General Issues

Why Does Web-O-Rama Have Such a Dumb Name?

When I first made Web-O-Rama available on the Internet in the spring of 1997, it was called something boring along the lines of Web Writer (I actually can't remember what the original name was). Several people pointed out that there was already an HTML editing program with the name I had chosen. When I did an Internet search, all the classy names I could think of were in use. Web-O-Rama was kind of a joke, something off the top of my head that apparently hadn't been used before. Now I'm stuck with it. It's a free program, so don't complain. It will grow on you.

Why Is This Program Free?

A good question. When I first released Web-O-Rama in 1997, it was a simple program and I didn't have much confidence in it. I had also been ripped off by a shareware HTML editing program and felt like performing a public service. Really. As with the name, I'm stuck with it, at least for now. Donations of any amount, however, are gratefully accepted. See the Donationware page for further details.

Why Doesn't Web-O-Rama Have a Built-in Spell Checker?

There are a lot of spell-checker add-ins for Visual Basic, so it seems kind of pointless for me to write one from scratch. But they cost around $150. Donations would make this kind of enhancement possible.

Why Doesn't Web-O-Rama Automatically Convert Stuff to HTML?

Web-O-Rama is a text-based editing program designed for people who like more control over their site contents than they get from programs that automatically convert files into HTML. There are plenty of HTML editing programs that will convert files.

Where's the Button to Upload the Files to My Web Site?

There isn't one. Web-O-Rama doesn't have a built-in FTP program; I decided not to take the "Swiss Army Knife" approach when writing it. There are a number of FTP programs available on the Web.

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HTML Issues

I Don't Know Anything About HTML. Can You Help Me?

No. Due to my limited free time, I have to confine myself to questions specific to Web-O-Rama. There is a superb "HTML Primer" available at the NCSA site. If you have Adobe Acrobat, a program that allows you to read files with a .pdf extension, you can download the primer from the site. I'm also recommending Alan Simpson's The HTML Publishing Bible. It's simple enough for beginners, but advanced enough to keep intermediate HTML authors entertained, too. [Unfortunately, the book has been out of print for several years. You may be able to find a used copy.]

How Will I Know if My Question is "Specific to Web-O-Rama"?

You will get an answer.

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Installation Issues

Why Can't I Get Web-O-Rama to Install?

You are probably not using an unzip program designed for Windows 95/98/2000/NT. If your unzip program says it will work with Windows 3.1, you can't use it to decompress Web-O-Rama. A handful of people have had installation problems, and the reason in most cases has been the unzip program. Visit one of the shareware sites for a 32-bit version of WinZip or whatever unzip program you are currently using.

Will Installing Web-O-Rama Hurt My System?

Probably not. Visual Basic, the programming language Web-O-Rama is written in, is a Microsoft product. The installation routine is part of the Visual Basic package. All of the support files the installation routine adds to your system are Microsoft files. So, I guess the answer depends on how much you trust Microsoft.

Extremely important installation notes: All installation routines recommend that you close any open programs before continuing with the installation. Do it! As a Microsoft-based product, Web-O-Rama has support files that are often used by other programs. Shutting down running programs will make installation easier. During installation, you may get a message that says you need to reboot the computer before installation can continue. When you choose "OK," the computer may "hang" for a minute or two (sit there as if it's not doing anything). This is normal. Don't interrupt the installation at this point. If, when your computer reboots, the installation routine doesn't restart automatically, run the Web-O-Rama setup a second time and the program will install smoothly without asking for a reboot (the support files will have been updated).

Is There Anything Special I Need to Do to Install Web-O-Rama?

Turn off all installation-monitoring programs, such as Quarterdeck's CleanSweep. Turn off their autoload features and reboot your computer. Many of these programs share files with Web-O-Rama.

If I Turn Off CleanSweep, How Will I Uninstall Web-O-Rama if I Don't Like it?

Go to Control Panel and click on Add/Remove Software. Web-O-Rama will be listed. Besides, you'll love Web-O-Rama!

What do I do if Installing Web-O-Rama Completely Destroys My System?

There are no guarantees in life.

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Programming Issues

Can You Teach Me Visual Basic?

Several programmers have helped me with aspects of Web-O-Rama, so the answer isn't precisely "no." But I don't have time to "teach" anyone programming from scratch. If you have a question, it certainly won't hurt to ask. However, parts of Web-O-Rama required dozens (if not hundreds) of hours to write, some of it through laborious trial and error, so please don't ask for big chunks of my source code. If you've got a specific question, I'll try to answer it as time permits.

