Editing webpages pages in Word

  Mysticnas 08:23 12 Oct 2005

Hi all,

I have a problem.

Basically I have to carry out web support for one of my team mates at work.

She's a civil engineer and i'm in IT. She knows very little about IT and i know even less about civil engineering.

I she needs certain pages to be updated and feels that only she can actually make the changes as she knows what she's going on about, we both agree on that.

The problem is that she doesn't know or have to time/resources to learn dreamweaver/HTML and gets completely thrown off when she see's a little bit of code.

So she's making ammendments/updates to webpages in MS Word.

When i then go over the pages again i find that they have broken links, and the formatting is completely off. Some are underlined when hovered over, some stay black, some just turn blue without underline, and some are a mix of all of the above.

I've been looking at the code and it's just a right old mess now!

Any help would be greatly appreciated as it's taking me hours to do a single page and there's on average 10-30 links on each page with aronud 100 or so pages on this sub site.


Procedures Manual Lands, Chapter 11 – Part One Claims (Compensation Act 1973 Section 29-33)

The above line of link uses the following code:

p style='margin-top:0cm;margin-right:36.0pt;margin-bottom:0cm;
margin-left:36.0pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt'> span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Verdana'>  /span> /p>
p style='margin-top:0cm;margin-right:36.0pt;margin-bottom:0cm;
margin-left:36.0pt;margin-bottom:.0001pt'> span style='font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:Verdana'> a
href="../../documents/jhcorp1k2-newK2-NewStandardsandProceduresProceduresManual2001ProceduresManual-LandsChapter11.pdf"> ins

cite="mailto:Christina%20Ellis" datetime="2005-10-04T11:41"> span
style='mso-text-animation:none'>Procedures Manual /span> /ins> /a> a
href="../../documents/jhcorp1k2-newK2-NewStandardsandProceduresProceduresManual2001ProceduresManual-LandsChapter11.pdf">Land ins

cite="mailto:Christina%20Ellis" datetime="2005-10-04T11:41"> span
style='mso-text-animation:none'>s, Chapter 11 – Part One Claims /span> /ins>
ins cite="mailto:Christina%20Ellis" datetime="2005-10-04T11:41"> span
style='mso-text-animation:none'>( /span> /ins>Compensation Act 1973
Section 29-33 ins cite="mailto:Christina%20Ellis"
datetime="2005-10-04T11:41"> span style='mso-text-animation:none'>) /span> /ins>

  Mysticnas 08:34 12 Oct 2005

all the < brackets are there... just didn't show up in the text when i copied and pasted.

  Taran 17:23 12 Oct 2005

Word is about the worst HTML editor on the planet. As a word processor and document handler it is superb, but for web work it really is awful.

Two choices:

1. Beg, blackmail, cajole etc your lady friend/colleague into learning an easy editing program like FrontPage (if available) in conjunction with a page template which only allows her to edit certain areas of the page (leaving navigation intact)


2. Use a Content Management System (CMS)

If Macromedia Contribute is available then you're sorted since she can use it to edit the page areas you allow her access to without crippling any other part(s) of the site. For the sake of a license it may be a worthwhile purchase.


  Forum Editor 19:32 12 Oct 2005

will never get anywhere by trying to work like this. As Taran has already said, Word is to web sites what Wayne Rooney is to Ballet dancing.

It's perfectly possible for you to edit a site without having a clue about the subject matter - I manage a pretty large scientific site for clients, and most of the time I haven't a clue what they're talking about. We manage perfectly well because they send me Word documents with their text, and update the site content. I do the same thing for many clients - it works perfectly, and would do with your colleague.

Not with Word as your html generator though - you'll have to use a web-design package, and do what Taran says- persuade her to invest in a Macromedia Contribute licence - not cheap, but worth every penny in a case like this.

  Mysticnas 20:17 12 Oct 2005

...office politics.

Some of my team members use contribute and i'm sure the company (govt. agency) has a site licence. The problem is i've been onto the appropriate dept. about getting it install on the right computer but they always get petty about it. Seriously we have like 1000's of forms to fill in (business case) for even the smallest thing, you wouldn't believe it... or maybe you would FE?

