|Web Writer/2 v1.01||- by Heath Phillippi|
When it comes to Web page creation, there are many firmly entrenched camps. Some believe that anyone writing a Web page should know HTML codes by heart. Others see the Web as a place everyone should have access to, and therefore, Web creation should be as simple as word processing. Personally, I fall somewhere in between the two camps, and so does WebWriter/2.
WebWriter/2 (gif 9k) gracefully straddles itself between the extremities of VI and a Web publishing service for Web authoring. It is perfect for the user who wants to turn out good, consistent Web pages with a minimum of hassle, and still keep a feel for the underlying HTML code going into the page. While maybe not the easiest package to use for beginners, it may just be one of the more powerful available (especially for the meager registration price of $30).
The easiest way to tell the intent of a software package is to look at it features. And WebWriter is packed. Some features, listed in the documentation, include:
Some key features that should catch your eye are user definable tags and a default document as a template. Even with a feature list, though, you still don't get a good idea of the raw power until you use WebWriter/2.
If you have ever written just a few pages of HTML you will realize the importance of these two features. With the ever changing status of the HTML standard, the ability to set new tags becomes invaluable. Set up the syntax once and you are done. Sharp eyed readers will also realize the benefit of changing or modifying old tags. Just imagine editing your body tag so you always get a gray background, red text and green links (or whatever your standard is).
Default documents (gif 10k) are also very nice if you have more than one page and you want to keep a certain feel running through all your various links. This feature alone is invaluable for Webmasters who want to streamline their page creation, or for sites administered by more than one person.
The little features also make WebWriter/2 a joy to use. Being a true WPS aware app makes working a breeze. Too lazy to go all the way up to the menu bar to select something? Just right click and you will get a pop-up menu. Need to add a certain tag often? There is probably a keyboard shortcut. Need to preview the document you are working on? Just configure WebWriter/2 to load your favorite Web browsers for previewing, or just right click in the WW/2 window and drag it to Web Explorer. You can also drag HTML files to the WW/2 windows to preview them. Be warned though, this does not update the file name. If you have a file open to begin with, you may potentially overwrite it with another HTML.
Even with all this power, WW/2 is very easy to use. A very basic understanding of HTML is all one needs to be able to understand the menus and create their own Web pages. The menus are well thought out, easy to understand, and very usable. Settings are easy to find and understand. Tag creation and modification is easy and straightforward.
Online documentation, while complete for defining features, could be a little better. It would be nice if there were whole example pages. Sample text or more thorough explanations for common tags would also be well received.
Installation is a breeze. The only requirement is that REXX support be installed and that VROBJ.DLL is in a directory in your libpath. Simply unzip the program files to a temp directory, and run install. If VROBJ.DLL isn't on your machine, you can install it during the WW/2 install.
While initial loading is somewhat slow, there is little graphical overhead with WW/2 so expect good performance on just about any machine that runs the OS/2 System Editor well. Scrolling and highlighting is fast (even with my old 1 meg ISA video card). Document loading is also very close to System Editor's times.
The foundation is laid for a very powerful Web authoring tool in WW/2. Some power features I would like to see in future releases are CGI support and MAP support for graphics. I would even be happy if these were add-in modules that cost extra. You are already guaranteed your $30 worth with WW/2.
WW/2 is a very robust package that delivers more than enough features to make it a worthwhile addition to anyone's Web utility toolbox. Even if you use other packages for some of your more specialized Web authoring requirements, you will find use in WW/2. The ability to crank out multiple pages easily and uniformly is very worthwhile. And at $30, what more could you ask for?
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