Tuesday, March 21, 2006

First Impression: Google Page Creator

I got the nod to check out Google's new Page Creator, a web-based tool for building web sites and hosting them under your Google account.

It's pretty fool-proof. The interface is basic, which - for the intended audience - is a good thing. The templates they provide are plentiful (if not a bit boring), and the page hints are easy to follow. There are tools to help with things like testing hyperlinks, which is nice. You can edit the HTML code of each section by hand, if desired, but cannot edit the page as a whole.

I created a page that I thought was nice, and took it for a test drive. I was pretty impressed - I had a nice enough looking web page in under 5 minutes.

However, when I ran it through the W3C HTML code validator, it failed miserably. The document states a doctype of XHTML strict, which impressed me, but the code failed with simple things like improper break tags (no closing forward-slash or closing tag) and no "type" declared in the javascript script call. Ambitious move Google is making, going for a "strict" doctype, but I can only hope they fix these simple errors prior to the product coming out of beta.

On the upside, the layouts are all table-less and done with CSS, which gets a thumbs-up from me.

In all, I like where this project is going. It's easy enough for my mom to use, and the end result looks decent. I hope Google fixes the code errors. Google Page Creator isn't going to put my web development company out of business, but it will lower the bar for the skill level required for users to create a basic web presence.

I give it a tentative thumbs up.

Check out Shelly's site on Google Pages.

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