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Monday, August 2, 2010

My Web Site Editor

A few months ago, I wrote a program to simplify the editing of basic HTML web sites. A couple of artist friends were having problems maintaining their sites due to the complexity of available programs or the cost of hiring "experts". I put a lot of effort into making the program as simple and automatic as possible. After configuring the program for a specific site, there is virtually no thinking to be done. All the complex stuff is handled by the program. I wrote both a PC and Mac version and learned a lot in the process.

The most difficult part has been getting anyone to try it. I set up a test site that anyone can try. Just download the program and it runs in test mode accessing the test site. The Mac version virtually installs itself. The program was designed for people who have existing HTML (CSSS is fine but flash content and other complexities can not be edited)sites and want to substitute pictures and text easily. Clink on the "check it out here" link below to give it a try and please let me know what you think. Be sure to view the "video demonstration" that shows the program in action.

check it out here

Comparing E-Mail Clients

Now that I have switched, I realize that I have been suffering with garbage for many years. I was an early adopter of "The Bat" for an E-mail client. I was attracted by the many advanced features such as the ability to use "regular expressions" in searches and the availability of a portable version that I could run from any computer using a thumb drive.

"The Bat" started out as a pretty good program with a few annoying bugs such as the world's worst text editor and the inability to properly display HTML in received e-mail.

The editor was the worst problem. Inserting copied text was nearly impossible without destroying formatting. Jumping all over the document was common and I thought it was my doing, hitting hot keys or something. I spent more time correcting an e-mail than writing it. Now that I have a better program I realize that the problem was with "The Bat"s editor, not me. It interprets certain key combinations or sequences as commands to do things like jump to the end of the document or some other place that I can not even describe.

No matter what configuration choices I made, I could never properly display HTML in received e-mail. The rest of the world seemed to have no problem but I had to deal with garbled text in an HTML world.

Rit Labs never answered my support questions. I figured they would eventually sort out the bugs. They had no problem adding useless features and charging for upgrades but they never fixed the basics.

I had heard that Mozilla "Thunderbird" was pretty decent so I gave it a try. There is a little to get used to and a few features that could be better but I am generally impressed. I can't believe the time I wasted with "The Bat".

I have made a new rule and hope to remember and stick with it. If something looks like it has problems, don't give it too much time. I suffered with "The Bat" for over 7 years. It was the advanced features that kept me hooked but I never used them enough to justify the daily suffering.

Of course, "The Bat" uses its own format for e-mail and a address book entries and their feature for exporting to standard formats does not work so saving my 100,000 email was a bit of a challenge. Together with "Thunderbird"s transition tools and an inexpensive (for one user personal use) program called Aid4Mail, I was able to get all my mail into "Thunderbird". I can not get the folders arranged exactly the way I want but that is a minor issue. For some reason, copying or moving between folders takes foreeeeeeeeeeeeever. Various solutions found on the internet for creating folders and moving messages just do not work. I might let the computer take the four days that it will take to copy the messages or I might just learn to live with things the way they are.