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   #044/16-May-00


   POOR RICHARD'S WEB SITE NEWS
   Geek-Free, Commonsense Advice on Building a Low-Cost Web Site

       Editor: Peter Kent
         Top Floor Publishing
           http://PoorRichard.com/


        Over 48,000 Subscribers in More Than 100 Countries!




   ~~~ IN THIS ISSUE ~~~

   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

   Beginner's Column:

       A Simple to Use Web-Store Creation Tool

   TextSoap for Windows, and Other Cleaners

   FrontPage Vs. Dreamweaver ... The Myth

   Free Book on Building Online Communities

   Huge Growth in Domain Names

   Cleaning Up Web Sites for Use on UNIX Servers -- Part II

   The End of the Internet?

   Poor Richard's Web Site and Other Top Floor Books

   Book Reviewers Wanted

   Reading Back Issues

   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
         **** IF YOU FIND THIS NEWSLETTER USEFUL ...
         FORWARD IT TO FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES ****



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   {{ Beginner's Column:
        A Simple to Use Web-Store Creation Tool }}
   ========>>>

   Those of you who have been reading this newsletter for sometime
   may know that a little over a year ago I started a business
   called BizBlast.com. I was so frustrated with my experiences in
   setting up my publishing company's Web site, and in installing a
   shopping-cart system so that I could sell books online, that I
   began a company that would help small businesses avoid the
   problems I'd gone through.

   Well, it's been a long and hard road, but after receiving $4m in
   funding from Softbank, one of the top venture capital firms
   investing in the Internet, we are finally ready to release our
   first product ... a "StoreFront Wizard" that makes creating an
   online store very easy.

   If you've looked around at other products, check this one out.
   We wanted to give people a very simple tool to help them get
   started -- it's a very easy "question and answer" tool. You just
   type in the information you want to appear on the site, then
   click on a button at the end to upload the information to the Web
   site. (And you can try it for free.) We designed it to get around
   many of the problems you may have encountered. For instance ...

   * It's an offline wizard -- it runs on Microsoft Windows
     95/98/2000. Most other products run through a Web interface ...
     they are very slow, and often get "stuck." (By the way, our
     wizard is a little over 1MB, so it's a fairly quick download.)
   * We let you take foreign orders -- most systems, probably 95%,
     don't provide the ability to differentiate shipping methods so
     you can charge different prices according to the country you're
     shipping to. Ours does, so you don't have to throw away one
     order in five!
   * We provide _lots_ of ways to charge for shipping -- flat fee,
     percentage, flat fee or percentage depending on country, notify
     the buyer of the cost before shipping, or custom-build a list of
     shipping methods. And you can combine per-order charges with
     per-item charges, too.
   * The store comes with a full Web-hosting account, so you can add
     Web pages to the site and use your own domain for your e-mail.
     Many e-business hosting companies provide a store only, with no
     Web hosting or e-mail.
   * Not only can you pick from a selection of different "themes,"
     you can choose a structure, too -- no frames, two frames, three
     frames, etc.

   Furthermore, this is the only product I know of that allows you
   to have multiple "looks" at the same time. Although you can set a
   default theme and structure, you can also create links into the
   store that define exactly what the visitor will see when he
   enters the store. For instance, one visitor to your store could
   be viewing it in a no-frame structure, while another might be
   seeing a two-frame store. One visitor might see the "Poet" theme,
   another might be viewing the "Electronic" theme.

   You can try the BizBlast.com StoreFront Wizard for free. Download
   it, enter your store and product data, then upload it to the
   Preview server. The store will remain there for up to 15 days at
   no cost.

   You can download the wizard from here:
   http://stores.bizblast.com/wizard/download1.htm



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   {{ TextSoap for Windows, and Other Cleaners }}
   ========>>>

   In the last edition of this newsletter I talked about TextSoap, a
   "cleaner" that removes the sorts of word-processing characters
   that can mess up a document being sent through the e-mail system.
   See ...

   http://www.poorrichard.com/newsltr/043.htm#soap

   A couple of readers passed on suggestions for products that, they
   said, do the same as TextSoap, or more. Unfortunately they don't:

   eCleaner: http://members.tripod.com/schin26/
   Unfortunately this simply removes the >> symbols from e-mail
   messages that have been forwarded or replied to.

   g-man: http://rblevin.net/FreeSoftware.htm
   This is much better, and is an interesting little program that
   automatically grabs information from the Windows clipboard,
   cleans it, and places it back into the Windows clipboard.
   Unfortunately it _doesn't_ clean all the word-processing
   characters out. I tried a little test, and it did not clean out
   an ellipsis character, for instance (the typesetting character
   inserted by word processors when you type ...).

