Web publishing and tools


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Web publishing and tools

  1. 1. Web Publishing Web publishing, or "online publishing," is the process of publishing content on the Internet. It includes creating and uploading websites, updating webpages, and posting blogs online. The published content may include text, images, videos, and other types of media. In order to publish content on the web, you need three things: 1) web development software, 2) an Internet connection, and 3) a web server. The software may be a professional web design program like Dreamweaver or a simple web-based interface like WordPress. The Internet connection serves as the medium for uploading the content to the web server. Large sites may use a dedicated web host, but many smaller sites often reside on shared servers, which host multiple websites. Most blogs are published on public web servers through a free service like Blogger. Since web publishing doesn't require physical materials such as paper and ink, it costs almost nothing to publish content on the web. Therefore, anyone with the three requirements above can be a web publisher. Additionally, the audience is limitless since content posted on the web can be viewed by anyone in the world with an Internet connection. These advantages of web publishing have led to a new era of personal publishing that was not possible before.` TOOLS OF WEB PUBLISHING Web Publishing Tools are applications that are used to design and build websites for either the Internet or an Intranet. They range from simple text editors that can generate web application code through to highly sophisticated and feature-rich web authoring packages. Some Web Publishing Tools must be installed on a workstation. Others are server-based and are accessed via a web-interface. Web Publishing Tools are also called Web Authoring Tools. There are two types of Web Publishing Tools. The first type is "code centric" and simply assists the web author to write and validate HTML code. The second type, is "page centric" and uses a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) user interface. Most WYSIWYG editors also provide the ability to add or modify HTML code directly, should that ever be required. Web Publishing Applications have become very sophisticated in recent years and can generate clean HTML code. Consequently, there is no need to write program code anymore. It is important, however, that the Web Authoring Tool does has the ability to insert additional HTML code (or scripts), on an as-needed basis. It is equally important that the "add-on" code that is inserted is not obliterated when changes are subsequently made using the WYSIWYG user interface.
  2. 2. WYSIWYG Web Authoring Applications permit the user to layout web pages, add text and graphics and create hyperlinks from one web page to another. WEBSITE CONSISTENCY When designing a website, it is important that each web page in the web adheres to a consistent design format. Not only does this improve the website aesthetics, the consistency and predictability makes navigation and site usage easier for visitors. The use of background images, colors, fonts, menus, etc. should be set once and applied consistently throughout the website. A good Web Publishing Application will provide functionality that supports and promotes website consistency. This is achieved through the creation and use of common components that are incorporated into each web page in the website. For example, common headers, footers, graphics, font sets and backgrounds should to be defined once and reused throughout the web. Web Publishing Tools achieve consistency by leveraging technologies such as style sheets, themes and embedded pages. Example of Common Components in a Website When selecting a Web Publishing Tool, the ability to reuse components is an important feature to look for. It is equally important that all people engaged in web
  3. 3. publishing make use of common components that are built. It is easy to build a poor website with a great Web Authoring Tool! WEB PAGE NAVIGATION Many Web Publishing Tools provide functionality to layout the overall structure of a website using a graphical user interface. A website layout consists of a hierarchy of web pages with the home page appearing at the top and "children" and "grandchildren" underneath. Using this website blueprint, the Web Publishing Tool is able to dynamically create navigation menus (such as the one on the left hand side of this page). In the example shown below, the Web Authoring Tool would automatically generate a menu for the home page that is comprised of three menu items: 1. About Us 2. Products 3. Services Similarly a list of products (i.e. A, B, C, D) would be dynamically created on the "Products" web page. The advantage of using a Web Publishing Tool that can generated menus is that all hyperlinks are maintained when pages are added, deleted or moved to a different location in the web. This saves development and maintenance effort and helps to prevent those dreaded "dead links"! At the bottom level of the web, it is customary to list the "siblings" in a menu to allow visitors to navigate between related pages (e.g. related products). Many Web Publishing Tools will automatically create "Back", "Up" and "Next" hyperlink
  4. 4. buttons as in the web page that you are currently viewing. Some web authoring tools will also create Site Maps (example). Web Authoring Tools will also allow you to create hyperlinks from any page in your website to a page in the same web or outside the web (example: red arrow in above diagram). DATA DRIVEN SITES Some Web Publishing Tools provide functionality to generate data-driven websites. The advantage of a data-driven website over a static website is the ability to easily update website content. Rather than having to change multiple website pages when product prices change (for example), one can simply upload a database or a file to the web server. Each of the web pages then read the product prices dynamically from that file. The pages are built "dynamically". Not all Web Publishing Applications have the ability to generate data-driven pages. Most Web Authoring Tools, however, provide functionality to add "bolt- on" code that will read and display data from a website. Products like FrontPage 2003, however, permit MS Access and XML databases to be integrated into a websites. APPLICATION INTEGRATION A new generation of Web Authoring Tools have become available which have the ability to build websites that can electronically integrate with other websites over the Internet using XML mesages. For example, a company that sells widgets internationally might want to display widget prices on their website in a foreign currencies. Because currencies fluctuate daily, it is difficult to provide accurate foreign currency prices without some integration. Using a Web Publishing Tool that supports an emerging technology called XML, a corporate website can communicate with a banking web server in real-time to obtain the required exchange rate. The website can then apply the real-time exchange rate to compute the cost of the widget in the foreign currency and display the widget price on the website. XML will play a key role in helping companies that use different technologies and different platforms to integrate electronically via the Internet.
