Current version : 5.50
System requirements :

  Windows 8, 7, Windows Server 2008 and 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000 and NT4.

  Any computer capable to load Windows™ successfully
Licensing :

  Personal
24.99 € (US$ 34.99) Buy now

  Professional
199 € (US$ 269) Buy now

Unlimited upgrades for licensed users !
Contact :
Christophe Guibert
cguibert@webideatree.com

Association of Shareware Professionals 

Promaxum Seal of Quality Review, by Scott Swedorski, former Editor-in-Chief (and the founder!) of Tucows
www.softpedia.com


Designed and built with WebIdeaTree

 Oregon State Library (March 2003) 

WebIdeaTree: Web site maintenance on AutoPilot

By Ernest Perez, Ph.D., Group Leader, Oregon State Library.

Although the Web is a major advance in information accessibility, there's considerable cost involved. I don't mean in identifiable monetary costs for operating site servers, but in the mushrooming of real labor costs when you consider design and planning, site creation, and site maintenance. The latter is a true black hole when it comes to labor costs.

SOLVING WEB SITE MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS

Enter Web Idea Tree (WIT) software for Windows operating systems, authored by Christophe Guibert, a developer located in France [www.webideatree.com]. Here's a magic solution to minimize site creation and site maintenance labor headaches.

WIT speeds organization of ideas and content and publishes them to the Web with a few mouse clicks. The software requires little or no HTML skills, but ensures that expert users have full control over generated code. It's a highly efficient process--you start by choosing style and structure templates (easily changeable); organize your ideas in an outline tree; use the editor to add accompanying text content, plus images or links. Presto, you're done! Now you simply click to instantly build and upload the full site.

WIT manages all site-building details for you, assuring link consistency, even after major modifications and information rearrangement. Best of all, you don't need to maintain the site with piecemeal HTML "spaghetti code." You instead modify and update a single content file, then totally rebuild the Web site. You can build dozens or hundreds of pages in seconds.

The "Idea Tree" moniker is a fairly literal description. WIT combines a simple outliner tool with an easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor. It also includes a site generator function, to build or update a full site in moments, and additionally handles automatic uploading to your Web server or ISP.

THE OUTLINE TREE

Figure 1 - WebIdeaTree working screen, showing 'idea' outliner partially covered by text editor window, with associated Page Preview on right side of screen.

WIT offers normal outliner software functionality, with easy generation of hierarchical topics and subtopics. It has drag and drop or Control-Key ability to shift and reorganize outline topics. The WYSIWYG editor offers easy entry of Web page text and other content for the page displays that accompany each outline topic. The editor has three display tabs: Normal, which displays only the simple text for direct editing; HTML, which is a pure HTML format display, modifiable for precise control; and Page Preview, which displays full page in browserlike mode. Finally, a simple icon click calls up your preferred browser to inspect a single page or the full site in actual Web page display mode.

I won't mislead you; minimal configuration and technical setup are required. But even this doesn't require HTML/Web expertise. Most people with a bit of HTML familiarity are fully capable of handling it. Alternatively, you can probably persuade a Web-savvy colleague, patron, or even your local high school student HTML whiz to customize setup, insert institutional logos, and do whatever else you deem necessary, thus building your own custom template.

WIT comes with nine pre-defined "structural templates," such as Basic Web, Book, or User Manual; and nine "styles," including Times, Elegant, Techno, and Tutorial. Combinations of these templates offer quite a range of site designs. Altering the templates is easy and is often icon or wizard-driven. The Page Preview panel lets you instantly see the effects of your choices, and you can quickly reverse them if you've
goofed. You can also insert or paste in HTML code for sophisticated styling or structural changes using the HTML editor panel.

When you're finished with content management, an icon click or a CTRL-E keystroke quickly generates HTML files, along with supporting graphics and content subdirectories for a full new site. As a speed example, an early version of a site for a Library Science class I'm teaching generated a 17-page site, including embedded links, graphic icons and photo images, plus a Table of Contents and a controlled-vocabulary index, in under 2 seconds.

In essence, you needn't worry about the time crunch for maintaining your site, no matter how many changes you make, after you've built and saved your original outline and content file. Even major changes to structure or appearance style are no big problem. The .WIT single file for outline and content remains available for easy editing. The HTML generation module and .WIT template files are CSS-based, for those who wish to further customize and expand capabilities.

