What has Terry learned so far from running this forum?

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As of today I may have seen more school websites than any person on earth and I think that is a good thing.  I've started to document some of my impressions on my own website at:  "After looking at 800+ school websites."  This is going to be a work in progress.  Something surprises me every day.

I'd love to hear your opinions.

-- Terry Kearns (gradyproject@aol.com), May 05, 2001


Here is an article on presenting PDF files on the web, "Avoid PDF for On- screen Reading

There are good reasons to use PDF files but readability on the web is not one of them.

-- Terry Kearns (gradyproject@aol.com), July 03, 2001.


Really enjoyed reading 800 sites. You've hit the nail on the head. Keep up the page.

-- Luana Anderson (Landers5@houstonisd.org), May 14, 2001.


In regard to the following:

PDF files. I've got to admit that there is a place for PDF files. I must also admit that I haven't found that place yet. Okay, if someone gives you a PDF file to publish, do it. Then ask them not to do it again.

Seriously, what I hate most about PDF is not the extra time it takes to load. It's the fact that you have to change your user interface: You search differently, you copy differently, you scroll differently, you don't have hyperlinks (maybe you do but I've never seen one in a PDF document). And what is the deal the hand - try using the hand to go to the next page.

The place for PDF files is documents that your users might want to print and distribute or read offline. PDF files should be in addition to the HTML version of the same document so that readers have a choice. I know, it sounds like extra work, but for me the extra work is converting existing documents to html. Converting existing documents to PDF is a couple of mouse clicks. Converting to html always involves correcting a multitude of formatting problems and inconsistencies, especially when graphics or tables, etc., are involved. Printing from html pages also often presents formatting issues that are solved by offering the PDF document.

By extension, when time is an issue, there will documents that get published in PDF (it's quick) and only later, if at all, in HTML. Again, I'm only talking about documents that originally created by traditional (word processor, desktop publisher) methods.

Michael Gatton

-- Michael Gatton (mwgatton@aol.com), May 21, 2001.

I've added a few more sections to "Af ter looking at 800+ school websites."

Organizing a web team

There is a model for your web team

Barriers to keeping-it-going: one-man-show, transience, succession, burnout, techno phobia, web have-nots. and the enthusiasm gap

-- Terry Kearns (atlantaoyster@aol.com), May 24, 2001.

In a web-centric process, the teacher creates the calendar on the web, prints it, copies it, and puts 30 calendars in each teachers inbox. No have-not problem here but we gained some efficiency.

This is actually a BIG question in my mind. I don't know of an alternative to producing printed documents using word processors or desktop publishers. Printing from the web (and distributing) doesn't work for me. It doesn't look professional. For example, our Middle School Science Curriculum Frameworks was created on Microsoft Word and then converted to html (a laborious process, even though Word and FrontPage are part of the same Office Suite). You can click on the PDF version to see what the original looks like. It prints nicely and is relatively pleasing to the eye. A printed version of the html version is another story. It's functional if a visitor wanted to print a copy for personal use, but I wouldn't want to distribute it. And there are some formatting options in word that were just too difficult to reproduce in the html, so I left them out (tables, graphics, etc.

Is there an html editor, word processor, or desktop publisher that solves this problem?

-- Michael Gatton (mg143@aol.com), May 26, 2001.

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