   However, over the last few weeks TextSoap has greatly improved.
   The problems in the earlier version have now gone -- it will
   clean up ellipsis, emdashes, endashes, and "control characters"
   (which covers all sorts of evils, such as word-processor bullet
   symbols), and it now has a custom feature that allows you to save
   a list of the cleaners you want to run, and do so by selecting a
   single menu option. A great little program! You can find it at:

   http://www.TextSoap.com/




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   {{ FrontPage Vs. Dreamweaver ... The Myth }}
   ========>>>

   I've recommended Microsoft FrontPage on many occasions. ... and
   have been criticized for doing so. There seem to be two main

   complaints about FrontPage:

   1: That in some not quite specific way it's not a "real"
   Web-development tool, and that ...
   2: It changes HTML code in a Web page, moving it around to the
   degree that it actually damages the page. That is, if you use
   FrontPage to open a Web page created in some other authoring
   program, FrontPage will shift some tags around.

   First, I should say that I'm only interested in FrontPage 2000.
   It's certainly true that in earlier versions FrontPage did move
   HTML tags around to suit itself, but it seems that FrontPage
   2000, in general, leaves the HTML tags around. Yet FrontPage is
   often disparaged, particularly by designers, for the damage it
   does to Web pages. What tool should you use, instead, to create
   Web page? One very common answer is Dreamweaver, a very popular
   program used by many designers.

   But what I've discovered is that in some circumstances
   Dreamweaver actually does more damage to a Web page than
   FrontPage! And here's the proof.

   I recently used Dreamweaver for a site I've been working on, and
   found that Dreamweaver "broke" a navigation bar in the top of one
   page. So I did a little experiment. I took the original page, and
   saved two copies. I opened one in FrontPage, and one in
   Dreamweaver, and made very minor changes to each, then closed and
   saved both. I discovered that while Dreamweaver did damage the
   page again, FrontPage did _not_!

   Here's the original page I was working on:
http://www.poorrichard.com/newsltr/dream/picker-preview-original.html

   Here's the page I changed in FrontPage:
http://www.poorrichard.com/newsltr/dream/picker-preview-frontpage.html

   And finally, the page I changed in Dreamweaver:
http://www.poorrichard.com/newsltr/dream/picker-preview-dreamweaver.html

   You'll notice two changes. The navigation bar at the top of the
   page is broken, a gap inserted near the left side. And, very
   strangely, the font in the table has changed from a sans serif to
   a Roman typeface.

   Furthermore, there are other problems with Dreamweaver. It has a
   number of user-interface problems. For example, how do you change
   a filename? It's not terribly clear. The documentation says you
   can click on a filename and press F2, but that often doesn't work
   (it seemed to work for files on my hard disk, but not when
   working on files on the Web server). One might expect that you
   could click on the file and select Rename from an Edit menu,
   perhaps, or a right-click menu ... not so. Turns out that you can
   click slowly twice on the name to get it to change into edit
   view.

   I also had real trouble trying to get Dreamweaver to do an
   "include," to insert text from one Web page into another --
   something Dreamweaver refers to as a "library" feature. This
   allows you to create a document once -- a price list, for
   instance -- then insert it into many places around your Web site.
   If you have to change a single item in the document, there's no
   need to find every page in the site that has the information ...
   you just find the one page, make the change, and all the pages in
   which that data has been inserted will be changed automatically.

   That's the theory, anyway. It works very well, and very easily,
   using the FrontPage Include feature. In Dreamweaver, though, it
   turns out that it's a real hassle, that the documentation fails
   to fully explain how to use the feature, and that even if you can
   get it to work it's much more complicated than the FrontPage
   Include feature. (And no, it wasn't just me trying to do this, I
   had two Web designers try to figure it out).

   I know that Dreamweaver has some advanced features that FrontPage
   doesn't, but quite frankly I wasn't that impressed. It damages
   the HTML code to a degree that FrontPage does not, it's more
   complicated to use, and it lacks some basics that FrontPage has.

   I know FrontPage is not a perfect program; in particular it has
   some nasty bugs related to form creation, which I wish Microsoft
   would get off its butt and fix (they seem to be similar to the
   bugs in the previous version). But after almost 20 years working
   in software development I've discovered that there is no perfect
   program. And sometimes the grass is not always greener on the
   other side of the fence.



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   {{ Free Book on Building Online Communities }}
   ========>>>

   As my long-term readers will know, I sometimes give away free
   books, in electronic form, in this newsletter. Here's the deal
   ...

   Top Floor Publishing will soon publish a book called "Poor
   Richard's Building Online Communities: Create a Web Community for
   Your Business, Organization, Club, or Family." The book is being
   written by Margy Levine and John Levine, best-selling authors of
   "The Internet for Dummies."