  5. 5. What are the Various Types of Websites? Originally, websites were purely informational. Before the web was opened to the public, educational and research institutions and goverment agencies were able to make information available to each other via text-only websites. Now that we have the World Wide Web, there are more types of websites than you can shake a stick at. Here we will discuss the basic types, noting that we will not include all and that there are hybrids of all those we will discuss. The first three have very little to do with Small Business, so we will speed through them. Numbers three, four, and five can be very helpful to small businesses. The last three are essential to small business. 1. Personal Websites Your Internet Service Provider may offer you free server space for you to create your own website that might include some family photos and an online diary. Usually these will have a web address (URL) looking something like this: www.your-isp.com/~your-user-name/. This type of site is useful for a family, teenagers, grandparents, etc. to stay in touch with each other. This type is not advisable for a small business because the URL is not search engine friendly and the limited server capabilities your ISP offer may not be sophisticated enough for a small business website. 2. Photo Sharing Websites These types of website are cropping up like fleas on dog. There are web companies like,Flickr.com, Photosite.com, and Google's Picasa. There could easily be over a hundred such sites that offer free photo sharing paid for by their online advertising. Also, many digital cameras and photo printers now come with software enabling mere mortals to create digital photo slide shows and upload them to the web. 6. Writers / Authors Websites Writer's and Author's websites are part of what's known as the Writer's or Author's Platform in the publishing business. The platform includes, a website, a Facebook presence, blog, Twitter account, and the old fashioned mailing list. Many publishers will ask a prospective client about their platform. In other words, "If we publish your book, what sort of a reader base do you already have that we can count on to buy your new publication?" Fairly weighty request, wouldn't you say? For now, let's concentrate on the website part. A writers website would include a biography, a catalog of published books and works, perhaps excerpts from some works, links to publications on sites like Amazon.com, a link to the writer's blog, reviews and comments on the author's publications. You get the idea, and that is to build a following, a fan base to which future publications can be directly marketed. 3. Community Building Websites These websites build online communities of people who want to interact with other people socially or meet people who share their interests. The best known website of this type is probablyFaceBook.com. There is also Linkedin.com, and let's not forget the old MySpace.com just to mention a few. For sharing and discussing mutual interests, there are online forums for practically any subject you can think of. Forum websites can be a Basic Website Types 1. Personal Websites 2. Photo Sharing Websites 3. Writers / Authors Websites 4. Community Building Websites 5. Mobile Device Websites 6. Blogs 7. Informational Websites 8. Online Business Brochure/Catalog 9. E-commerce Websites
  6. 6. great source of information and help for the small business person. (I'm sure there is a forum dedicated to your type of business. Just do a web search for something like real estate web forum.) Now you can see this is where we start to get into the idea of "hybrid" sites. Photo Sharing sites might also be considered community building sites, much as Blogging sites are. Can Dating Sites be considered Community Building Sites, or are they E-commerce Sites. All that is up for discussion. 4. Mobile Device Websites Although in its infancy, the use of mobile devices (cellphones, PDAs, iPods, iPhones, etc) will become much more widespread and prevelent. One problem is that standard websites are difficult to view and take a long time to download on some of these devices with their small screeans and wireless connections. Websites whose pages are narrower in width and take up less bandwidth work much better for mobile devices. A new domain designation has been created to identify websites that are "mobile friendly". That is .mobi, as in www.xislegraphix.mobi, if I had such a site. If you have a small business that would benefit from being viewed on a mobile devise, you should consider investigating the possiblities now and get in on the ground floor of this trend that is only going to expand. 5. Blogging Websites People took the words Web Logs and shortened it to Blogs—online diaries, journals, or editorials, if you will. My, how Blogs have taken over the Internet. A person used to be outdated if he/she did not have a website, now having a blog is de rigeur. A blog owner will log-on daily, weekly, or whenever, and write about whatever is going on in their lives or business, or they may comment on politics and news. How wonderful the Internet is! Now anyone who can afford a blog can be self published and allow their thoughts to be read by anyone in the world who has online access.How important is blogging to the small business person? Read more about blogs and find out... 7. Informational Websites A major informational site is wikipedia.org, the online encyclopedia. And it is unique, because it allows visitors to contribute and edit articles. Now your small business may not want such a comprehensive site, but if you have information to share of sell, an informational website would fill the bill. Suppose you have a landscaping business. You could create a website that lists plants with their definitions and planting and caring instructions. This would be helpful to people, and you would use it to lead people to your nursery. Of course you could "hybrid" this site with e-commerce and also sell your plants online. 8. Ecommerce Websites Ever hear of Amazon.com? It's one of the grand-daddies of all ecommerce websites. But you don't have to be an Amazon to sell your products online. There are millions of small businesses who use their ecommerce websites to sell their products over the Internet. Just about anything that can be sold in a brick-and-mortar store can be sold online—with much less overhead! Is an Ecommerce Website right for you?