Since I did a page on using Rhapsody and Create for doing page layout, I thought I would hit on building web pages in Rhapsody. And as this site (and this page) are made on Rhapsody I thought I would cover some of the things I've done while making this site.

Page Foundation
Okay, so anyone with a text editor and a little knowledge of HTML should be able to put up a web page. But that is a lot of work... specially if we are talking about using a lot of graphics and are concerned with the layout of the page.

The body of all the pages on this site were made in Create (generally version 5.1, though some pages were done in 10.0).

Create (when starting a new web page) gives you a page size that it thinks is suitable for the web. I generally have a different idea about web sizes than Create does. When starting a new page I set the width at 9" (at 72 dpi, that is 648 pixels wide) and set the length to around 80" (which can be lengthened further if needed) as I'm not worried about printing the content. This should fit nicely in a browser on an 800x600 display.

After that, it is just a matter of placing text and images where I want them, to a degree. In doing web design it is important to remember that you, the designer, do not always have complete control over how the content of your pages are going to be displayed.

Fonts are a major issue. Not only do you have to assume that the reader's system has only the most basic fonts, you have to remember that they can change the default font size in their browser as well. This can drop some nasty reflowing of a page.

Fonts say a lot. They can convey a mood or tone. So in some places, having a choice of fonts is very important. In those cases I replace text with an image of the text. Create makes this very easy with it's image well feature. Further I can make sure that the text is antialiased so that I get the truest look from the fonts I am using (and it goes nicely with the regular text when viewing in OmniWeb 3 with antialiasing turned on).

As Create is also an illustration application, I can make much of the graphics that I use right in Create at the same time I'm making my web page.

Create comes with very nice and detailed help documentation, so I won't go into too much detail. I encourage you to explore.

So we have our content on the page and we notice that the page document is way longer than the content. Not to worry, Create cuts the web page just below the bottom most content so that the final page is perfectly fitted.

Additional note on Create
As I do these pages one at a time, and many times not even on the same system (I have two Rhapsody systems which I use), I don't take advantage of Create's ability to work with multipage documents in making a multipage site. The feature is there, but as I haven't made this site all at once, from beginning to end, I just haven't used it here.

When I outlined this site I knew that I was going to have four major sections in which all the pages would fall. This let me out line navigation using my tabs (which were made using screen shots from Rhapsody and put together in Create).

I could have done the tabs in two ways... one was to slice up the images and make each image a link, and the other was to make them a single image and put a map over them.

Either way I was going to use CuttingRoom to get the job done.

I decided on the map because it loaded nicer in the tests I did.

This still left me with the need for coordinate information on the tabs image... When CuttingRoom gives you a divider it also tells you how far along an axis it is. By placing these dividers and writing down the coordinates (yes, I used pencil and paper), I was able to get the coordinates needed to make a map for my navigation tabs.

With that info and the navigation images (and title image) in the correct places, I was able to modify the code I needed for the top of every page (depending on what section the page would be in).

And if you haven't guessed I cut and paste the navigation/title html to the top of each page outputted by Create.

As you can tell, I do some coding. Yes, any text editor would do just fine for this, but having something that is designed for this is even better... OmniWeb!

All of the coding I do in Rhapsody (and Mac OS X for that matter) is done in OmniWeb's source editor. It color codes the text, it checks tags as I work (so I know right away if I forgot something), and it'll let me preview my work without having to save it first. It is really an incredible tool which seems to have been over look by many people.

Animated GIFs
I'm not a big fan of animated GIFs, but there are places that they come in handy (like showing a sequence of images). For that task I use GIFfun to assemble them.

So you have your pages and they are ready to go. You just need to get them uploaded to your web site. For this I use RBrowser. It is a wonderful FTP client which feels very much like the Workspace Manager (which makes it pretty easy to use).

That covers it. A lot of little things that when done together made these pages.

I hope that this has helped others who want to use Rhapsody in the making of their site.