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Friday, February 24, 2006

Google Creates Web Pages

Any minor excitement over Microsoft's Office Live beta and its free page-hosting option just evaporated, as Google now offers an easy-to-use web page creator and 100 MB of storage space.

The latest free service from Google (beta, naturally) has arrived. Called Google Page Creator, the service provides a simple, visual approach to page design.

That WYSIWYG approach to web page design has made products like Macromedia's Dreamweaver so popular with the highly visual-oriented people who work in design. As elements of a page are created, the service auto-saves them, providing a safety net for the new user.

Presently, Google supports Internet Explorer and Firefox as the browsers of choice for Page Creator. If someone happens to be an avid user of another browser, a humorous message appears on-screen:

Our programming wizards tried their darndest to get Google Page Creator to work with as many browsers as possible. But alas, even the most expert practitioners of web sorcery must sleep now and again, lest their JavaScript magic run dry.

Sites created with the tool take the site name of http://username.googlepages.com. Within the Page Manager Settings, the site name can be changed from the username default; users who post content unsuitable for minors must check a box in Settings signaling this, per the terms of service.

Other content, like images, can be uploaded via the "Uploaded stuff" box on the right side of the page. Once those images have been uploaded, one can click on a page in the Manager to edit it directly.

The page editor maintains a small number of commonly used markup tools available by clicking their buttons. These fifteen buttons primarily focus on text, along with buttons for inserting images and hyperlinks.

I inadvertently discovered by logging into Page Manager from two different browsers that Google enforces some basic version control by locking a page that is being edited. The new browser can break that lock and edit the page by clicking a link.

One issue I noticed while testing this with a 1024x768 resolution setting in my monitor: in the Page Manager, an option to Edit HTML appears at the bottom of the markup tools on the left side of the page, below the Normal formatting button.

I only noticed this by accident while the tool loaded, because after the Page Manager loads, the Edit HTML link gets pushed below the bottom of the screen. While the page being edited does scroll vertically, as it should, the frame containing the tools does not. This happens in Firefox 1.5 and IE 6, so anyone who isn't using a greater resolution than 1024x768 probably won't see Edit HTML.

It is in beta, of course, and this little issue will likely be fixed in short order. Page Creator does provide a straightforward way for someone to create a site that isn't a blog (yes, it's true, not every site is a blog) and work on it from any computer.

About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

posted by Unknown @ 8:30 am


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