Web Publishing for Genealogy


LINKS to Web site mentioned in the text
Where and how to ORDER
Finding Genealogy on the Internet The Genealogist's Internet
Valid HTML 4.01!
Valid CSS!

What do you need? - Software

Obviously, you will need software to create the pages, but as long as your computer has a text editor, you already have a basic tool. Your word-processor will certainly have an option to save a document as text (rather than in the word-processor's own proprietary file format), so at worst you could use that.

While it is possible to spend several hundred pounds on a sophisticated commercial Web editing tool, it is not necessary - there are freeware and inexpensive shareware Web authoring packages. And for a handful of personal pages, the expense of commercial packages may be overkill. On the other hand, for a substantial family history society site, for example, it may be well worth investing in software which provides site management facilities as well as page editing.

Most of the specialist software available to help you create Web pages is only available for Windows (Windows 98 or later), with a smaller selection available for the Apple Mac and Linux.

If images are going to be part of your Web site, image editing tools will be necessary - even if you're not going to create images from scratch, you will need to crop and resize images, convert to another file format, etc. If you have not already got a suitable painting package, there are plenty of programs which will perform the limited tasks required for Web publishing just as well as fully fledged commercial packages.[1]

If you've already got an Internet account, you will already have the software needed to connect to it. But you will also need some software to upload your Web pages onto the Web server of your Internet provider. This is normally done with a piece of software called an FTP client.[2] If your provider has supplied you with a basic set of Internet software, you will already have this. If not, there are freeware FTP clients which can be downloaded via the Web. Some Web authoring software is capable of automating this procedure, as discussed in Publishing Your Pages.

If you're reading this, you must already have a Web browser. But it's a good idea to get a copy of at least one other browser, so that you can see how your pages look with different software. The most popular Web browser by far is Microsoft's Internet Explorer, so you should certainly check how your pages will look in that. But you could also try one of the Netscape family of browsers (Netscape, Mozilla) to see if your pages look right on a non-Microsoft browser.[4]

For the same reason, you should ideally check how your pages will look on both a PC and a Mac, since there are significant differences. This is particularly important if you are using a Mac since most of your visitors will be PC users.[4]

[1] The standard professional image editor is Adobe Photoshop, but this is both too expensive and unnecessarily complex for the novice web designer. Adobe Photoshop Elements and Paint Shop Pro are cheaper, easier to learn, less comprehensive but with more than enough facilities for web design. There is a free trial version of Elements , and Paint Shop Pro is shareware. Other shareware image editors will be found in software archives such as TUCOWS.

[2] FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, the standard method of transferring files across the Internet.

[3] See Netmechanic's Browser Compatibility Tutorial for a good discussion of the reasons why pages can look different for different visitors.

[4] In general, text will appear slightly smaller in a Mac browser than on a Windows browser; images will seem darker on a PC than on a Mac.

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1. Introduction