What You Need For Internet - Computer Software

Browser Software
You have two main choices:

Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer - both are free!

The latest version of Netscape Navigator at the time of writing is 4.71 and version 6 is being Beta tested.
Microsoft Internet Explorers latest version is 5.5. Whatever version you start off with, it's worth downloading the latest version and using it, however, you should avoid using Beta versions if you are using it in schools. The downloads can take a lot of time so you might also like to try and get the software on CD. PC magazines often give away this software.

So which do you get? Both have slight advantages and disadvantages. My personal preference used to be Netscape, but, as I suspected, Microsoft Internet Explorer has become the most widely used choice. You can have both browsers present on the same machine - useful if one or the other starts misbehaving.

Other choices are Opera, and of course Web TV.
There are others - often in a hurry we use the browser that is now provided with Edit Plus, our main text editor.

Domain Name
It is possible to connect to a computer by using it's IP address, but since humans can not remember IP addresses very well, we use domain names instead. For example a computer with the IP address is more commonly known as http://www.discovery.com. If you intend a web site for the world as a whole to use then you can buy the right to use a domain name. It will cost you approximately £80.00 (UK) or $70.00 (US) per 2 years. Domain names have a suffix which tells you the nature of the organization owning them. Examples are shown in the table below.

.com Commercial (US)
.co.uk Commercial (UK)
.edu Educational (US)
.ac.uk University (Academic)(UK)
.sch School
.net Network provider (ISP)
.gov Government
.mil Military
.org Organization
Web sites
Use a web site to provide you with a home page, i.e. the page on which your browser software starts. It is quite possible to use someone else's web site as your home page to begin with. You can create a web site of your own to provide additional information on the Internet. If your ISP does not provide free web site space, then there are several organizations which will be happy to do so. The links below are examples of some and the amount of space they offer.

Xoom 11 Mb Geocities 12 Mb Angelfire 15 Mb
Freeyellow 12 Mb Tripod 50 Mb Trailerpark 5 Mb
 zynet 5 Mb  Fortunecity 24 Mb Cybercities 25 Mb
Talkcity 20 Mb Homestead 20 Mb Virtual Avenue 20 Mb
Spree unlimited Hypermart 12 Mb Excelland virtually unlimited

Whatever you choose to put on your web site, try to include some piece of information which is unique and not available anywhere else.

Web page editor
The easiest way to construct a web page is to you a 'WYSIWYG' web page composing program. There are lots available, we've listed a few in the table below:

Netscape Composer
A versatile and easy to use product which offers lots of features but, can't cope well with JavaScript and inserts un-needed non - breaking spaces. An excellent beginner's program.
Microsoft Front Page Express
Easy to use, offers lots of features but, it writes horrible code! Looked on with scorn by professional web designers. Use this program if you hate getting technical.
CoffeeCup Free HTML
Extremely simple web page program walks you through each step of the creation of your web page. Perfect for beginners who want to get their first web page up and running fast, but complex enough for professionals who need a fast jump-start on a project. Nice feature is 60 pre - built templates.
Under Construction
$39.95 US
Easy to use web page editor which includes 30 JavaScript, 20 Java applets, and 200 animated GIFs.
Macromedia Dreamweaver $299.00 US Forget the rest - this is the best!
A very professional and versatile program which allows complex behaviours, styles, works well with frames and has all the bells and whistles, including an FTP program for transferring files to your server. Disadvantages are the price and that it is definitely not a beginner's program. Get the manuals and CD - they'll cost an extra $10.00 US.

Text Editors
Once you understand HTML, you'll want to add JavaScript and Perl to your website. To do that, you need a good text editor. It's possible to do this with the rudimentary text editors included in the packages above, or even use Microsoft Notepad but, why make things hard for yourself...

Edit Plus
$30.00 US
A versatile and easy to use product which offers lots of features and copes well with JavaScript, Perl and other programming languages. It features a clip text library which saves time and now includes a basic browser, allowing you to quickly check pages you've constructed. We use it all the time.
Ultra Edit
$30.00 US
A very powerful program offering similar features and more. It's ideal for coding. Two very useful features are that it will also serve as a hex editor (which means you can load and edit any file format), and that, two files can be compared to find differences - a boon when debugging.

Graphic Editors
Sooner or later, you'll need to change or construct an image for use on the Web. To do that, you'll need a good image editor. By far, we recommend Paint Shop Pro which offers most of the features you'll require. Newer image editors have been produced specifically for web work, and, not only alter the image but, also construct the HTML required for the image.

Paint Shop Pro 7.0
about $90.00 US
Full featured image editor which handles gif, jpeg (jpg), png, bmp and a host of other file formats. It also incudes animation shop for making animated gifs. We would be lost without it.
Adobe Photoshop
$609.00 US
A very powerful program used extensively by graphic artists and which has lots of add ons (which also work in PSP). Very expensive.
Macromedia Fireworks3
$199.00 US
An excellent program for creating vector graphics for web use. Allows you to create an entire web page - graphics, HTML and JavaScript. Quiet complex so perhaps not for a beginner. We use it increasingly.
Macromedia Flash
$299.00 US
A unique program which produces Shockwave movies. It's also very useful for constructing animated gifs. Using Flash, it's possible to construct an entire website without using any HTML, virtually. Wonderful for introduction, (welcome pages), and demonstrations.

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