One of the first steps to making a website is of course creating it, and not every webmaster starting out knows HTML and CSS. Yes, it may surprise you but many web sites are actually made by non-programmers. Mostly I think because, programmers do not always write good content, so a competent writer can output plenty of good content, but he or she does not know how to design the web site. This is where web authoring software comes in. This allows people who can make great content, publish it easier. Although the web site that comes out of web authoring software may not be as polished or as pixel perfect as a manually coded web site, it still is a web site and it is the content that matters in the end.
There are today a variety of web authoring packages that can give you a website in a very little time. For the most part they can be divided into either one of these categories: applications and scripts.
Dreamweaver and Nvu
Applications were once the only way to make a website for non-coders. The most popular application being Macromedia’s Dreamweaver. This expensive piece of software can help you design a website in less time and has extra features for more skilled webmasters that can help with programming languages like PHP and ASP. Of course, if you can’t afford Dreamweaver, then Nvu is probably the application for you. Nvu is based on the old Netscape Composer module and does most of the basic things that Dreamweaver can do. In between Dreamweaver and Nvu are all sorts of other applications, many are HTML editors that are for intermediate webmasters.
Web Blogs & Scripts
Scripts are programs that can create entire web sites for you, once you install them and add your content. The web blog is the most famous type of script program that webmasters use. A web blog is made up of two interfaces, a backend system that allows a webmaster to administrate and add content to the blog and a front end which is the rendered web site. Even though web blogs help organize content and make easy to publish it, you still have to install and setup the weblog software to start out with. That was until services like Blogger came around, that allowed anyone to setup their own blog without needing to install anything.
Most other scripts that are not web blogs, are multiple user based. Meaning they can handle multiple authors or administrators. These scripts are usually called Content Management Systems or CMS for short. For a while the CMS was very popular, but the rise of web blogging scripts like WordPress and MovableType have made content management systems less desired by webmasters who only want to publish personal sites.
Choosing Between The Web Blog or Static Web Site
Web blogs have the advantage of easy publishing, but many webmasters still choose to use Dreamweaver to put up sites, because Dreamweaver outputs actual files that they can backup and change. Web blogs are in fact complicated and if you make a mistake and mess up their configuration, it usually means the entire site is down until you fix it. Static files from Dreamweaver won’t have that problem. Using a web blog service too has its downsides. If you depend on a free web blog service, your site may disappear overnight without explanation. Your content may be lost or unreachable in the process. It is important to note that if you value your content, you are better off setting up a proper web host and domain for your web blog. This way you have more control over your content and down times.
Macintosh based applications: