Websmart is a simple tool (at least, as simple as it gets) which can help you create and maintain your website.
We will start by explaining how websites work, and introducing some of the technical terms which are used.
If you are already familiar with the technology, you may skip
this page, and start learning about Websmart.
More versatile than a book
When reading a book, you read each page, and then turn over to the next one.
This is great if you are reading a novel, but otherwise the book will have a table of contents (with page numbers) and you will have to find the page of interest. Once there, you will have to go back to the table of contents to make another choice.
The underlying principle of websites is that each page will provide one or more built-in linkages to enable you to choose where to go next. In the case of a novel, the linkages would probably consist of ‘next page‘, ‘previous page‘ and ‘back to the beginning‘.
The clever thing about a web page is that you, its author, can suggest where the reader may want to go next. This can apply not only to any other page in the website, but to lots of other pages in lots of other websites.
There is thus a spider‘s web of linkages joining internet websites internally and to each other. This network is called the Worldwide Web (abbreviated to www). The linkages which create this web are called hyperlinks, and the most common format for web page documents is Hypertext Markup Language (abbreviated to HTML).
So simple in concept, so difficult to manage
HTML documents can be written on a keyboard, as they contain only standard typewriter character (some of which have special significance in the HTML language). It is thus possible to write web pages by hand. However, since each web page is a separate document, it soon becomes quite tedious as the ‘network‘ structure of the website builds up.
The difficulty with writing web pages ‘by hand‘ is that you are fighting on two fronts:
1. Your main concern is with planning and creating the actual content of your website.
2. The work in realizing your content in HTML document format very rapidly becomes a major distraction. Although HTML format achieves its required purpose quite succinctly, it is incredibly difficult to read and edit without making fatal mistakes with the HTML language structure.
When you browse to a website page somewhere in the Worldwide Web, your computer is really talking to a computer (somewhere, anywhere) in the world, which works out what you want, and ‘serves up‘ the web page you are asking for. These ethereal computers are called Web Servers.
Having created a website, you arrange for a particular Web Server to play host to it. The owner of the Web Server is then said to have provided you with a Web Hosting Package.
A bright idea
The original website designers very soon added extra features (fill-in forms) into web pages, making it possible to send information back to the Web Server. The Web Server can be told what to do with the received information.
Web designers quickly realized they could design forms and their subsequent processing to allow you to describe what an ‘in design‘ web page is to contain, and what it should look like.
The Web Server can then create the page for you! You never again need to concern yourself with the nut and bolts - you are free to work on the creative bit.
A facility which allows you to create your web pages ‘online‘ in this way is called a Content Management System (CMS).
Many extensive and full-featured CMS‘s are free. However, it often takes considerable effort to learn how to use them. Commonly avaliable CMS‘s are Wordpress, Joomla and Drupal.
Websmart is also a CMS. It is simple and nowhere near as complex or full-featured as many others. In exchange for being less powerful, it is correspondingly much simpler to use.