The Technical Stuff




My objective is to make this guide accessible to anyone with a connection to the web. To achieve that, I try to not use anything but the most basic HTM tags. I test with Internet Explorer 5, Netscape 4.5, and occasionally an early version of Mosaic on a black and white screen.


This guide changes a bit depending on which browser you use. Even things like bookmarks and links are displayed differently in different browsers.


One advanced feature is being incorporated: navigation by clicking on areas of the country map. You can do that with Internet Explorer 4 or 5, but not Netscape.




This guide is a book, and the basic work has to be done in a competent word processor. Programs like Front Page and Netscape Composer may be adequate for a page or two, but certainly not for a book.


The guide started as a MS Word 97 document. When I decided to publish it on the Web, the first conversion was done with Word 97. And at that point I started subdividing the work into multiple documents.


However, Word cannot handle certain aspects of web publishing - or at least conveniently. I quickly started looking for a proper HTM editor, and soon settled on HomeSite 4 (now 4.5). It is used for the finer HTM details, and most of the time now for drafting new material. It also is a good program for actually learning about HTML. It is very flexible, allowing you to work most of the time in a design view (WYSIWYG) while easily flipping to the code view or a browser preview. HomeSite also has excellent tools for ensuring that your tags are properly completed, and that your links actually link. (But a word of warning: a couple of times I have had problems with long - over 50k - files. In design view they would not load completely, and then when I saved part of the file was lost.)


When Word 2000 was announced, much of the hype concerned the ease of use for creating Web materials. I bought Office 2000 on that basis. The results from Word 2000 were a disaster. It creates an incredible amount of code for a small amount of substance - so much code that it is impossible to edit. (This page has been left in Word 2000 format, as a sample for the curious. Look at the source code.) I quickly removed Word 2000 from my computer. (Note: Excel 2000 does what is advertised - it converts spreadsheets into HTM documents with concise coding.)


One curious problem I have had is the conversion of apostrophes to a period plus space. I am not sure exactly when this happens. I periodically search for these and correct, but you are likely to find some.




The maps not otherwise attributed were drawn by me. A few years ago I was involved in extensive map production for a project in a large city that did not have reliable maps available. I experimented with many different programs - and settled on the drawing tools in Word. The results are in no sense professional, but they are quick and do the job.


My current procedure is to draw in Word, then copy the complete image and paste to Paint Shop for saving as gif. The map is then inserted as an image in the relevant htm page. For navigation from maps, I use the "area" tag.




The photos are from a variety of sources. A few were copied from other web sites, and are so credited. I always carry a camera, for the first couple of years of this project an Olympus mju-2. Some photos are from prints, currently scanned with a HP ScanJet 5370C. Others are from digital cameras, first a very basic box camera (those can be told by the jagged effect of lines not perfectly horizontal or verticle) and currently an Olympus D-460 zoom.

For web publishing, a reasonable quality digital camera provides the best results.



Last updated 21 October 2000

Copyright Dan Gamber, 1998 - 2004
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