Creating Web Sites with Mac

by Paul F. Watson

Target Audience: This Article is intended for computer literate persons who are not familiar with web page creation, and would like to get started. The article focuses on Apple i-Mac users. For PC users, much of this information is helpful and Q&A #7 at the bottom is for you!

Introduction: Two years ago, I received an iMac for Christmas. I was delighted; but, soon found that my suite of favorite software was not available for Mac. In the next few weeks, I replaced all my favorites with new favorites in the Apple flavor. In general, I found the Mac products very nice; but, often quite far ahead of the PC World of Software. In the end, many of my selection were older, and all were less expensive tools that performed very well. Even the older products were in advance of my old PC software. The article below outlines:

Along the way, I will also include discussions to help you decide the approach to take when many alternatives are available.

How Difficult is Web Page Creation? Difficult comes in two flavors. First is the technical difficulty/complexity of the task. Second is the broadness of knowledge required to perform the task. For example, learning Japanese is not terribly difficult; but, the student must have instant recall of about 2500 words and many gramatic usage patterns to be effective. Thus, Japanese is quite broad, but not terribly deep in the sense that mathmatics, or C Programming are. Creating Web pages is broad but not deep. It is at the extreme "easy" end of the programming spectrum. It is really more of a "tagging language" than a programming language. But some sequential awareness of "how things happen" is needed, much like programming.

What skills are required? For basic web page creation, the following skills are required:

Getting Started: Getting started is easy and not very expensive if you already have a computer. You can create and display web pages without any special software at all; but, I will show you inexpensive software that will make the job easier. Also, it will be easy for you to view your web pages on your own computer even before you have web space (i.e. you can view web pages right off your own hard drive, using your Safari, or Camino browser).

Learning HTML the programming language of Web Pages: I recommend you buy a used copy of the book Learning HTML in 24 hours by Dick Oliver. You can find it on Amazon in "new and used" for a good price. You do not need the newest edition- an older one will be fine. Alternatively, the good people at W3 Schools have wonderful educational material for HTML and other computer languages. You can access it free off the internet.

  1. Dick Oliver, Learning HTML in 24 hours (buy it from Amazon.Com or other on line bookstores
  2. W3 Schools free Internet Teaching

Recommended Software: I recommend you download/buy the following software for your Mac. All of it is available at reasonable cost either directly from Apple, or from other reputable software vendors. All four suppliers allow you a free trial period before purchase. The items listed below are what was used to create my website and they were downloaded from the links shown. In many cases, you can buy the same products directly from Apple "App Store" if you are more comfortable.

Should I download all of the software at once? No! Don't do that!
Start with Page Spinner. This is the one to build web pages. When you start adding photos, you will need Compositor or some other photo editing software. If your web page features lots of drawings, you may need Sketch. Below, I provide a description of the four main software products I recommend: