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Web Page Utilities
(Up 17 Nov 97, updated 7 Jan 04) This page covers a number of DOS, Windows utilities (and the Unix equivalents) useful in editing and altering HTML files and images, and transporting them. This page is divided into four parts, any of which can be jumped to.. (changes have been made to reflect Win95/98 use and my current switch to Linux)
- [Editing Utilities], DS, Qedit, List, Grep, Gsar, Html Writer (and Lynx, Pico, the real Grep, and Sed). Nothing else ever needed.
That is what I said a few years ago. Now the question is, "Will it work on Windows-95 or Windows-98?" My problem with Windows-95/98 is that it is about five times slower to kludge through than WfW. I use Windows98, but also am still using WFW (I still use DOS).
The utilities below will work in DOS (or in a DOS-box under Windows), Windows3.1 or Windows 3.11 (Windows for Workgroups), and even with the funny 32-bit file system of Windows98. If not, I will indicate so.
Unix (Linux) takes some getting used to, but anything available for Windows (or Mac) is available (for free) on Unix/Linux. I'll indicate equivalent utilities below.
- [Image Utilities], PaintShopPro, Gif Construction (and Gimp, the PhotoShop clone).
- [Transportation], Telnet, Ftp, WS_Ftp and SptNet (and the original Telnet, Ssh, Ftp, Rsync, Scp).
- [A list of Links], some helpful, some funny.
The console screens of modern Operating Systems are set up to cripple the user in order to keep her from working too fast and having things happen without notice. So keyboard buffers come set at slow cursor repeat rates and long key response delays. That can drive you nuts. Before you go any further, do one or more of the following...
(1) If you work in DOS, add the following line to your "autoexec.bat" file, or you will never appreciate speed...mode con rate=32 delay=1
(2) On Linux consoles set the rates with (place this somewhere in /etc/rc.d/rc.local)..kbdrate -r 30 -d 250
(3) For shells under Linux X-Window write a file called "kb" with the following content ..set r rate 250 30
Whenever curser movement slows down, execute (in your home directory)./kb
(4) For Windows, open the Windows Control Panel, and set "cursor repeat rate" at the maximum, and the "keyboard delay" at the minimum. In Win 3.X under Control Panel, Keyboard. Something similar for W95/98.
(5) For operating a DOS box in Windows, write a batch file "startup.bat" to set the keyboard rate, and augment the path with your collection of utilities (W98 only allows \windows and \windows\command as the path). My version of "startup.bat" reads ...at echo off echo. -=-= startup.bat =-=- path %path%;c:\batch;c:\george mode con rate=32 delay=1 c:\george\jnofnt.com path doskey
Here the path is augmented with the directories "batch" -- where batchfiles are located -- and "george" -- where com and exe executables are located. The screenfont is altered (don't do this unless you own "jnofnt.com"), and "doskey" (a copy in "\george") is loaded.
Then check the properties of your various desktop links for the DOS executables, and set them for full screen, auto-close, and in each case run the file "startup.bat" -- which you should locate in the directory "\Windows\Command".
EDITING HTML FILES
Ds.exe - a Directory Browser
I recommend you first get a good file and directory browser. My choice is "DS.exe" by Nat Martino. Look for it at uiarchive [http://uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu/info/search.html]. (click on SimTel DOS, Garbo DOS) Or get it as "ds412b.zip" directly from
It comes as beg-ware, but the $15.00 is going to be well spent. I've used this for nearly ten years. It works seamlessly over a local network, seeing any DOS, Windows (3.11 or 98) file system exported as a share (you just have to look up the drive letter), and interfaces with the Linux Ext2 file system (if exported as a SMB share), and even SMB imported Win98 file systems located on the same Linux box (I use it under DOS-emulation under Linux also).
There are easily some 20 or 30 other choices for a directory browser. Get one which will work in a DOS shell (from Windows), and gives you at a minimum the ability to copy, move, and delete files enmass. If you need to start with a simple easy to use directory browser, get "List.com" (see below).
All of these low level DOS-era fat-browsers are easily 100 times faster than W98's "File Explorer" (or whatever it is called).
Find any of these at the domains listed above, and check out the file listings in any of the "dirutl" subdirectories under Simtel's Win95, Win3, or DOS subdirectories. Just type "dirutl" in the search box, and set the number to be found at 300 or 400.
"Qedit.exe" (below) and "List.com" (below) can be started from within DS with a single key, and it is no problem to call a half dozen files into memory for editing, and return to "DS.exe" on exit.
The equivalent Unix file browser (and regular HTML text browser) is "Lynx" - invoked with ..lynx ... set it up to read dot files, and show directories first. Very fast, and a lot easier than endlessly guessing where you are in the file tree.
Qedit.exe -- a Text Editor
Then get a text editor. My choice: "Qedit.exe" (from Semware sales at semware.atl.ga.us) is absolutely the fastest and most useful editor ever. There is a current shareware version available from Semware, called "Tsejr" which is even better, but includes a number of beg-screens.
"Qedit" will edit up to 500K worth of files simultaneously, it will make changes in hundreds of locations in a fraction of a second.
It has a completely configureable keyboard file (so that even Emacs or WP5.1 can be emulated). Most of the text processing abilities can be called from the keyboard or from a drop-down menu. One of the most useful capabilities is that it can cut and paste columns with the greatest of ease.
A look at the quick-help page will indicate some of its abilities. This reflects my key configuration, not the defaults, originally based on WP5.1 (in 1995) and allowing for use of an 83 keyboard. Only a few keys have been added -- I can only remember so many hot-key combinations. The default includes about 100 Emacs-like keys.
List.com -- a File Lister
A file lister will never rewrite files, so this is the safest (and fastest) method for viewing files, even executable files. "List.com" (Copyright Vernon D. Buerg 1983-93) is capable of viewing (in turn) large blocks of separate files or large files (16 megabytes), and can even display in hex.
Look for it at SimTel or Garbo. Generally listed as "ldir30.zip".
"List" is also capable of directory listings, of changing file names, of deleting, of copying blocks of text to other files, and of printing. But I seldom use it for any of these.
Because it is very quick, it is ideal for inspecting file. I use the "find" and "find again" keys to find phone numbers in my garbled phone directory. List can even initiate dialing out on your modem. List also includes an archive content lister, "fv.com", so you can do...
fv blabla.zip > foo
... to write the content (a list of included files) of a zip file to "foo".
The only reasonable Unix editor is "Pico" which comes with the mail program "Pine". It is made for idiots, but will even do spell checking. Set it up as the default editor in your ".bashrc" file. It has limitations, so that at times I simply shell to a DOS-emulator and use "Qedit."
Xgrep.exe -- Finding Texts
You can find *anything* with "Grep.exe" (or "Xgrep"), it is not only simple to use, works at a much greater speed than the DOS command "Find."
Look for it at Uiarchive, SimTel, or Garbo as a "txtutl".
"Grep" is an easy way of, for example, of asking, Did I use the word "Gonzo" or "gonzo" in these files? In Unix it isgrep -i %1 %2 foo
Here "-i" means "case independent" and %1 is the grepped text, %2 is the input file.
"Grep" allows almost all the "regular expressions" used in Unix, which means that the searches could be infinitely complex. If you don't know what a "regular expression" is, get the docs and read. The "Grep" executable I use is actually "Xgrep.exe" Version 1.03 Copyright (c) 1994 Robert Nordier (rnordier at iafrica.com).
Grep is a Unix utility originally.
Gsar.exe -- Making Changes
You can change anything with "Gsar.exe", in a single file or a group of files, or in all the files in a directory. "Gsar.exe" is simple, easy to use, and fast. "Gsar" stands for "General Search And Replace". It is a workhorse when it comes to making changes to a set of files. "Gsar.exe" (1994) is by Tormod Tjaberg (tormod at oslonett.no) and Hans Peter Verne of Norway.
Look for it at Uiarchive, SimTel, or Garbo in a "txtutil" subdirectory.
The commandline syntax for general purposes is..gsar -sxxxx -rXX -i -o filename
This searches (-s) for "xxxx" and replaces (-r) it with "XX"; -i for ignore case; -o for overwrite original file. The colon is reserved to indicate the start of a three digit ascii code for a letter, cipher, etc. Thus :032 indicates a blank space.
