HoTMetaL PRO 3.0 features a WYSIWYG environment, letting you create and edit Web pages without any prior HTML experience. Using a series of buttons, pull-down menus and customizable toolbars, it allows you to format text, create lists, insert various forms, choose your page's color schemes, and add images and page links. The interface is fully drag-and-drop; you can create links or insert text and image files simply by dragging them from a Microsoft Explorer window.
HoTMetaL's most notable feature is its Frame Editor. Once you've created a new blank page, select the Convert to Frames option and HoTMetaL automatically inserts all necessary coding. Open the frame editor, and you're presented with an empty, yellow-bordered template page. Just drag and drop the border from any side to create the size and number of frames you'd like. Then click inside each frame and select its contents by typing in the URL or file path in the included Source window.
Corporate template pages include examples of form searches and surveys, product listings and features, stock-quote sites and press releases. Other templates offer a personnel directory, and variations of hobby and resumé pages. The program also lets you create and save your own templates-helpful if you're trying to keep a multipage site uniform.
HoTMetaL PRO 3.0
Pros: Frames editor; range of tools; ease of use
Cons: No source code editor or management tools
Platforms: Windows 3.x, 95, NT
Disk Space: 20MB
WinMag Box Score 4
You'll Be a Web designer in a snap with QuickSite. You start with a wizard that helps create an entire Web site. The program provides three starting points, each differing in complexity, but you can go back and change elements or add detail.
While using the wizard, you name your home page, choose a background, and add header and footer rulings, bullet styles and other formatting. A tabular display shows all the pages created. You can have menu, text and form pages. Double-click on a page to add text, images and links to other pages.
You accomplish just about everything by pointing and clicking, but you can do HTML coding, too. Use the pop-up menu to enter HTML commands without syntax errors. You can also add existing HTML files to your site.
When you want to see the results of your efforts, click on a button to compile your work. Use your browser to check every page; QuickSite deposits all the site elements on a newly created directory.
Pros: Wizard; speed; testing
Cons: Interface not always intuitive
Platforms: Windows 3.x, 95
Disk Space: 2MB
WinMag Box Score 3.5
Navigator 2.0 has everything you'll need for Web grazing. Drag text, graphics and Web sites you find online or within your own files directly into your pages; NavGold manages the links. Navigator 2.0 offers full multimedia support; it accepts HTML 3.0 tags and progressive JPEGs. It offers plug-ins-from Adobe Acrobat viewers to video players. However, if you use NavGold's seductive array of non-HTML 2.0 extensions during file creation, it produces pages other Web browsers can't decipher.
NavGold's wizards and templates create pages virtually unassisted. Answer a few questions in Web Starter, enter URLs, choose backgrounds, colors and graphics, and-presto!-you have a home page.
The program requires an outside text editor, such as Notepad, to manipulate HTML code. Even so, it's easy to add and change content. If you can see it in Netscape, you can manipulate it in the editor.
Since they're online, Netscape's great tutorials, backgrounds and page elements are easy to browse. However, you must buy the text versions separately.
Netscape Navigator Gold 2.0
Pros: Easy to use; excellent help; good HTML editor
Cons: Navigator-centric; help requires live connection
Platforms: Windows 95, NT
Netscape Communications Corp.
WinMag Box Score 4.5
Commercial Web sites are apt to draw their content from existing documents. Turning almost any electronic file into good-looking HTML is Web Publisher's meat and potatoes. This program quickly and intelligently guesses the meaning of typographical conventions, even if the original author never heard of.
The software can create interfile links, based on the order of the files you set up, at the top and bottom of each file. And it can set up intrafile links to speed navigation within a file, adding them during the conversion process or in HTML created with other tools.
Although getting lost is a major problem with hypertext documents, most authors scrimp on the normally difficult task of building navigational links. Web Publisher goes a long way toward solving the problem, since it can create tables of contents for files. When we set up pages for WINDOWS Magazine's online and CD-ROM versions using Web Publisher, we can create intrafile, interfile and master table-of-contents links for 500KB of HTML (usually about 25 files) in less than two minutes. It takes another hour to reformat the master table of contents, a surprisingly simple task given its scope.
Web Publisher offers a simple page-creation wizard with a few images, links and some text. It also has a minimal HTML template to get you started.
Web Publisher 1.1
Pros: Truly automatic; navigational aids
Cons: Some functions hard to find
Platforms: Windows 3.x, 95
Disk Space: 3.5MB
SkiSoft Publishing Corp.
WinMag Box Score 4
WebAnalyzer, a Web site-maintenance utility, checks every page, file and link on a Web site, tracing broken links, missing images and redundancies, and making sure "mail to's" really work. The program generates a site map and can build a hypertext report detailing its findings.
Start a site analysis by entering a Web site's URL into a browser-like form, then wait while the program builds a skeleton diagram of the site and starts filling it in. WebAnalyzer works from the home page out, arranging thumbnails of subsequent pages in concentric circles to form what's called a "Wavefront view."
To the left of that there's a Link view. Icons indicate broken links, mail links and pages. Click on a link and you can filter out unresolved URLs, text pages, and image or audio elements from the view. Clicking on an icon brings up its URL and an opportunity to examine its properties and content.
Below, a third window lists document location, size, associated links, content type, page and its depth in the Web page hierarchy. Clicking on an item in the list highlights its associated icons in both the Wavefront and Link views. After completing its analysis, WebAnalyzer lets you save its Web inventory as a completed project for future reference.
Pros: Price; Web-site management
Cons: Complete analysis is lengthy
Platforms: Windows 95
WinMag Box Score 4.5