Cooking with Linux - Web Site Creation Tools You've Never Heard Of

In a world of Web 2.0 applications, AJAX applications and content management systems with countless plugins, you might think the humble Web site is a thing of the past. Not true. But, when working with these sites, we turn to the same tools over and over again. Time for something a little unusual, non?

Before you get going on that first Web site, I am going to direct you to the Preferences dialog for a quick change of one of the default settings. Click Edit, then select Preferences. A six-tabbed window appears from which you can modify the default operation of much of the Screem's interface and features. There is one setting that I recommend you change right away and that's word wrap. Click the Editor tab and look for the check box labeled Wrap lines (Figure 7). Make sure it's checked on, and then click the Close button.

Figure 7. I'm guessing you'll want to make sure word wrap is turned on in the editor's Preferences dialog.

You can, if you want, take some time here to familiarize yourself with the other settings. Before I move on, however, let me direct you to one more that may interest you. Under the Misc tab, there is a timed backup feature (set at ten minutes by default) that you might want to activate. My personal favorite keyboard combination is Ctrl-S (used in most editors), and I tend to press it every couple minutes whether I need to or not. The autosave feature can take care of that habit.

The edit window, where you type your text, is that big empty space on the left. When editing a page (Figure 8), you highlight text, click Insert, and then select your HTML markup from the submenu. Other markup elements, such as a link to another Web site, are best done using the wizards. These are on the second toolbar, but also under the same Insert menu.

Figure 8. The vast majority of Screem's functions and markup are found in the menus. The toolbars are reserved for core tools and Wizards.

On the right, there is a multitabbed sidebar. The tabs access a built-in file manager, a tag tree from which you can jump to any tag in any part of the document quickly, an attributes view that further defines all tags and their attributes, and more.

As you may have noticed, mes amis, the clock is telling us that closing time is upon us. While my faithful waiter refills your glasses a final time, remember this. The free and open-source software landscape is extremely rich with countless projects and programs available for your downloading pleasure. The easy path is certainly the one that installs the most popular programs, such as Quanta, the KDE HTML editor, or Bluefish, the GNOME favorite. Yet, there are many other projects, and as with a bottle of wine, it can be fun and educational to try those you've never encountered before. You even may discover a new favorite. Please, mes amis, raise your glasses and let us all drink to one another's health. A votre santé! Bon appétit!

Marcel Gagné is an award-winning writer living in Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of the Moving to Linux series of books from Addison-Wesley. Marcel is also a pilot, a past Top-40 disc jockey, writes science fiction and fantasy, and folds a mean Origami T-Rex. He can be reached via e-mail at You can discover lots of other things (including great Wine links) from his Web sites at and