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Old 01-08-2006, 01:49 PM   #1
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Location: In Connecticut, on the Housatonic River near its mouth at Long Island Sound.
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Default Playing w/Big Medium

I have a 30-day opportunity to play with a Big Medium demo, and it is interesting and very close to what I need. Maybe as close as exists, in fact. But princess-and-the-pea-like, I have noticed a few things that do not please me. For example …

I really hate editing CSS via browser. It is repetitious, hard to keep track of, no way to group things with identical properties, just plain annoying. I have asked about that — hope to find out it is okay to edit the (coherent) style sheets and ftp them to the server.

If not, the only options for font sizes are pt or px or size “names” (from xx-small to xx-large or larger/smaller). I really prefer % or em. (The text on the demo site initially is too small for me to read comfortably, so I had to change a gazillion of those dumb editing boxes to fix it. That definitely caught my attention!)

You have to choose font-families from lists, and the lists do not include what I normally use (verdana, sans-serif; or georgia, serif) — the available choices all include Times for serif, Helvetica and Arial for sans (I would not specify those to my worst enemy for reading online; well, maybe my worst enemy, but no one else). Those who favor them or know no better will get them anyway — no need ever to specify them!

There is no way in the various CSS editing windows to use font-style or line-height; there is an additional CSS section that would allow that, but what a messy way of doing things.

The CSS does not specify background-color, so attempts to validate it yield a full page of warnings. No errors, however. And the XHTML validates (transitional; one can select strict or several levels of HTML if preferred).

So I have my fingers crossed about working directly with the CSS files; can’t think why not, unless it creates too many potential support issues for the developer.

I like the ease of entering article text and heads (use a rich-text editor, allow Big Medium to convert plain text to HTML, or use an HTML editor and either type or, in my case, paste in your own HTML).

The format allows for callouts: enter the text, say which paragraph you want them to appear next to, and it’s done. Images are also easy, although the template I was playing with assumed they were standard sizes. It is efficient, but perhaps monotonous, visually. But it does mean you can easily make them to size to begin with — no messing around.

The developer responds very quickly to queries and advice is generally to the point (unlike so many other onlike developers we have to deal with who send canned boilerplate that is often as amusingly off-base as a Google translation!)

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