6. Web Authoring Software

What is it?

A web authoring package is specifically designed to allow you to create web pages and web sites.  Examples include Dreamweaver and Microsoft Front Page. 

What is it used for?

Web page authoring

How were things done before web authoring?

Web designers would have to write the page using HTML code.  Whilst this is very powerful, it is a lot slower than using a web authoring package.

It is also possible to save word processed documents or dtp publications as a web page.  However, this is not recommended because they produce large amounts of code which is not required.


Features of web authoring applications


Web pages are created using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML).  Whilst it definitely helps to have some basic knowledge of this, it is not essential when using a web authoring package because there is the option of using a  WYSIWYG interface. Generally this works well, but unlike word processing packages, sometimes don't always go exactly where you want them or display as you had planned.  In this case, the only solution is to switch to the HTML code and edit that directly. 

Although many of the features in a web authoring package are similar to those you find in standard office applications, generally you need some technical skill in order to be able to create suitable web pages and use the tools effectively. 


Templates can be set up to ensure that the main features on a web page are the same throughout the site, e.g. the banner, the side menu.  Many web authoring packages contain a selection of templates.  There are plenty available on the Internet to download for little or no cost.  It is also fairly easy to create your own template.


Most web authoring software has a number of wizards to help you with things such as setting up the site, specifying the FTP etc


Web pages can contain text, images, animation, videos and sound files. 

CGI Web forms

They can also contain interactive CGI forms (Common Gateway Interface) which enable people to fill in their details using a form on a webpage and then submit the completed form to the website.  A web authoring package makes it easy for the user to set up these interactive forms.

Hyperlinks and hotspots

The software also allows makes it possible to set up hyperlinks and hotspots which when clicked will take the user to other pages, other websites or a place within the same page.   If a web page is moved to another place in the website by using the web authoring application then any links to that page will automatically be updated.

Site Manager

This is a tool which enables you to view the overall structure of your website and to update links quickly if any pages are moved from within the web authoring software



Using web authoring software to create pages
Advantages Disadvantages
WYSIWYG interface Not intuitive to just pick up and use, normally needs some training and/or technical knowledge
Many of the features available in more commonly used office applications Need a basic understanding of HTML to overcome any formatting problems
Can set up and use templates to ensure consistency between webpages Doesn’t normally come as part of a general office suite and can be quite expensive to purchase.

Can set up hyperlinks and hotspots  
Can insert multi-media into webpages  
The site manager facility can be used to update links within the website  


Using general application software for pages
Advantages Disadvantages

Very easy to create a web page, no technical knowledge required

If you want to move pages there is no site manager facility to track and update the hyperlinks
Do not need to pay the extra costs of purchasing web authoring software because most computers already have general office packages which are capable of creating web pages A lot of extra HTML code is created which is unnecessary and can interfere with browser compatibility. This is known as 'bulky code'
The output is compatible with most browsers May not be able to create all of the features needed on the website, for example CGI forms
Company does not need to employ specialist web design/development staff It can be difficult/impossible to edit the code - especially if no one understands HTML
Generally faster to produce web pages using standard application software  


challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Web Authoring Software