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Web Marketing Your Business With Linux, Part 1 - page 4

Why Have A Company Web Site?

  • December 11, 2003
  • By Rob Reilly

Building pages for a web site can as simple or complicated as you like.

I edit my HTML files with three different programs. For quick edits of adding a link or changing a title, I simply use vi. I've used vi for years and it's just plain fast.

Next, for fairly fine control of the page, I use Bluefish. Bluefish lets me edit the HTML code directly, although it has a lot of buttons and automated features that save thousands of key strokes.

Recently, though, I started using Mozilla Composer. Composer is a WYSIWYG HTML editor that has lots of buttons, too, and will render the page within Composer itself. Bluefish doesn't render the page so you have to flip back and forth to your browser to see the results of your changes.

Composer is part of the Mozilla package and can be downloaded at http://www.mozilla.org. Many modern distributions load Mozilla by default, so you should be all set. If not, just download the package and install the whole thing. Composer will be included.

To use Composer, you'll just need to start up Mozilla. Then click on the little pen and paper icon at the lower left corner of the main Mozilla window. Since I use KDE, I normally put the browser in my first desktop window, then Mozilla mail in the second window and Composer in the third, for easy flipping back and forth.

Composer is similar to any other graphical document type editor. Text is highlighted by left clicking and dragging the mouse over your selection. Normal tool selections are across the top, along with boldfacing, underlining, bullet lists, centering, etc. on a separate tool bar. You can look at the HTML tags in your document, in a graphical way by clicking on the "HTML Tags" tab at the lower left corner of the Composer window. If you'd like to edit the source code for you document, click on the " Source" tag (at the bottom left).

Before we leave this section, I also wanted to mention that the applications in the OpenOffice.org productivity suite can all save documents in HTML format. It's a very useful feature, because by simply saving your OpenOffice.org text documents, spreadsheets, and presentation slides as HTML, you have a ready-made source of material to put on your business-oriented web site. Several of my consulting friends regularly save their OpenOffice.org Impress slide shows as web pages then upload them to their web sites. You should investigate this technique, because it allows you to produce a lot of nicely formatted information, using your existing OpenOffice.org files.

In Part Two of this article, we'll examine the tools and techniques for transferring your pages to the web server as well as the applications and methods for monitoring and securing your site.

Rob Reilly is a Technology Writer and Speaker, whose articles appear on LinuxPlanet and in PC Update magazine. He's particularly interested in stories about Linux on the Desktop/Laptop, recycling with Linux and portable computing. He's currently developing seminars on OpenOffice.org Impress, Road Warrior techniques and business web basics. Send him a note or visit his web site at http://home.earthlink.net/~robreilly.

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