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Experience with one CD alternative

One of the threads on CD competitors here earlier mentioned Effective Site Studio. I took a look at this and thought it interesting, so much I bought a licence and produced a site.
For anyone thinking of taking the same route let me advise caution. What you see in local previews is not necessarily what you get when you publish. And there are huge incompatibilities with Firebird and Opera, which is odd given that ESS claims it is producing strict xhtml.
I don't know where the fault lies but I will be re-erecting my old website shortly. If anyone wants to see the ESS one it will be around for a few hours today (Monday NOv 2) - viewing in both Firebird and IE, and Opera if you have it, is very instructive.
www.davidhewson.com

David Hewson
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Well, I saw your site with Firefox and I must say that it looked very well indeed. A source view showed that it was still ESS.
I like the layout and style of your pages :)

I’m experimenting with another alternative, Orb Spinner, which let you do many of the things I miss in CD.

Jorgen B.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Uh oh, and then I encountered “The tools I use” page. Oh boy!

Jorgen B.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

OT: David, on your Tools I use page you mentioned you use OneNote and ContentSaver.  Have you looked at GoBinder from http://gobinder.com ?

It has many of the features of OneNote, plus you can capture information from a web browser or any other application that can print into a page in your binder.  All the information is full-text searchable and kept in one--sometimes huge--database file.

The best feature for writing I think is that you can import word processor files and it keeps a copy of every version automatically for you (make changes without fear of losing anything).

BTW: I noticed Mark is doing the Novel in a month thing through http://nanowrimo.org .  So am I.  Anyone else?

David Burch
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Don't know Gobinder will have a look. Had a long and helpful reply from ESS with some useful advice. Clearly 'strict XHMTL' means different things to different browsers. IE seems to interpret ESS's best. If the site looked OK in Firefox that is because I stopped centring it and set the thing left with a margin (now removed). Both Firefox and Opera set the Flash heading left and centred the rest...
Have already had first complaint from a reader in California. He's using Mac IE v4 or something. Sheesh....
If you are writing a novel in a month would you kindly schedule in one for me for the following month. Am a bit busy with all this web nonsense right now (uploading another version to see if I can tinker with it).
When I first posted I was very pessimistic about whether I could live with ESS. May be changing that opinion now - the built-in search is very useful indeed.
PS. The OneNote update can grab stuff from the web too I believe, though I prefer ContentSaver.

David Hewson
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Sorry, should have added....
>The best feature for writing I think is that you can import >word processor files and it keeps a copy of every version >automatically for you (make changes without fear of l>osing anything).

You can do multiple versions wonderfully well within Word, though few people seem to have realised. I also have automatic online backup twice day to www.capsure.com which handles versions too.
Losing stuff, though, isn't really the problem. It's creating it.

David Hewson
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Apologies again, but if anyone has an idea on this I'd be grateful. I really would like this site to centre (which it will fine under IE). But the top banner goes left under everything else for some reason. I've set the site left temporarily but I've uploaded one centre set page. If anyone has an opinion on it, particularly through Firebird or Opera - doesit work, if not, any clue why  - I'd be grateful.

It's http://www.davidhewson.com/Subscribe.htm

Thanks... DH

David Hewson
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Whew, there's an icredible amount of javascript and CSS definitions in there--all over the place: in included files, in the header, in classes, in ids, defined locally in tags.... sorry, no luck at my first go at it....

BTW: the Firefox display problems on this page: http://www.davidhewson.com/ThetoolsIuse.htm , appear to be buried somewhere in the Javascript code.  It was unreadable with Javascript turned on, but readable with Javascript off.

David Burch
Tuesday, November 02, 2004

>BTW: the Firefox display problems on this page: >http://www.davidhewson.com/ThetoolsIuse.htm , appear t>o be buried somewhere in the Javascript code. 

Hmm. I did put up a new version overnight and the only problem I can see on this page is that the menu bg colour doesn't work. But it doesn't in IE either. Thanks for looking. May well reach for CD today...

David Hewson
Wednesday, November 03, 2004

For anyone who's interested I have made considerable progress in the Firebird and Opera compatibility stakes with the help of ESS tech support. I don't pretend to understand the matter but what it boils down to is designing the page in terms of what ESS calls boxes not tables. ESS said...

>Regarding your centering problem in Mozilla and Opera, it is caused by >those browsers treating tables as in-line elements instead of block elements. A solution for this is to place them in a box (div element in HTML) which would align properly in all browsers.

Everything is now enclosed in boxes as far as I can work out. It centres and doesn't seem to bust boxes as far as I can see on a brief look. It's a lot better than it was to begin with anyway....

Thanks for your help, and your kind words, Jorgen, I very rudely forgot to say thanks earlier on when I was tearing my hair out over this thing.

As always, all feedback welcomed... www.davidhewson.com

I do intend to write a longer piece about this effort on my blog when I get the time/energy.

David Hewson
Wednesday, November 03, 2004

David,

I'd recommend (if your at all interested) Cascading Style Sheets - The Definitive Guide by Eric A. Meyer (although I found it a bit dry) or even just read up on the basic principles of CSS on the net - you'll get the "boxes" idea and how your problem occurred/was solved fairly quickly.

PNII
Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thanks but those things go way over my head. The site seems reasonably well behaved now after sorting out that issue of putting everything inside boxes. Next time round I'll know to do that from the beginning.

If there are any other budding ESS users out there may I offer one piece of heartfelt advice. Either use the templates pretty much as is or start from scratch. Trying to tweak what's there too much breaks things.

David Hewson
Thursday, November 04, 2004

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