I’ve had my own computer and web account for five years now, so I’m not totally illiterate in the field. Howewer, I don’t know much HTML, and that kept me from publishing an own homepage in the past. (I made one attempt about a year ago, but I gave up right away…)
When André emailed me a link to the Curmudgeon’s meandering about whether computers or the internet help learning, I saw a Manila site for the first time and decided I wanted one, too!
After working and playing with my ETP site for two weeks now, I have collected some impressions and experiences…
What I like:
- The whole concept of EditThisPage. If ETP didn’t exist, I still would not have a home page (and nobody would help me with my assignment on why math is part of the education…)
- The user-interface of ETP is very easy to use and self-explaining in most places.
- Clicking on the “headlines” in the preferences pops up an explanation in a new window. I especially like the overview of all colors with “names”.
- I have the impression that many ETP site owners are very interested in what other ETPers write. I was very surprised when my name appeared in the Top 100 ETP sites after I’ve been online for only two weeks and hardly anybody knows me. It makes you feel that some people actually are interested in what you write…
- You get feedback in several ways: The discussion group is the most direct way (people address you), other ETPers put links to your site on theirs, and you can see how many people read your stories on the counters in the discussion group and – in a larger scale – on the Top 100.
What I don’t like:
- Getting an explanation when clicking on “Flip homepage”. It makes sense to show this explanation when you do it for the first time, but after that it’s annoying.
- Getting an empty page with an “Edit this page” button after flipping the home page. Suggestion: When clicking on the “Flip Home Page” button, the new page appears with an editor window. Saves two clicks and some time and doesn’t get on your nerves.
- In the preferences sections, sometimes an example, along with the provided explanation, would be very helpful. For example, I changed the skull that links to the discussion group to some text, and when I wanted to change it to a different picture, I could neither remember how to do that nor find it out on my own.
- The /admin/sitePrefs/default$advanced page is very long. If you have a slow connection (like I do), it takes awfully long to reload after you submit a change.
- Being asked to confirm whether I really want to delete a message. This is not necessary since you can always un-delete a message you’ve deleted by accident.
- When the server is not working properly, sometimes the same story accidently gets posted several times because the browser says that the server refused to connect, but in fact the story (or the changes) has successfully been transferred. I hit the “Submit” button again, and as a result I have another story. (Yesterday I created ten (!) identical articles that way and had to delete nine of them, always confirming I really wanted to delete each of them…)
[This might be a bug in Netscape Communicator 4.7 for MacOS – the problem has not yet occured when I use the Internet Explorer 5 for WinNT.]
- Is there any other way to view your member list than entering the address (Andrea.EditThisPage.com/stats/members)? I always forget the address and haven’t found any other way yet. (Okay, maybe I should have a thorough look at Manila Newbies…)
But despite these little flaws I like Manila and the way it enables HTML-illiterate people like me to have web sites of their own!