After having hand coded the shakuhachi website I could see why Adobe Dreamweaver is popular. However, the price of Adobe Dreamweaver is well above what I could justify paying for it. Eventually a friend mentioned NetObjects Fusion, so I downloaded the free version, NetObjects Fusion Essentials.

My first efforts to work with it guided me quickly to the help facility and I found a very good “Getting Started” guide. The guide took me a few days to complete but prepared me very well for getting started with a website. Not having a personal website yet, I decided to create the one you are reading.

Many of my initial reactions to NetObjects Fusion Essentials are due to knowing that sometimes hand coding may have actually been quicker. These are not fair reactions when I consider that at least some of the issues where hand-coding is faster are only less efficient for the first website created. For example, just as when I mentioned that while learning CSS it took a fair amount of time to figure out how to center a webpage, it also took a while to figure out how to center a webpage when using NetObjects Fusion. The best tutorial I found on the topic is the one I used, and can be found by clicking the following link: Centered Layout on a Two-toned Background Image in Net Objects Fusion.

After getting past the beginning part of the learning curve, I am enjoying NetObjects Fusion Essentials more. One issue that I have with it is that it is considered bad practice to use tables for page layout, and the HTML NetObjects Fusion Essentials generates make extensive use of tables for page layout.

I was also surprised when after having registered with NetObjects for a month or two I received an email with a promo code to get the full version, NetObjects Fusion for $49.

As far as an image processor, I started using GIMP. That is how I created the page banner. GIMP is considered to be the open source answer to Photoshop. It has a steep learning curve, partly due to a quirky interface, and I purchased a reference book to help me with the curve. As an example of why I say the interface is quirky, consider that when an area of an image is selected you can not just drag and drop it, instead there is a “move” tool. The video below is the tutorial that I used to create the banners for these pages.



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