While a basic knowledge of HTML is very helpful for troubleshooting problems
in web pages, writing HTML code from scratch is a tedious and time-consuming
process. Web-authoring programs, such as Dreamweaver or Claris HomePage,
simplify the task of building a web page by providing a word processor-like
interface for composing and editing so that the author can type, format,
cut, and paste using familiar tools and techniques without having to worry
about all the details of the underlying HTML code. Web-page design is
inherently trickier than standard word processing and learning to use
these programs effectively does require some patience and perseverance,
but for anyone who wants to create a web site of any complexity the investment
is certainly worth the effort.
The University of Michigan currently supports several different web-authoring
programs for different kinds of uses. At present, the best of these programs
for developing an ECE project is Dreamweaver, a sophisticated, reliable,
and well-designed program that offers all of the most advanced features
but is still fairly easy to learn. Dreamweaver is installed and supported
in all of the ITD computing sites on campus, as well as at the KNC in
the Graduate Library. Because of the quality of the program and the high
level of support available for users on campus, it is highly recommended
that you use this program in developing your project. Please do not, in
any case, use web-authoring software that is not supported on campus,
as it often causes problems that consultants here will not be able to
The University of Michigan ITD labs provide and support the following
web-authoring software applications:
PageMill is a fairly intuitive application that intermediate web designers
can use to create powerful multimedia projects. It offers sophisticated
graphics manipulation: users can create roll-over images, buttons, and
frames with little effort. It also serves quite well as a 'back-up'
editor to decode problematic html files.
Homepage is also easily learned and used by novices. It allows for
better graphics manipulation than FrontPage, yet its more advanced features
(such as creating buttons, frames) are difficult to master.
Dreamweaver is quite simply the best all-around web-authoring application
that the University of Michigan offers its students. Based upon the
word-processing metaphor, the program's layout is not only easy to learn
but is also quite powerful. With the help of Dreamweaver, novices can
quickly master the basics of html authoring, while more experienced
users can take advantage of its hundreds of built-in commands. Dreamweaver
is the recommended program for the development of ECE project sites.
For tutorials on using this program, see the links on the HTML
and Web-Authoring page.
For further information about Dreamweaver and campus resources for
learning the program, please see the following sites:
Started with Dreamweaver - A very helpful beginner's guide to the
most often-used features of this program.
Dreamweaver Support Center - Both basic and advanced information
about the program from its manufacturer. Includes a link to a comprehensive
tutorial for those who want a systematic and detailed introduction to
Navigation Center (KNC) - Located on the second floor of the Hatcher
Graduate Library, this facility offers free, hands-on, personalized
instruction in using the software--including Dreamweaver and Photoshop--you'll
need to create a successful web project. The KNC should be your first
stop when you're having trouble with some aspect of your site.
Workshops on Campus - ITD Education Services offers regular two-
and three-hour workshops on basic, intermediate, and advanced Dreamweaver.
This site lists the schedule for workshops being offered in the current
FrontPage is best used for web sites that are textually rather than
graphically based. First-time web site creators might want to begin
with FrontPage before trying more powerful applications. It is easy
to use, but lacks many of the graphics features found in more sophisticated
authoring software such as PageMill and Dreamweaver. FrontPage sometimes
generates code that specific browsers might have trouble reading (for
example, pages that appear as intended in Internet Explorer might appear
illegible in Netscape).
Manipulating images can be laborious in FrontPage.
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