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The Big Picture

WebDwarf is a web development tool -- it makes web pages to your requirements.  These tutorials show how to translate your requirements into a finished website.  On this page we cover:

Web page overview
Publishing your project
The project file
Building the project file
Previewing your project



Web page overview

Web pages live on a server (also known as a host or webhost). When a visitor wants to view one of your pages, their browser asks your server for it. Your server sends a page, typically a file with a .html extension. Because the data making up the file arrives in packets, the browser can start processing without having the whole file.

The browser reads this file starting at the top and working down. If there are images or other files required, it requests those as soon as it discovers they are needed. In the meantime, the browser builds up an image of the page and starts displaying it. Sometimes extra images and other files are quite large and so can take a considerable time to arrive.

Images and other files are never truly part of the page. The .html file says in effect "place this image of this size here". "This image" will remain a separate file. It is the browser that displays the image so it looks like part of your page.
Publishing your project

WebDwarf translates your requirements into an html file, and a collection of other files, mostly images, and places them were you wish. This is the process referred to as "Publishing".

WebDwarf can publish your html file and all associated files such as images, etc. directly to your server for you. This is the easiest way to get your site to your server because WebDwarf knows what files that are needed for your pages and uploads them all for you.

WebDwarf can also "publish to disk." You would then need a separate step to upload the files to your server via an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program. Windows itself has a built-in FTP.



The project file

The instructions that WebDwarf needs to build your web site (a collection of .html pages and other files) are all contained in Project files -- special files with a .ims extension. For WebDwarf there is only one page in each project file. To publish, WebDwarf uses this file to create and assemble all the bits-and-pieces that make up your site. This is an important file so try not to lose it. For this reason, WebDwarf will try to back up a copy to your server so that if you have a disaster on your computer, you can download your project file from your site.

Again, the project file does not include images or other files, just references to where the files are on your disk. Consequently, if you shift your project to another computer you will find empty placeholders where the images once were. This is easy enough to fix, but may be disconcerting when you see it for the first time.



Building the project file

WebDwarf provides a visual representation of your web page on your screen as a workpage. What you see there is more-or-less what you see when you publish. As you drag each new image into place, as you add text, as you change the color or shape of an object, it all happens on your workpage. If you are familiar with using a word-processor or spreadsheet program, you will already know a lot of the techniques required.

As you make changes to your workpage, WebDwarf makes changes to your project file. Just as with a word-processor, make sure you save your work at regular intervals.



Previewing your project

All web browsers and computer operating systems are slightly different. This means that what you see on your workpage may not always match what you get when you publish. For this reason WebDwarf provides a quick Preview option which enables you to see exactly what your finished page will look like in your browser, or other browsers. WebDwarf creates a temporary html page for preview then passes it to the appropriate browser to display.



Next: Your First Project

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