Anyway, I suggested that changes could be made and passed over to me then I could implement them, just as you said.... However, it's not as simple as that, quick turn around time, and things being changed at the last minute urggh... I've already told them about how they manage IT stuff there and it's just hopeless.

To be honest I can't wait to leave (i'm not the only one, lol), but i'll try and help as much as possible while i'm there.

Anyway, the fact of the matter is that things need to get done asap and no-one's really got time to hang around and learn. And since i started I there they just don't want to let me go. :o( I feel stuck, you know that guilty feeling.

Rant over.

  Taran 21:03 12 Oct 2005

and you don't mind rolling your sleeves up a bit, why not split her pages from the main site content and link an underlying database to it. Create an admin area with a couple of simple forms which allow her to edit text blocks on the page(s).

Easier to use from her point of view than a fully blown CMS, free in terms of licensing and quick to roll out. For a couple of pages that need regular editing you could have something workable in a good morning or afternoon, if you have a reasonably clean run at it.

The database would be very simple, templates would drive the pages and your colleague should not be able to access general links, header/footer areas and so on. This would specifically be a series of form fields that would populate the database with block areas of text for her pages. Images could prove more of a challenge but it's still do-able, and also totally unnecessary given the availability of Contribute.

Frankly, if your department already has access to Contribute then you could suggest that your colleague chases up the relevant people which removes the pressure from you. Contribute is ideal in this situation and if they have it and there are spare seats available on their license I see no reason other than the normal office politics I see almost every day to stop you/your colleague from using it.

You really need to have responsibility of content squarely placed on your colleague's shoulders.

I update many sites exactly as Forum Editor does, using copy provided by clients. It is relatively quick, painless and responsibility for copy lies purely with the client which is no small thing, believe me.

Since yours is not a commercial designers scenario you don't have the luxury of requesting timely Word documents, so a workable alternative is vital.

Enter Contribute...

Note how we come full circle back to that point again and again ?

Contribute was released for this exact situation and it seems almost criminal to have it within your grasp but not be allowed to use it.

Make your recommendations, politely request that Contribute is made available and have your colleague repeatedly ask until ground is given.

Polite determination often pays off.

You could always scare the pants off your department heads by suggesting an installation of phpBB or Invision, just as a measure to allow your colleague the luxury of being able to update her own content...


  Mysticnas 21:18 12 Oct 2005

put them to their knees by threatening to leave... lol.

Will keep trying to get contribute installed on her machine.

The site is a minisite with about 117 pages. Each page contains links to other documents, procedures/policy manuals, reports, pdf, MSO docs and links to other govt. sites...

The main concern is that other people would be able to maintain everything when i've gone.

Thanks for all the input guys.

At the end of the day, all i can do is make suggestions and tell them how important it is and if they choose not to listen, well...

  Taran 21:38 12 Oct 2005

"The main concern is that other people would be able to maintain everything when i've gone."

Don't the people you work with understand that this is EXACTLY what Contribute is for ?

Designer/developer is hired to produce a template driven site with editable regions.

Client that requires rapid, multiple updates on an as-and-when basis has three real options for long term upkeep:

1. Pay designer/developer for each and every update

2. CMS product of some description

3. Contribute

OK, I know, Contribute could be looked upon as a CMS product, since you use it to manage content.

A CMS is [usually} expensive, often difficult, convoluted or inconvenient to use and [even more often] fails to meet many basic requirements in full.

Contribute can be learned in next to no time and after minor training anyone can update those areas of a site they are allowed to touch.

Sensible templating locks out parts that the peasants should be leaving well alone and any reasonably savvy admin/techie should be able to get their heads around Dreamweaver templates, thus ensuring that life after you leave continues.

Fear is the great destroyer...


  Mysticnas 23:24 12 Oct 2005

Most of the time it's just people acting big-headed, ego's flying all over the place etc... office politics etc...

It's suprising what the tax payers money is spent on!

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