   We're looking for comments and testimonials, and are willing to
   give away up to 200 electronic copies to anyone who fits the
   following criteria:

   1: You must be willing to read the chapters we send within a few
      days of receiving them (we'll be spacing them out somewhat).
   2: You must agree to respond with your comments (good or bad!).
   3: You must be able to "unzip" Zip files.
   4: You must be able to work with .PDF files.

   If you're interested, please e-mail [EMAIL PROTECTED]

   Remember, only the first 200 will get a copy, and please, only
   request a copy if you are willing to read and comment!



       ^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+




   {{ Huge Growth in Domain Names }}
   ========>>>

   Network Solutions, the company responsible for maintaining the
   .com, .org, .net database, recently reported that of all domain
   names currently in use, one third were registered in the first
   quarter of 2000. That's 50% growth in just three months! I've
   said for a long time that we're merely at the beginning of the
   Internet, and this, I believe, confirms it.



       ^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+




   {{ Cleaning Up Web Sites for Use on UNIX Servers -- Part II }}
   ========>>>

   In the last edition I spoke about how to make sure you use the
   correct case in filenames when working with a UNIX server:

   http://www.poorrichard.com/newsltr/043.htm#begin

   A couple of readers sent in information about the following
   programs. I have _not_ examined them for myself, but you may want
   to check them out if you have a problem you need to deal with.

   LowerCase 1.0
   "This program will optionally recurse directories changing the
   filenames to lower case. Also checks inside your HTM's."
   http://www.bigwig.net/softwaredesign/free.htm


   File Renamer
   A free utility that lets you change the case of multiple
   filenames -- UPPERCASE, lowercase, Capitalized, or iNVERTED.
   http://www.zdnet.co.uk/software/free/filetools/sw7.html

   HTML Rename
   Avoid problems encountered when moving files between DOS/Windows,
   Macintosh, and UNIX file systems. It automatically changes file
   names for you (case, length, and invalid characters) and fixes
   links in HTML code, ensuring that
   your files and Web pages will work on any operating system. Also
   checks the consistency of URL links and generates
   reports on local and external URLs.
   http://davecentral.com/2362.html





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   {{ The End of the Internet? }}
   ========>>>

   The Internet, one might think, is vast, limitless, unending. Yet
   it turns out that the Internet is not finite after all ...

   http://www.1112.net/lastpage.html







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   {{ Poor Richard's Web Site and Other Top Floor Books }}
   ========>>>

   Top Floor Publishing now has seven books in print:

   The Official Miva Web-Scripting Book: Shopping Carts, Feedback
   Forms, Guestbooks, and More
   http://www.topfloor.com/miva/

   Poor Richard's Web Site, 2nd Edition: Geek-Free, Commonsense
   Advice on Building a Low-Cost Web Site
   http://PoorRichard.com/

   Poor Richard's E-mail Publishing
   http://PoorRichard.com/email/

   Poor Richard's Internet Marketing and Promotions
   http://PoorRichard.com/promo/

   The CDnow Story: Rags to Riches on the Internet
   http://TopFloor.com/cdnow/


   MP3 For Musicians
   http://www.topfloor.com/mp3m/

   MP3 and the Digital Music Revolution: Turn Your PC into a
   CD-Quality Jukebox
   http://TopFloor.com/mp3/

   Order direct from the publisher, and you'll get a 100%, 1-Year
   Guarantee. If you feel the book wasn't worth the money, send it
   back for a refund!

   And remember, these books are discounted at the Web site, and
   you pay just one shipping cost regardless of how many books you
   buy!





     ^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+^+





   {{ Book Reviewers Wanted }}
   ========>>>

   Do you review books for newspapers, magazines, newsletters
   (electronic or paper), Web sites, or other media spots? If
   so, perhaps you'd like to review one of Top Floor Publishing's
   recent books: "The Official Miva Web-Scripting Book" or "MP3
   For Musicians." Or perhaps you'd like to review "Poor Richard's
   Web Site: Geek-Free, Commonsense Advice on Building a Low-Cost
   Web Site, 2nd Edition"? Or maybe one of the other books I
   mentioned above?

   Contact Top Floor's Marketing Director, Missy Derkacz, at
   [EMAIL PROTECTED] Include your full mailing address, the
   name of newspaper/magazine/whatever in which the review will
   appear and the probable date of publication, and the editor's
   contact information.





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   {{ Reading Back Issues }}
   ========>>>

   If you need to refer to back issues of this newsletter -- and
   search the archives -- you can find them at the following
   location:

   http://PoorRichard.com/newsltr/ 


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