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Quarterdeck WebAuthor 1.0
(for Word for Windows 6.0)

Write HTML home pages without having to learn HTML!

Review by: Raul L. Santiago

WebAuthor Quarterdeck's WebAuthor for Word is an Internet HyperText Markup Language (HTML) authoring tool. It works as an add-on tool for Microsoft's Word for Windows 6.0. Using this software, you can create home pages (hypertext documents) that can be read by browsers, such as Quarterdeck's Mosaic or Netscape's Navigator, over the World Wide Web (WWW). It is compatible with the HTML specification version 2.0. Once installed, you run it from the tools pull-down menu of Word.

 The beauty of the WWW is in the hypertext links that connect you to other documents on the web, which connects you to other documents on the web, which connects you to other documents... (get the picture?). With WebAuthor, you don't have to manually enter HTML codes, called tags. If you're familiar with Word, you're halfway there. You view documents in "browser-ready" form, including graphics and hypertext links. You can use Word's spell checker, thesaurus, and other tools.You can even create forms, the trick is getting the input processed on your Internet Service providers server. That's another story. WebAuthor for Word is intended for anybody who wants to publish on the WWW, but doesn't want to learn HTML. Professional HTML writers would probably need the tools available in other high-end packages such as HoT MetaL Pro or Hot Dog Pro.

 To run WebAuthor you need Windows 3.x, Microsoft Word for Window's 6.0, 1mb of hard disk space, and at least 4mb of RAM, 8mb is better. The installation was a snap. WebAuthor comes on one 3.5 inch high density floppy. It uses the standard Windows install routine. I loaded it on a 486DX 33mhz, with 12mb of RAM, running Windows 3.1. The only problem I had running it was it couldn't keep up with the backspace keys I hit and of course I ended up backspacing over stuff I really didn't want to.

 The software is pretty intuitive if you've worked with styles in Word. HTML tags are applied (in the background) to the text that you have applied a style to. I didn't have any problems adding headings (H1, H2, tags) or normal text. I started an unordered list (bulleted list) and couldn't figure out how to end it (couldn't figure out what to search for in help either). I finally figured it out, after several attempts of backspacing and hard returns. I basically just selected the "normal" text style and it ended my list.

 Adding images is a snap. Once you've got them scanned or converted to a format like JPEG or GIF, WebAuthor has a nice browser tool to add inline images. If you decide to move the image to a different directory, like I did, you'll get a nice error message. Creating and maintaining hypertext links is done in an address book, which is a nice feature.

 The documentation is good. There is a nice overview of the WWW and of HTML. There is online help and a tutorial that Quarterdeck recommends you run to familiarize yourself with the product. Which, of course I didn't, but I don't read assembly instructions at Christmas either. You want to play with your new toys, you don't want to spend a lot of time reading.

 Do you need a special tool like WebAuthor to create HTML? The answer is no. You can create HTML in Windows Notepad or in Windows Write. HTML tags are saved as ASCII text files with a .HTM extension. However, if you decide to write your own, you may leave yourself open to typing invalid tags. WebAuthor for Word has a really nice feature that validates your tags when you go to save the file. Any errors it finds in the tags or syntax are explained and you are given a chance to correct them or to let the program correct them for you. This is a great feature if you want to write valid version 2.0 HTML, not-so-great if you want to use Netscape or Microsoft extensions like blink or FONT.

 One feature I wish it had would be the ability to actually toggle the view from "browser ready" to "show tags". I am a big fan of WordPerfect's reveal codes. I like to see the codes and make changes in that mode. Unfortunately, you can't in this program. Maybe in version 2.0. Another thing I wasn't to crazy about is you can't open existing Word documents to convert them to HTML. You can only create new documents or import existing HTML documents. There's probably a program available on the internet to convert Word documents to HTML. Does anybody know of one?

 I really like the ease of use of this product and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to write HTML documents but doesn't really want to get into HTML. The point-and-click method of HTML construction is really nice. You can publish to a worldwide audience on the web. To see sample HTML home pages I wrote using it, check out http://www.connecti.com/~sdplus/. I authored a home page for a doctor friend of mine, a family photo album, and a home page for our design business.

 Quarterdeck can be reached on the World Wide Web at http://www.qdeck.com. A trial version of Web Author is available for free downloading at this site.