Friday, November 27, 2009

Web site changes - Google to the rescue

As regular readers of this blog will know I manage a couple of web sites. One is the Chepstow Male Voice Choir site (my Dad sings in that choir), and the other is the site for my cricket club, Dinas Powys CC.

Over time I've used - and still do, different software for creating and maintaining these sites. Currently, the choir site is done in an old version of Dreamweaver, and the cricket site in Serif's WebPlus X2 program. Both have their pro's and cons.

Dreamweaver is a far more technical program, although my knowledge of HTML is very sparse, and I use very little of the power of the program remaining pretty much within the wysiwyg part, although I have been known to get my hands dirty with code occasionally.

WebPlus touts itself as a much more user friendly program, hiding most technical stuff right away from the user - it can still be a very powerful program if you put the time and effort in, but as you generally go no-where near code (or need to have any grasp of code) the results can be somewhat crude if you don't take care. To be fair, I've been using Serif products for years - their desktop publishing program PagePlus, WebPlus, DrawPlus and PhotoPlus and always found them to be very good both value wise and capability wise.

Either program though leaves me with some dilemmas.

If I'm not at my desktop I can't edit, update or maintain the sites. Even if I'm using my Macbook I'm stuffed as these are both Windows programs and I haven't installed Windows on the Mac - yet.

The other main problem is that only I can update the sites - they're hosted on my personal web space and I'm the one with the programs and files on my PC.

I need a solution that will allow me to edit the sites from anywhere, on any machine, and ideally allow others to contribute. The solution? Google Sites.

I've been fiddling with the idea of this for a while, but am now taking the plunge and am moving the cricket site over to Google Sites.

There are issues - it's not as flexible as Dreamweaver - or even WebPlus, but what it does, it does well, and more easily in many ways than either of my two current solutions. And of course it's free. I get more space than my personal web space gives me (which might ultimately be a blessing in disguise as hosting these sites has ultimately kept me from moving from Pipex/Tiscali/Carphone Warhouse as an ISP and the service from them is frankly getting more dire by the day).

I can (when I'm ready) move my domain name over so people are still pointing at I can allow other people access to edit and maintain (use with caution!!)

Have a look and see what you think.

The current site is at

The new site will be at

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