next up previous
Next: Setting Up a Server Up: Philosophy and the World Wide Web Previous: Greater Sophistication

Saving Time

You can save a lot of time writing your HTML documents if you can create keyboard macros or if your text-editor has a special HTML mode. The text editor Emacs (`Editing Macros') does both. By defining a keyboard macro, you can insert a command skeleton with a single keystroke or two.* The HTML mode in Emacs has all sorts of special keyboard shortcuts for inserting HTML commands into the file. Here are places where you can get information about HTML editors:

Yahoo's page on HTML Editors

You can also save time if you have access to utilities like latex2html (you might find this on a local mainframe). My course syllabi were all in LaTeX , and instead of creating new HTML files by hand, the utility converted the LaTeX sourcefiles to HTML sourcefiles. Ask your System Administrator if he or she has it installed.* Those who use Microsoft Word can convert their Word files into HTML by using a special template.*

But you can probably save the most time by using a windowing system with lots of applications running. Since I created a Web site for the Metaphysics Research Lab and not just a home page for myself, I used a wide variety of application programs. Though the ones I shall describe are implemented for the NeXT/Apple environment, you should be able to find programs that accomplish similar tasks. The following main application programs (as well as several others less important programs) were always open and running in the background:

OmniWeb/Safari, for web browsing and testing local HTML documents

Emacs/Carbon Emacs, a text-editor for creating HTML sourcefiles

TeXView/TeXShop, an application for displaying DVI/PDF files

Stuart/Terminal, a terminal application for the NeXT which allowed me to use the dvips (which turns a DVI file into a PS file) and latex2html programs from the command line, a NeXT/Apple application that captures material displayed to the screen as TIFF files

GatorFTP/Fetch, a graphical environment for FTP from Internet FTP sites.

NewsGrazer/MT-NewsWatcher, for reading WWW newsgroups in the pursuit of answers to questions

NeXTSTEP/MacOS X 10.x (like X-Windows) allowed me to work even more efficiently, since it is not only a multi-windowing system, but also a multi-tasking operating system. So whenever a lengthy task was set in motion in one application, work could proceed immediately simply by clicking into the window of some other application.

The last program mentioned in the above list was particularly useful. When I discovered that Mosaic browsers were not displaying TIFF files, and our System Administrator at CSLI told me that it was because Mosaic can't read them, I searched the newsgroup (using the keywords `tiff' and `gif'). Sure enough, someone had sent a question asking how to convert TIFF files to GIF files on the NeXT, and someone else had replied, indicating that OmniImage could do the conversion.* So I had the tool that could the solve the problem already on my machine (though I hadn't known it had that capability). If I hadn't had that tool, I would have used my FTP program to try to get the tool from a public domain archive. Anyway, you might find the following newsgroups helpful as well:

comp.infosystems.www.users (issues concerning web browsers, etc)

comp.infosystems.www.providers (issues concerning info providers)

comp.infosystems.www.misc (miscellaneous World Wide Web discussion)

Of course, you may also need to consult the newsgroups devoted to the particular kind of computer and operating system that you use.

next up previous
Next: Setting Up a Server Up: Philosophy and the World Wide Web Previous: Greater Sophistication

Edward N. Zalta
Originally written: October 1995; revised February 2004.