danbricklin.com/log

Build your own log
There are many reasons why you might want to make your own log or journal on the web. This page discusses some ways of creating it and presents a Trellix Web (new versions are known as CuteSITE Builder) template you can use to create and maintain a log very easily and inexpensively.

I first present some background and then discuss the template for you to use.

Background 
First a little history: While I read a wide variety of things on the Internet, I have been reading Dave Winer's DaveNet mailings and web log for years. He has had a major influence on me and my decision to use the Internet and make tools for it as well as on the details of those tools. Dave is also a tool builder that I have known for over 20 years and on December 1, 1999, he wrote:

To the people in the weblog community, UserLand makes software. Servers and writing tools, network applications. We grow as you do. And that goes doubly for other weblog toolmakers. Let's create a new literary medium together.

I agree. There are a variety of tools that can be used to make personal journals and logs (people use different terms with slightly different meanings but who cares). Dave's company makes a very interesting tool, Frontier, with which you can manage content and create web sites. An application of Frontier, Manila, "...allows groups of writers, designers and graphics people to manage full-featured, high performance web sites thru an easy-to-use browser interface". Dave maintains a page, Weblog Monitor Tools, that lists a variety of tools one can use to make weblogs.

Initially, all of the tools Dave listed were server-based, like Manila. Of course, one can also use the PC client-based tools with which you make regular web sites, including Notepad, FrontPage, and (of course) Trellix Web (sold as CuteSITE Builder starting December 2001). An advantage of using Trellix Web is it's easy to use for regular people who don't want to learn HTML, it has a low price, and it has simple flexibility in making text the way you want (like on this web site). By being PC-based, you can do all your work without being connected to the Internet. Trellix Web can update the files that change on your web site with just a single command ("One-Step Publish"). For some applications server-based is appropriate, and in others you will find PC-based better.

I use Trellix Web for my log and the rest of my web site. People have been asking me for a template to start making their own web site with Trellix Web. After several weeks of almost daily postings, I think I have enough of an idea of what should be in a simple template to try making one. The details are presented below.

Dave has made his tools integrate with other web logs through XML and other facilities, such as his Weblog Monitor page. I'm looking into taking advantage of some of those XML facilities in the future, too, but I felt that letting people use Trellix Web as it is today without waiting was worth doing first.

Using Trellix Web with a template 
To make it easy for people who don't know Trellix Web well to create a journal quickly, I've created a simple template Trellix Web file (it should work with CuteSITE Builder, too). It lets you make a basic journal with almost no work, all the pages are pre-created and have initial content. You just add your name and whatever you want to say the first day. It has both log pages that are in chronological order as well as stand alone pages for timeless essays. The linking between pages is done automatically by Trellix Web. If you can use a Windows word processor you should be able to have a site up very quickly (we know from much usability testing).

This web site (danbricklin.com/log) is made from a more complex template and requires a bit more work to maintain. After I get some experience with people using this first public template, and if people ask, I may try to make one that is more like my web site with more features.

After installing (and learning a bit about) the Trellix Web/CuteSITE Builder program, you just download the template file, open it in Trellix Web, read the instructions on the Instructions Page, and start to type your content. Trellix Web takes care of making HTML and getting it to a server.

Right now I just have a beta test version of my template available. You can see the type of site it produces on the Template Sample Site, including reading the Instructions Page (once you use Trellix Web, some of the terms like "sequence line" and "map" will be clearer).

Download the template file (359KB), jtemplate1.tlx, by clicking here (a temporary location) and save to disk. Once you have Trellix Web or CuteSITE Builder installed, open the file. If you don't have it already, you can get CuteSITE Builder from the GlobalSCAPE web site.

If you try it, let me know what you think. This version is a just a beta test version and has not gone through formal testing at Trellix Corporation nor GlobalSCAPE. For comments, send mail to the webmaster here. For help with Trellix Web or CuteSITE Builder, go to the GlobalSCAPE web site. If you post a site you want others to see, let me know.

Thanks!

[Updated 17 December 2001 to add references to CuteSITE Builder.]

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