Generally, this would mean making sites the hard way – by using a text editor to hand-code the necessary xHTML / CSS files; or the proprietary way, by using software like Dreamweaver, the licenses for which can be quite expensive for an educational institution and / or students to buy and use. There is an answer to this, and it is KompoZer – and it handles HTML / xHTML / CSS with ease. Not be be konfused confused with any KDE project because of the 'K' fixation; KompoZer is an HTML editor based on another open source HTML editor called Nvu (pronounced as 'en-view'), which in turn is based on the open source Mozilla Composer. The Nvu project is no longer in active development, and the KompoZer project was started as a community effort to be a successor to Nvu; incorporating bug fixes and feature updates not avaliable in Nvu. Here are the advantages of using KompoZer:
- Beginner friendly – KompoZer's interface is well laid out, and easy to comprehend for a beginner. Although it is not similar to those of its proprietary counterparts like Dreamweaver, most people would not have a problem adjusting to this software.
- Easy WYSIWYG editing – KompoZer has a WYSIWYG interface, which stands for 'What You See Is What You Get'. Basically, it means that you don't need to deal with the HTML coding, and can directly see the output on screen as it would appear to a visitor to your as and when you type content.
- Add-ons – Because of the fact that KompoZer uses the Gecko layout engine (the same one as Firefox), it is able to use the same extensions that Firefox does. Using this, the feature set of KompoZer can be expanded as per a user's wishes. For example, although ASP / JSP / PHP languages are not supported by default by KompoZer, this can be added using extensions.
- Built-in HTML Validator – KompoZer has a built-in HTML syntax checker called HTML Tidy (another open source project), which can directly upload files to the official W3Cvalidator to see if the coding is compliant to Web standards.
- Built-in File Management along with FTP support – After a site is created, a user can directly upload the site and its associated files to his / her web host using the built-in FTP manager.
You might be interested to know that most of this very website was created using KompoZer; the rest was hand-coded, or done on other open source software. As you can see for yourself, KompoZer is indeed a very capable software. People already using Linux (or thinking of switching over) can choose from many more (free and open source) web designing software like Quanta Plus (this being the most powerful of the lot), Screem, Bluefish, and Nvu (you can still download it, although it is no longer being developed). The authors of Open Source Weekend themselves have used these (not all of the other ones mentioned are WYSIWYG though), but out of the lot, none of them beats the ease-of-use of KompoZer.
We make a disclaimer here that the following tutorial will NOT teach you xHTML / CSS or web designing for that matter; because that in itself is a very vast field and beyond the scope of this website. What we will tell you is how to do things on the software, and leave you to explore and learn for yourself how to do things with the software.