The "xxxx" and "XX" do not need to be the same length, and can be of zero length.
"Gsar" is also ported to Unix. But the native Unix equivalent is the arcane "Sed", a stream editor. "Sed" does one line at a time from a file, rather than "Gsar" which streams the whole file. Once you learn to use "Sed", however, you will find it operates at blazing speed, and because it is so small, many "Sed" scripts can be piped in sequence.
Html-writer.com -- a HTML Editor
"HTML-Writer" is free from [http://www.geocities.com/SiliconVallley/2932/shhtml31.htm] or via ftp protocol from [ftp://users.aol.com/Bottger/HTMLRITE/HW9B4ALL.ZIP]
The best html editor I've seen, although it is way behind on cute things to be done with HTML4, etc. It was stopped, for some reason, as a Beta product. And it looks like further work has been discontinued. But the only error it ever makes is to write entity codes in caps if you have set up the tags to come up in caps. So don't do that.
What it is otherwise capable of is a basic set of tags, but versatile enough to include FORMS, for example.
Use it when you have large blocks of text to convert -- it even sorts lines into UL lists, supplying all of the tags. It opens up a browser to check out how things look. Windows 3.1 or 3.11 (Win for Workgroups) version only. Which should work on Win95/98.
Paint Shop Pro - a Paint Program
"PaintShopPro" is a Shareware Windows paint program (JASC, Inc. Minnetonka, MN), with a great image cataloging utility (shown above). Much smaller than "Photoshop", and does all the primitive things you will ever need, such as, change the DPI, resizing, change the number of colors used (for Gif files). Will also do screen captures, cut, paste, etc.. and all the usual paint tools. And add borders. Reads everything from BMP to WPG files. Also capable of batch file conversions. There is a shareware 32 bit (Win98) version available. Version 3 works fine under Win98.
Look for it at uiarchive, Simtel, or Garbo, but as a Win3 utility (version 3 as begware). The Win 95/98 is way too complex.
Gif Construction Set - a Gif Manipulator
"Gif Construction Set" is available from [http://www.mindworkshop.com/alchemy/] Go there to take a look at what it is capable of. You will be looking for "Gif Construction set." You can download from [ftp.mindworkshop.com] In the /pub/alchemy/ directory. Available as shareware for Win3.1 as "gifcon.exe" or as "gifcon32.exe" for Win 95/98.
This is a Windows utility for making transparent and moving gifs. Takes a while to get used to, and is arcane about certain things. But great for small altered gifs. Lots of other gizmos included. Shown above in the process of making a transparent gif.
Gif utilities are disappearing from the web. Beware that you will have to convert to "png" images in the future -- as soon as the "latest" browsers can actually see this file format. Netscape 3 doesn't. Explorer 4 does.
The ultimate image manipulation tool under Linux is "Gimp" - a near clone of Photoshop, and as complex. The disadvantages are only in the endless hunting through sub-menues to look for what you know must be there somewhere. Operates under X-Window
Ws_ftp -- File Transfers
You would use an "ftp" (file transfer protocol) program to move files from you computer to your directory at the server site.
Shown above is "ws_ftp". Get it from [http://www.ipswitch.com/].
An absolutely great ftp application for ppp. With a complete set of ftp commands listed simply as clickable buttons, so you can actually make directories, delete files, etc, at the remote location. Comes with an index of anonymous sites, remembers the details of new sites you connect to, including the password and the directories you used. Writes a log of the file transfers.
Note that Windows98 comes with an "ftp" program. Find it in the "\windows" directory, and make a desktop icon (a link or a whatever it is called). Note also that most "Compozers" include an ftp utility.
For Unix I have totally converted to "Rsync" which does stream loadup via encrypted ssh. It is a hundred times faster than any ftp utility. It is designed to sync remote and local files, so you do not need not type out file names. Rsync can synchronize thousands of remote files with local files at one command line, and blazing speed.
Sptnet.exe -- a Telnet Program
A "telnet" program connects you with your account at the server. With it you can move files, delete files, change permissions, make new subdirectories, etc, and use the 35,000 commands and programs which are availble on the Unix box. You could even compose your html files while on-line. Many sites do not allow "telnet" connections, however.
