Monday, February 6, 2012

Pining for a Pedigree Chart, Part 2 or I don't speak HTML

One of the benefits of using the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) sites like Blogger or Weebly is not needing to know HTML, the language used to format and create links on web pages. (Language is a key word here. We'll get back to it shortly.)

Conversely, these sites also limit what you can do. Generally each page must be created separately, links added individually. There are constraints regarding fonts and graphics. You cannot upload groups of linked pages created by a software program like Legacy. This hasn't created a problem for me as a blogger. I write an entry or two at a time. They're usually pretty free form and content driven.

The website I want to create, however, has many pages and a clear structure. There are pages with specific formats for individual biographies, for families, for locations, for events like the Civil War. Most of the information is coming from my genealogy software. The entire point of the site is the ability to easily move from page to page.

That's one of the reason's I got so fixated on the graphic pedigree chart at the top of the page. There are other reasons having to do with genetics and personality but that's another post.

Anyway, one of the key elements to my web design problem was that I don't "speak" HTML. It's a language, remember? But these sites do. And each of them has a built in translator. On Blogger there are two views when writing a post. "Compose" is the WYSIWYG editor. But if you select "HTML" you will see your post translated into HTML. On Google's Sites, which I'm using to build the website, the translator looks like this.
What this means for we non-speakers is that we have the ability to take something written in a language we don't understand (HTML) and translate it into something we can work with. I discovered this when I was entering data on WeRelate.org, the genealogy Wiki. I had trouble entering information (such a massive understatement) until I realized I could write what I wanted in Blogger and then copy and paste the HTML code from Blogger into WeRelate. HUGE timesaver. 

This time I did the reverse. I copied the HTML code from the web page created by Legacy into Google Sites and edited using their WYSIWYG editor. For those who are interested I'll lay out each step in the next post. 

There are many programs you can download that do the same thing and far more. If you Google "wysiwyg html editor" you'll get pages of links. This is a very low-tech, and pretty dumbed down approach. Just my speed. 

Photo credit Some rights reserved by Nikita Kashner

9 comments:

  1. That's a really good tip (copying HTML code and editing using WYSIWYG editor). I'd like to hear about your website. Who is your provider? Is there a fee? I don't know that I'm ready to make the leap.

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  2. More things to learn before leaping, for me, too! One day... in the meantime I'm trying to keep stretching in using whatever new technology I can - one new one a month or thereabouts. Cheers on your great posts on jumping through these new hoops!

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  3. And I laughed at the earring - wonderful!!

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  4. HMMMM, wondering, can I do this on Weebly

    Off to the learning curve

    Oh, by the way, BRILLIANT!!! Not one bit dumbed down. NO NO NO!!

    KISS BRILLIANT!

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  5. Loved the Blogger to WeRelate copy and paste idea (and its vice-versa). Great technique! Looking forward to seeing the finished big picture.

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  6. Wordpress has something similar for us HTML-challenged bloggers, and I CAN manage to make pics appear in the right place using HTML when they won't look right on "visual view" :-)

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  7. A bit of inspiration, that, to type into blogger and transfer to google, Susan. Several of us are very interested to read about your experiences and see your finished product.

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  8. There's a free program called Kompozer that learned me eventually. Write as usual and then switch to Source tab and see what the HTML looks like. Or copy and paste. Months later it stopped looking like Chinese. Now it just looks like HTML.

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