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Dated: Aug. 13, 2004
Computer Beginners Guides
WYSIWYG pronounced ("wizz-e-wig) simply means "what you see is what you get".To build your web page by using the HTML editors or build the web page without writing the entire code of the web page is called WYSIWYG. Basically You can build a Web page one of two ways: you can either write all of the HTML code yourself (using any text editor, some of which are listed below), or you can use a special HTML editor that allows you to design a page without knowing HTML.
The WYSIWYG tools tested for this article were Adobe PageMill 3.0, FrontPage Express, FrontPage 2000, Netscape Composer, and Microsoft Word97. Although these programs offer excellent tutorials and wizards to hold your hand, it's worth noting that without a good knowledge of HTML you'll only be able to scratch the surface of their abilities.
WYSIWYG programs can make the process of building a site as easy as using a word processor, providing a quick and easy route into Web publishing with no knowledge of HTML required. With many programs offering a vast selection of ready-to-roll themed templates and bucketfuls of clip art, building a site can involve little more than simply typing in your details when prompted to do so by the program's built-in wizards.
A good WYSIWYG editor should show you a representation of what the page should look like in a web browser, allowing you to edit that page in-place, just as a word processor displays and allows editing in a representation of the printed page. Using a WYSIWYG editor can make your life much simpler by taking much of the burden of writing HTML out of your hands. It can also give you an instant feel for what your page will look like, without having to wait until you've previewed the page in a browser.
It is for this reason that I recommend learning the basics of HTML even if you do use a WYSIWYG editor. If nothing else, you should at least know about the basic tags that are used in HTML, it will help you achieve a better understanding of the options in your editor and the limitations of what you can do with HTML.
Of course, it seems that using a WYSIWYG editor is smarter than learning HTML to design Web pages. What you may not know is that you may be compromising the user experience at your Web site. That is why I recommend you to learn the basics of the HTML.
Some people who have a great experience on HTML and have used the HTML editors have different opinions of using WYSIWYG editor. I don't use it [FrontPage] anymore, because it is too inflexible/automatic for my needs; e.g. it puts in tags that I don't want, or takes out ones I need, requiring lots of post-editing.
The WYSIWYG HTML editors that I have used are useless, and don't do all the things that HTML can do. Adobe PageMill is great for quick pages.... but it writes sloppy code and unless you use SimpleText or BBEdit are you able to really program or clean code up?
But if you take the opinions of those who have an extensive experience on HTML, WYSIWYG editors are tools. So treat them like tools of the trade. Don't under or over estimate their power, reliability, or code structure. Although, I must say that Macromedia Dream Weaver, especially Ultra Dev 4 have all the latest features and the latest tags that the HTML uses. Sometimes it looks very easy to design some things that are difficult in a very short span of time. If you work on developing, designing, maintaining, a Web site all by yourself or a group that agrees on everything (including the WYSIWYG editor of choice), I'd say go ahead and use a WYSIWYG editor. But always be wary of unreliable editors that don't correctly put tags or incorrectly delete tags. And the only way you may be able to know is by learning HTML. HTML is the kind of thing that'll always be there at least for a few years to come. So learn and learn well.
Until next week! Adios!
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