Shown above is "Sptnet.exe", which is free, unless you wish to send the author [Jianqing Hu] car parts and camera parts.
"Sptnet" is a small, fast, stable terminal (telnet) program for Winsock. Actually made for Chinese language usage, but you can leave that off. Smallest of any Windows telnet programs I have found, and with very few glitches. A very good scroll-back buffer, and includes Zmodem file transfer. Includes cut and paste, with a mouse even.
Look for it at uiarchive [http://uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu/info/search.html]. (click on SimTel Win3, Winsite Win3, search for sptn) Or get it as "sptn1609.zip" directly from [ftp://uiarchive.uiuc.edu/pub/systems/simtelnet/win3/winsock/]. Works fine under Win 95/98 also.
Programs like "telnet" and "ftp" came from Unix, so expect to find them there. When your Unix admin gets leary of breakins and hackers, she will force you to switch to "Ssh" -- an end-to-end encrypted telnet (there are Windows versions available).
With that you can then take advantage of "Rsync" which allows updating (syncing) directories at a remote location to match some local directory. "Rsync" uses the "ssh" protocol, which means that information is sent in a stream, rather than in chunks as "ftp" does.
And last, "Scp" is available to remote copy files via the an encrypted connection. "scp" has nearly the same options as the Unix "cp".
Telix - Dial-up Connections
If you are stuck with a bare-bones dialup connection, the following might be of interest to you for connecting to an account and moving files...
By DeltaComm Development, Inc, Cary, NC. Probably at [http://www.delta.com] or see [http://uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu/info/search.html]. (click on DOS, SimTel, telix, telix351.zip) [ftp://uiarchive.uiuc.edu/pub/systems/simtelnet/dos/telix/] ... in fact the whole of the subdirectory is devoted to Telix. Also look for a Windows version: Look under SimTel, Win3, telecom, search for tfw115c1.zip and tfw115c2.zip [ftp://uiarchive.uiuc.edu/pub/systems/simtelnet/win3/telecom/]
After "Qmodem" went commercial, "Telix" remained as the last and best of the communications programs. Once you have set it up (which can drive you nuts if you know nothing of modems and DTRs and stuff), it works like a charm.
This allows you to connect to a BBS or to a terminal at some remote Unix box at a college, which then puts you on the internet. Telix includes "Zmodem", so files can be moved from the remote location by starting up "sz" or "rz" on the remote Unix location.
I have no idea what is being used currently on Windows machines for the ppp connection. I used a utility supplied by US Robotics for a while, then switched to using a Linux box to make the internet connections.
Unix/Linux includes "miniCom" which is a near clone of "Telix" -- but I have only used it once to set up "Wvdial". "Wvdial" is a smart dialer, will make assumptions about the connections, and jump to (correct) conclusions. It then hands over the actual Linux ppp connection to be managed by the suite of Unix ppp files.
This section details the best links I have found (recently) which intelligently support universal, portable, platform independent Web Page design and the supporting code. I have reduced this quite a bit from the past.
A working collection of the links below (and many more, all in one place) can be found at [here].
- [Publish Yo' Self]
Easy to read directions on getting started. Good links elsewhere.
- [NCSA--A Beginner's Guide to HTML]
The standard text for learning quickly about HTML. Comes up frames, and slow.
- [Really basic Unix commands]
It's hard to find the least you can get away with on a Unix system. But here is a beginning -- on-line. The rest will come as you need it.
- [HTML Quick Reference]
Style tips from the author of "Web Weaving," although I disagree with many of them.
- [W3 Org]
This is the place which more or less makes all the decisions on Web standards. Look here for *the* information, what is coming up, etc, even sources for software.
The sources for the HTML Standards are as follows..
- [Kent R. Schnaith's HTML Tyranny Page]
(The doc has disappeared, but I saved a copy locally) Good, read it.
- [Art and the Zen of Web Sites]
Absolutely wonderful, no technical stuff, and the best summary on what to watch for I have ever seen.
- [Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design]
(local copy) Good, check it out so you'll know what you are doing wrong.
- [The WDG's Links to Rants]
A certain distance is gained, and respectability, by recognizing rants for what they are. A list of links.
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