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Specific Issues

Can You Explain How to Use the Form Dialog?

See HTML Issues, above. The Form dialog is the most difficult dialog to use. It's impossible to use if you don't know anything at all about writing forms using HTML. I'm trying to think of ways to make it more intuitive.

Basically, you have to use the first tab ("Form") for each form. That surrounds the form with the start form tag (<FORM>) and the end form tag (</FORM>). The Caption is optional. Most people are going to want to use the "Post" Method, the "Text" Media, and the "Mail To" Action. That e-mails the contents of the form to whatever address you put in the Address or Script Location box ("Script Location" refers to CGI scripting; if you know CGI, you probably don't need any help with the Form dialog). When you have finished making selections on the "Form" tab, you have to press the Add Form button (this is apparently not self-evident).

The other tabs are all optional, although you'll need to use the "Button" tab to add a Submit button or your form won't do anything, and at least one additional tab to add a text box for the user to fill out or a check box for the user to check or there won't be anything to submit. When you have finished the entire form, press the OK button to transfer the form to your HTML document.

Since each form is different, I can't promise that using the Form dialog will get a lot easier with use, but once you've created one form successfully, future forms shouldn't be as much of a challenge. Keep in mind that not all browsers support forms.

Will I Have Better Luck Asking About the Table Dialog?

Perhaps, but you still need to see HTML Issues, above.

As with the Form dialog, start with the first tab ("Table Style") and fill out the relevant information, all of which is optional. Keep in mind that each data cell must have font information or the font reverts to browser default.When you're finished with the first tab, go to the second tab ("Table Data") to add the actual text of the table. Type data for each cell into the "Cell Text" box. Press Add Cell after completing each cell (or hit your Return key). The information in the "Cell Text" box will move to the "Cell Data" box. Press Add Row after adding the cells for each row. The information in the "Cell Data" box will be transferred to the "Table Data" box. When you've finished adding all of the cells and rows, press the OK button to transfer the entire table to your HTML document.

You don't have to have the same number of cells in each row, but if you don't, you'll have blank cells in your table. In other words, if your first row has four cells and your second row has two, there will be two blanks in the second row. There are ways to overcome this (individual cells can be "told" to span the area of two cells), but that's beyond the scope of this FAQ. There are entire books devoted to writing tables in HTML.

How About the Frames Dialog? I Can't Seem to Get it to Work.

I can't either if I haven't used it in a while. I always have to dig out Alan Simpson' HTML Publishing Bible (unfortunately, Alan's book is now out of print) and review how to put frames together.

First, think really hard about whether or not your site needs frames. People thought they were cool when browsers started supporting frames, but now most people find them incredibly annoying. Complicated sites with long tables of contents that need to remain visible are about the only sites that benefit from frames. If you're still determined to use frames …

Very basically, you need a page called index.html that contains the frame information. Nothing (text or images) in index.html will actually be displayed. Rows are the frames from the top of the page to the bottom and Cells are the frames from left to right. Each frame must be given a name. Let's say you have a logo across the top, contents on the left, and the main page of your site on the right. The names are specified in index.html, as are the pages to be initially displayed when someone views your site. We'll call the logo frame "logo" and the logo file "logo.htm". The logo frame will be referred to in index.html like this:

<FRAME NAME="logo" SRC="logo.htm">

If you want to display another .htm file in the logo frame, your link would look like this:

<A HREF="somethingelse.htm" TARGET="logo">

You have to target the other pages on your site to the specific frames.

Continuing with the example above ("logo," "contents," and "main"), we'll assume that you want the "logo" frame to occupy the top 20% of the site and the "contents" frame to occupy the left 25%. The setup for the rows is:

<FRAMESET ROWS="20%,80%">

and the command that actually puts logo.htm into the top frame is:

<FRAME NAME="logo" SRC="logo.htm">

Are you starting to see what's happening here?

The command that splits the bottom 80% of the screen into two columns is:

<FRAMESET COLS="25%,75%">

and the commands that put the appropriate files into the frames are:

<FRAME NAME="contents" SRC="contents.htm">


<FRAME NAME="main" SRC="main.htm">

That's about as much help as I can give you; you're just going to have to play around with the Frames dialog and see what happens.