard's Internet Marketing and Promotions, by Peter Kent and Tara calishain
"How to promote yourself, your business, your ideas online: geek-free commonsense advice on getting the word out in cyberspace," Top Floor Publishing, 1999, ISBN 0966103270, Review.

Some other books I recommend:
Don't make me think: a common sense approach to Web usability, by Steve Krug
Que, 2000, ISBN 0789723107. Short, easy to read, packed with important and useful info.

Mastering HTML 4 Premium Edition, by Deborah S. Ray and Eric J. Ray
Sybex, 1999, ISBN 0782125247. Yes, our own listparents. This book will overflow your brain but by golly you'll understand what's going on in HTML once you work your way through it.

HTML 4 for dummies: quick reference, by Deborah S. Ray and Eric J. Ray
IDG Books, 2000, ISBN 0764507214. I use this all the time as a memory-jogger, and the overview explanations are good too. It doesn't cover everything but it's small enough to carry around with a laptop computer -- very useful for me!

Web style guide, by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton
"Basic design principles for creating Web sites," Yale University Press, 1999, ISBN 0300076754. All this stuff is on the web, but this book pulls it together into one handy, small volume.

I've got some others listed in the Books section on my website.

FWIW, my tools of choice are any good text editor plus DreamWeaver.

Regards, Jean
Jean Hollis Weber
jean -at- jeanweber -dot- com
The Technical Editors' Eyrie

Chris L says:
> My boss wants to create a web site up and has asked me
> which software would work best. I don't know anything
> about this end of the technology. I suppose FrontPage or
> HTML are the top two choices, correct?

Collect Royalties, Not Rejection Letters! Tell us your rejection story when you submit your manuscript to iUniverse Nov. 6 -Dec. 15 and get five free copies of your book. What are you waiting for?

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Re: best software for web site development (long): From: Angie F.
RE: best software for web site development: From: Richard Smith

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