Creating professional websites as non-professional person

Often people talk about "Web 2.0" which is not somehow a new version of the Web itself. The term just gives an already existing movement/change a name. This movement's aim is to encourage people to get actively involved in the process of how the Internet changes. People should participate by expressing their ideas and thoughts, making the web more interactive and personal. Therefore in recent years a number tools appeared on the Internet which facilitates this participation. The newest, and probably also the most popular service, are Blogs. Blogs, as this here, are great ways for expressing the personal ideas. They started actually as some kind of online-diary. People soon started to use it for publishing any kind of thing they wanted to, from photos and non-sense talks to political issues. And this is great!
The main point however for the success of such services is the simplification and automation of the online publishing process. The faster and easier it is to publish something online, the more people will be willing to use it. Nobody wants to start hacking HTML, CSS or JavaScript code and deal with FTP uploading etc., because at first people may not have the necessary knowledge about all this kind of stuff and second they also don't have the necessary time. Although I would personally would be able to deal with HTML, CSS and all this web stuff, I probably wouldn't start writing much posts if I would have to write all of it by writing HTML code. It just isn't comfortable!

Beside online blog services, a number of services appeared on the web which facilitate the creation of web-pages in a WYSIWYG-style. The main two pages I tried out are the Google Page Creator (older posts about it) and Jimdo. code. This is what Google Page creator - as most Google services - is directly coupled with the Google Account that is used with Gmail, GDocs, Blogger, etc... It is a quite nice service, offering 100 MB of free web space. GPage Creator however has major problems which make enable it to create professional-looking webpages. This is a pity, also because theoretically Google has already the technology for creating a highly customizable webpage. For instance this blogger here, where I'm currently writing this post. The layout and design of the Blogger page is completely customizable through XML files. Incorporating this technology into Google Pages would be great, since non-professional people can choose from a set of predefined design layouts, while more experienced users can still edit the HTML or CSSJimdo Pages do: they allow non-professional users to create professional-looking webpages in an easy and fast way. Moreover more experienced or expert users can further customize the layout of the page by manually editing the CSS code or by adding personalized JavaScript files. Moreover Jimdo makes heavy use of AJAX, which results in a more responsive application. Pages can be edited by logging in and directly changing the webpage by clicking on the appropriate available toolkits. Things layed out on the Jimdo page are grouped as elements. There are different kind of elements available:
  • Header / Title element
  • Text-area, where it is also possible to directly edit the HTML code, which allows to integrate for instance JavaScript elements
  • Tables
  • Youtube Videos
  • Pictures and Picture Galleries with integrated Flash or "AJAX" previews
  • del.icio.us tags or RSS feeds
  • File download
  • different forms (Email forms, guest books,...)
  • Flickr
I can talk from my personal experience when I speak about the easiness and rich functionalities of Jimdo, since I had the possibility to create a Jimdo page for my martial arts club Yoseikan Budo Nals.
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