WWW Pages and Production

Subject: WWW Pages and Production
From: Eric Ray <ejray -at- OKWAY -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 1994 09:38:22 CDT

Kathy and all,
As others have said, creating documents for the Web is
exciting and challenging. I've done a few Web pages
(mostly by the seat of my pants rather than carefully
planned) and picked up a few useful tips.

First, make your computer do the conversion work for
you. If you develop or convert on a Windows platform, I
recommend a Word for Windows add-in template called
cu_html. It allows you to do wholesale conversions of
existing documents based on the styles in use. In
conjunction with the AutoFormat feature in Word 6, you
can produce an acceptable conversion of a flat ASCII
file in no time.

I then use a stand-alone program called HTML Assistant
for fine-tuning the formatting and adding extra bells
and whistles. This program has a file size limit of
32K, which is a feature, not a bug (well, maybe it's a
bug). If you exceed that size limit, you need to
carefully consider the usability of your final
document. A document longer than that will take "prit
near forever," as Jack's Uncle Ralph would say, to
Some of our CIS Newsletters exceed that, but I
rationalized the time savings on my part justified the
added time on the user's part for a primarily one-time
use document. I don't do that for reference

Second, putting information out just in ASCII format or
putting it out in ASCII, then converting to HTML as
time permits is doing it the hard way. Making decent
ASCII pages is a laborious process, which you can
completely circumvent by using LYNX. LYNX has a command
line switch which allows you to dump a file to ASCII
with all the formatting intact, so you have a very
nicely formatted (all things considered) ASCII file.
The command is:
lynx -dump http://your.new.url/file.html > file.txt
The new file.txt file is ready to go into gopher--you
may want to remove some of the _emphasis_ but that
isn't completely necessary.

If you have any questions about the process we use,
please let me know. If you want to check out what we've
put out there so far, our Web server is at
http://www.okstate.edu/ and our gopher is at
gopher.okstate.edu. The utilities I mentioned are all
under our gopher, in Computing Information, Selected
Software, and CWIS Tools. Sorry about the lack of
pretty formatting and names--this part is purely
functional right now. The files are self-extracting
.zip files. If you are looking for pointers to other
Web construction information, check out
http://www.okstate.edu/osumeta/html and look at the
bottom of the page.

Finally, shameless plug: a few others on this list and
I proposed a panel for the STC Conference in Washington
about using the Web as a document delivery vehicle. If
it is accepted, it should address a number of these

ejray -at- okway -dot- okstate -dot- edu

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