Tagged With web publishing

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Dear Lifehacker, Like most Lifehacker readers, I love Dropbox. And I use it a lot. But I'm wondering: What sort of bandwidth limits does Dropbox place on my file sharing? Could I use Dropbox to host static files for my website?

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Though you can make a strong argument for hand coding your web site the appeal of a What You See Is What You Get approach is undeniable. This week we take a look at the five most popular tools for WYSIWYG HTML editing.

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Google offers a free, embeddable widget for web site owners that can help fight back against link typos, permalink problems, and other issues that send visitors to non-existent pages. The customisable JavaScript widget suggests the URLs on your site closest to the link visitors come in on, and offer a search box pre-loaded with search terms relevant to the bad link. Anyone who's run a site for a long while knows that page URLs are a hard thing to keep linked and standing properly, and this widget is a nice step to preventing aggravation on both sides of the site. The widget requires signing up for a free Google Webmaster account and heading to the Tools menu, then the "Enhance 404 pages" link.

Custom 404 pages

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Need to give your blog or personal site a more modern look? AjaxBuddy, a free repository of Web 2.0-style site tools, is great for site owners who don't have time to learn an entire programming language, or just need a starter block of code to get building. Grab free, easy-to-modify code for Flickr-like editing fields, quick-loading slideshows and tabbed galleries, instant graphs, date-choosing calendars, and dozens more examples. Many require replacing just a few values to get working, but even the more complex tools are great learning tools.

AjaxDaddy

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Google's free web site creation tool, creatively named Google Sites, is now open to users who have a non-Google Apps account. The What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) web page editor lets folks who don't know a lick of HTML put together a good looking web site quickly and easily. You can also allow only certain people to view the site, edit its pages, and you can even hook up Google Analytics to get your web site traffic charts going. Your Google Sites URL will be something like http://sites.google.com/site/yournamehere/ and you get 100MB of file storage space for free, as well as page templates for common uses, like announcements, lists, and a "file cabinet." Hit the play button above for a closer look. Like most of the big G's stuff, for the low price of free, this is an impressive offering.

Google Sites now open to everyone

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Writing your blog should be a fun way to stretch your mind and stay connected to trends, friends, and the greater world, not another computer task that takes far too long to get done. But that's exactly what it can feel like if it takes you more time to find your post ideas, tweak your markup, and make everything look right than to actually get your thoughts down. Being somewhat experienced at this blogging thing, your Lifehacker editors have pinpointed a few tools and tricks that make our posts go faster and smoother. After the jump, we round up 10 of them.

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When you want to turn that giant spreadsheet into an HTML table without wrangling too many TD's and TR's by hand, you can use a formula to generate the HTML tags for you. The Design Intellection blog describes how to use the =CONCATENATE("text", cell, "text") spreadsheet formula to turn a row of data into an HTML table row. On Friday, Kevin pointed out a web-based HTML table generator that's a simple, fast solution for small tables; but if your data's already in a spreadsheet and the word "concatenate" doesn't make you want to run screaming, this may be a better way to go.

Using Spreadsheets to Easily Create HTML Tables and Forms

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Anyone who's tried saving a Word document as a web page knows you get way more than you bargained for in the HTML and CSS department in the result. The Productivity Portfolio blog offers two alternatives when you want to zip a .DOC to a .HTML file in a jiffy without all the cruft: Using the online Word HTML Cleaner at Textism (files up to 20K only), or sending yourself the document via Gmail and hitting the "View as HTML" link. Handy.

Word HTML File Conversion Tips and Resources

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Most web page authoring software like Dreamweaver—or even blog publishing systems like Blogger or WordPress—all come with WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) mode, which formats web content without exposing the HTML and CSS behind it. But even in 2008, lots of web authors turn off WYSIWYG and just hand-code their own markup—even at the NY Times. Mac news site TidBITS reports:

The New York Times's design director Khoi Vinh noted in a recent reader Q&A segment on the Web site, "It's our preference to use a text editor, like HomeSite, TextPad or TextMate, to 'hand code' everything, rather than to use a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) HTML and CSS authoring program, like Dreamweaver. We just find it yields better and faster results."

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The bavatuesdays blog points out a publish-to-blog feature that seems to have quietly crept into Google Documents. Not much to crow about if you're perfectly happy with your blogging platform's built-in editor, but Google Docs can seemingly publish to most any blog, even those on hosted servers. Combined with linked tools like Google Notebook, it could make for a nicer thought-compiling and drafting experience for anyone who's an avid online writer. The feature can be found in the "Publish" tab on the right-hand side of a Docs page.

Publishing Google docs to your blog

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HubSpot's Website Grader is a web-based tool which analyses and scores your website against a number of criteria, and provides you with a report card flagging areas you may wish to improve. By filling out a web form which asks for your URL, keywords related to your blog and optionally any websites you compete against, it generates a report on your site. You need to supply an email address as it mails the link to you.The score it generates grades your website against a number of things including website traffic, search engine optimisation, social popularity (via social bookmarking and sites like Digg) and a wide range of other factors. It also provides some very basic advice on how you can improve your website's  performance.One thing which tickled me is that it rated Lifehacker's readability as "advanced/doctoral" level. I had no idea we were so rarified! I'd better duck back to uni and get that PhD. :)

What's Your Website Score?

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Web-based social networking has been an "it" topic among web-savvy folks for years, but in general Lifehacker has shied away from social networking because it can easily become yet another time drain. But Facebook is now full of useful productivity apps, and even Google Reader is building heavy social aspects. In fact, more and more social networking sites have become a part of legitimate business use (for example, our publisher Gawker uses Facebook as a company directory). The extent to which social networks are productive or a time sink is debatable, but the fact is they're pervasive and here to stay. So what we want to know is:

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Online PDF editor PDFHammer reorders, deletes, and combines PDFs from the comfort of any web browser. That means you don't need to install anything to do a bit of simple PDF editing, and when you're done you can simply download the finished product to your desktop. Granted, you may not be comfortable uploading sensitive material to their servers (despite their privacy policy), but if all you need is to make a quick edit to a PDF and you don't want to pull out the big guns, PDFHammer is worth a bookmark. The site is currently in beta with promises of page rotation and watermarking in the future, but the features already implemented are impressive.

PDFHammer