W3Lessonware is a UKERNA funded project at the University of Brighton. The project was created to produced a suite of tools to enable easier production of HTML documents, specifically for delivering educational material over the World Wide Web (WWW). The integrated suite of tools consists of a visual HTML editor, structure editor and imagemap editor. The project has also produced a W3Lessonware tutorial and a number of examples showing how different educational applications can be created with the tools.
This was the second workshop run by the W3Lessonware project. Like the first it was quickly oversubscribed, and so, in keeping with the theme of delivering education over the WWW, it was transmitted live throughout the day over the MBONE.
The workshop demonstrated the beta version of the Lessonware tools, and allowed participants to get some hands on experience. At the end of the day all the participants received a copy of the beta tools. The tools can also be downloaded from the WWW site, and are freely available for use within the UK Higher Education community.
The first part of the day included a demonstration of the tools, by creating a sample application (http://www.comp.it.brighton.ac.uk/w3lessonwar/lessonw3/). The hands on session followed with participants working through the exercise themselves.
The tools consist of three main parts - the HTML Editor, Structure editor and Imagemap editor, which have some degree of inter-communication.
Figure: Suite of Tools to enable easier production of HTML Documents
The HTML Editor is a simple text editor with additional menu items for common markup tags, similar to products such as HTML Note. Currently it does not support tables or browser specific features.
The Map Edit program not only allows the creation of imagemaps (including client side maps), but also provides a set of simple drawing tools to create or modify images. All common image formats used on the WWW are supported (GIF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, TIF).
Although, when designing WWW pages the HTML Editor and map editor will be most used, the Structure Editor is perhaps the most useful and innovative part of the toolkit. It allows the user to see their WWW structure, showing the entire collection of files and the links between them. Files can be dragged from a file list box into the structure where they appear as icons. Double clicking on the icons brings up the HTML editor. Within the structure editor links can be drawn in between files, or removed, and the files automatically updated. The links can be moved and edited, and sequential or hierarchical links set up automatically between a series of files. The sequential links command creates 'Next' and 'Previous' tags at the top of the files, with user defined text and images associated with them. The structure editor can also be used to create frame sets, and embed sets within other sets. This feature was felt to be necessary when converting some CAL products for delivery over the WWW. The structure editor works best with reasonably small file sets. Though large WWW sites could be displayed, the display becomes cluttered and is difficult to interpret, although features such as 'radar', which shows an overview of the whole set, and zoom features are available. Filters are also available which allow you to remove certain file types from the display and restrict the link depth that is shown, which may help in some cases.
For more details about this software please contact:
To join the mailbase discussion list, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with join w3lessonware your_firstname your_lastname as the only text of the message, e.g., join w3lessonware Fred Bloggs
SIMA Multimedia Support Officer
Computer Graphics Unit
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL
Tel: +44 161 275 6095
Fax: +44 161 275 6040