BUILDING THE SITE

Once the site is generated, you're done with the HTML stuff. By the way, the HTML output is easily adaptable to multiple purposes. WIT HTML file output is suited for use on Web sites, LANs, hard disks, or CD-ROMs. You can easily create and maintain content in multiple formats, including Web sites, electronic books, User Manuals, even context-sensitive Help Files for computer applications.

Now you're set to concentrate on the "important stuff," building the outline tree and creating content entry for your Web site. WIT page preview functions let you instantly see the effect of editorial or format changes. The editor gives easy icon/menu control over font, font size, colors, indentation, and bullets. Outliner topic titles automatically become generated Web page names. WIT's editor lets you enter text directly, or easily copy and paste from your word processor, other HTML applications, and Web pages. WIT keeps existing text formats and styles, or allows easy changes. You can insert bulleted lists, tables, and even display graphics stored on local or remote Web servers. The HTML code editor display allows you to include any exotic HTML code you wish to use. You can, for example, paste in layouts or formats "borrowed" from a Web page you happen to like.

Finally, the single .WIT format source file needed to define all site pages allows easy global changes to the site, using search and replace, substituting new templates, etc.

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE

Figure 2 - Browser view of automatically generated WebIdeaTree site index, links to site pages indented under controlled vocabulary terms.

WIT automatically produces a hierarchical Table of Contents or site map using your topic titles or page names. You can also produce a high-quality linked index, with WIT's "Keyword" function. With keywords you can index page content, using controlled terms or phrases. These may be entered on the fly or imported from existing keyword listings. You then use a pull-down listing to assign single or multiple Keywords to any site pages. This automatically produces a browsable linked index. In a late upgrade, author Christophe Guibert has added the ability to jump to the index term listings directly from assigned Keywords displayed on pages. You can thus easily browse the entries under those headings, with a simple and easy "more like this" functionality. The author has thus incorporated simple and quite usable controlled vocabulary and indexing functions perfectly suited to Web site indexing.

Other WIT capabilities include a Bibliography module for maintaining formatted publication listings; Image Thumbnails and "Photo Album" functions for producing linked thumbnail images; Databases and Table Import function, for import of database files or comma-separated-text data files into WIT tables and data listings; the Glossary function for maintaining glossary and definition listings; and the "Ideas" function, using lists of idea or topical names to group and display items such as linked index entries, pages, images, and bibliographies.

"SIMPLE" MEANS "OFTEN"

WIT turns Web site maintenance into the proverbial "piece of cake." It's super-easy to enter modifications or new material, incorporate graphics, new sub-pages, and to do major reorganization of your site. With WIT site regeneration and uploading features, you can literally update your site in minutes. No more Tech Support hand-holding, or the delays of working through the endlessly busy designated Webmaster. No updating hassle means you'll update your site easily and frequently.

PRICING & SUPPORT

There's a surprisingly low cost for Web Idea Tree's horsepower and functionality. A Personal License, reserved for private and nonprofit use, costs only $30. Even the Professional License, at $300, for commercial or corporate use, is really quite cost-effective, when you consider site maintenance efficiencies. You can even download a 30-day demo at the Web Idea Tree site http://www.webideatree.com.

Program author Christophe Guibert is located in France, so there's no free telephone support. Nevertheless, registered users get technical support from the author (by e-mail) and free version upgrades. Guibert has been quite responsive to my questions and suggestions.

CONCLUSION

I strongly recommend Web Idea Tree; it's a robust and useful product. Don't expect it to create slick professional pages like Yahoo! or Google, not out of the box. The supplied templates are a bit more traditionally text-oriented, although pretty attractive. I suspect, however, that a skilled CSS coder can do wonders working with WIT templates. Given the existence of a 30-day free trial demonstration download, it's hard to imagine how you could go wrong testing out the capabilities of Web Idea Tree.

Comments? E-mail letters to the editor to marydee@xmission.com.

Address communications to Ernest Perez, Ph.D., Group Leader, Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. N.W., Salem OR 97310, 503/378-4243, ext. 257, email: ernest.r.perez@state.or.us .