A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....
Make That Web Page Spectacular May 17th, 2000
Today's column is all about enhancing your web page. Back in September, 1999 I wrote a series of columns on making first time web pages. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, since that time I have had the opportunity to create several more web pages for different purposes. And, as you might expect, with each new venture I have learned more "stuff." The things I am covering today are probably going to be confined to machines of the iMac vintage or greater. If you have a 68K machine you might be able to access all these helps, but frankly, I think it might be more trouble than it is worth to try and make it work unless your machine is fast.
Adobe PageMill 3.0
Adobe PageMill 3.0 is a software application that most likely was included if you purchased an iMac. Adobe PageMill 3.0 will automatically create much of the HTML code for you as you create your page. However, I think that if you don't have a basic understanding of HTML you will still have problems achieving your goals of making a great web page.
Adobe PageMill 3.0 Blank Page
When first opened you get a blank page. Looking across the top from left to right you see icons. The first set allow you to tab.
The "tab" function is not actually doable with standard HTML. You would think that something so basic would have been included, but it's not. These tab buttons will make your text tab, but only in Internet Explorer, so I don't really recommend that you use them.
. Second Set of Buttons
The second set are the routine icons that allow you to line things up on the left, right, or middle. The third set allows you to insert an object, create a table, or insert a line across the page
Third Set of Buttons
The next set allows you to automatically create a check box, a radio button, a comments box, a text field (user fills in information), a password field, a pop-up box, a submit button, a clear button, and a form break.
Font Size Control Buttons
The next three allow you to choose the size or kind of text you want, such as different sizes or headings, the fonts you want, and colors. The next set allow you to automatically control the size of fonts on your page.
The next set are the normal icons that allow you to bold, italicize, and/or underline words.
The last one is the function key. With this button you can flip back and forth between viewing your page as you create it or viewing the HTML code version. You achieve this by holding down the Apple Key and the H at the same time.
When I enter text or directions using Adobe PageMill 3.0, I will see something like the following on the page I am making. This is probably good place to also mention that Adobe PageMill 3.0 does not have a spell check feature so be warned.
Entering Text Using Adobe PageMill 3.0
When I flip over to the HTML version it looks like this:
One final view option allows you to see what the page looks like on the web. You can see that version by clicking once on the function key.
The last important aid is the Inspector. This option, which you find under the Window pulldown menu, allows you to set up the script for your page.
Most of this will already be familiar to you, but the background image box is a real treat. With this option you can find any kind of background design that you want on the internet and simply drag it to the background image box and it will be loaded on your page.
How Do You Do That?
If you take a moment to visit my personal web page you will see that I have a spiffy background along with some matching "stuff" to enhance it. There are dozens and dozens of set designs out on the web, available to you free so long as yours' isn't a commercial web page. Following are some of the sources I have found. This is only a smattering of what is available and they were chosen at random. Once you get into some of them you will find links to others. By the way, these links are my second favorite thing about Adobe PageMill 3.0. Under the Edit pull down menu is an option for Make Link. Highlight the word or words you want to link, choose Make Link and when the box opens, type in or paste in the appropriate URL. PageMill does all the rest.
Once you have all this stuff looking perfect on your Adobe PageMill 3.0 pallet, you still have to get it up on the net. This part of the operation of moving from a preexisting host site such as www.angelfire.com to my own space was somewhat daunting and I made several false starts. Once I learned how to do it, it was easy, but don't give up if you have problems initially.
This will require you to have a helper application or to use preexisting host.
Using Adobe PageMill 3.0 With a Preexisting Host Site
If you want to use a preexisting host site you have to do two things. Well, actually three because you have to get registered on the host site. Directions for doing that are available in the previous columns about making web pages. Assuming you are registered on the host site you would have an index.html page and a folder for saving images. Following the directions for the host site, you would go to the edit mode for your index page. Then open your Adobe PageMill 3.0 page and switch over to the HTML version. Choose Select All under the Edit Menu and then select Copy. Move back to your index page edit mode and choose Select All for that text. Once it is highlighted (meaning it is selected) click on Paste under the Edit Menu or hit the Apple key + the V key and the old text will be replaced with the new. Then upload any new images that you are using into the images folder. The last step is to go into the new HTML coding you have installed on your page and find each graphic or image and change the address so that it tells the host site where to find your images. For instance, if I am working in Adobe PageMill 3.0 on my desktop I will be pulling images into Adobe PageMill 3.0 from an existing folder so that my HTML code might say:
The colored text is just a guide, it won't be in color when you actually do it for yourself.
Just change it, and save it and then look to see if it does what you want to do.
Using Adobe PageMill 3.0 Along With Fetch 3.0.3
The only helper application I am familiar with is Fetch 3.0.3. Think of it as a tray that you use to carry a bowl of soup from the kitchen to the patio. You can download Fetch from The Mac Observer's Version Master. The cost is US $25 and I encourage you to pay it if you use it. Fetch 3.0.3. is a great application that gives you unlimited opportunities for enhancing your web page experience. However, the basics for any helper application will be similar.
Most internet providers now offer free homepage web space to subscribers. Usually about 5 MB which is plenty for most of us. The primary advantage is there are no advertisements. If that is what you want to do then take full advantage of the tech support available to you through your internet provider. Install Fetch and either try and set it up yourself or call the tech support and tell them you are using a Mac and you have registered for a web page and you need someone to walk you through the set up so that you can use Fetch. Any good internet provider will have Mac technicians on duty and these folks will know all about Fetch. If you get someone who talks down to you, or doesn't give you good help, then demand someone else. You are paying good money for your internet service and you don't have to be intimidated by some young squirt who knows more than you do about computers. When I was going through this process I actually made about 4 different phone calls to tech support for different kinds of questions and guess what, the company did not go broke because they had to help me. Once you are all set up with the Fetch connection then you move all of the pages you have created using Adobe PageMill 3.0 into the Fetch box using drag and drop. Also create an images directory to hold your images and move the images into it. There is a pull down menu that allows you to choose Create Directory.
Even though the accepted term is web page, you can have as many actual pages as you want so long as you don't exceed the 5 MB limitations. The recent web page I made for a young couple getting married has 10 pages in it. Finally, you will need to correct the address for each image just as I discussed above, only do it on the Adobe PageMill 3.0 page. To make changes on anything after you have loaded the page into Fetch you have to drag the existing page stored in Fetch to the trash and drag and drop the corrected page. I did that about a dozen times before I was really happy with my creation.
I realize that all of this doesn't explain how to make tables that appear to have depth, or add music, or some of the other creative things you see on web pages. We will cover some of them in a future column. Meanwhile, next week's column will feature a reader from Poland who has been using a Mac for so long that he had to smuggle in his first one. His story is fasinating and I think you will enjoy hearing about him as much as I have.
If you have any tips, suggestions, or other comments about this, or any other Mac topics, send them to me so that I can share them with other readers.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color,
covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.