If your company generates large numbers of documents to move to the Web - from word processors, spreadsheets, or presentation files - you may want to take a look at InfoAccess HTML Transit. HTML Transit, already an industry-leading HTML conversion tool, has just been released in a peppier 4.0 version that adds broader file-format support as well as new and powerful tools for creating more complex, rich Web pages.
This latest version of HTML Transit lets webmasters quickly turn a variety of document formats into attractive Web pages without any of the hassles and time-consuming difficulties of hand coding, which will save your company time and money. HTML Transit 4.0 goes further than most other HTML converters, such as Lotus FastSite or Trellix's Trellix 2, by making it easy to automatically generate tables of contents, keyword lists, and lists of figures.
HTML Transit's interface is relatively simple to navigate, and its basic method is simple to follow. You create a Web project by specifying source documents, selecting a template, and then translating the source documents. The program can either map styles using named styles used by your word processor or integrate specific patterns, such as paragraph breaks or chapter headings, as specified in your documents.
The program comes with 20 different predefined templates that offer a variety of background styles, navigation buttons, and page breaks. You can fine-tune your pages by editing the templates, or if you are artistically inclined, you can create new ones from scratch.
HTML's intelligently designed dialogue boxes make it easy to access controls over everything from font properties to table formats, from line heights to element separators. If that isn't enough control over formatting, HTML Transit also allows you to insert custom HTML tags before or after any element in a template.
If there's one knock against HTML Transit, it is that the program's sheer number of controls over page, paragraph, and character formatting can leave the editor feeling somewhat lost. Fortunately, users can rely on the program's well-designed wizards to lead them through the process until they grow more familiar with the location of controls. Regardless of how you go about generating your templates, once you have done so, changing the look and feel of your Web pages is a snap. Suppose that your boss wants to change the logo that appears at the top of each of 500 pages on your site. Just change the graphic link in your template, retranslate the documents, and you're in business.
HTML Transit is also strong at handling graphics in source documents. You can choose to have them embedded on the Web page, as in the original. Or, if you want to cut down on file sizes and download times, you can have HTML Transit create links to graphics by using a small thumbnail of the image as the hotspot.
Version 4.0 brings a host of new capabilities to webmasters. First, with its new support for Cascading Style Sheets, HTML Transit offers enhanced control over layout, including line spacing, tabbing, font handling, and other page elements.
Version 4.0 also offers enhanced frame capabilities. I found it a snap to create a new frame, drag it to a new location and, using drag-and-drop techniques, link content to the frame. You can set a frame to refer to other Web applications, outside data sources, logo banners, navigation bars, Active Server Pages, Java Server Applets, and the like.
I was also impressed with Version 4.0's new capability to generate XML map files that represent the structure of the Web site. If you're prepared to do a little programming, you can use these map files for a variety of purposes. You might, for example, write a script that controls user access to pages on the site depending upon their login.
Another welcome new feature is HTML Transit's capability to use meta data from the source document. You might, for example, specify that author information from Microsoft Word document headers be displayed in the specified location in the body of the document.
At least as important as HTML Transit's new formatting tools is the program's expanded format support. All the major office suite word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation packages are supported, including those featured in the new Microsoft Office 2000 and Lotus SmartSuite Millennium. Version 4.0 has also added support for PDF and XML - and HTML Transit can handle graphics in more than a dozen formats, including most popular formats.
If your users are generating a continuous flow of files that are destined for the Web, you can automate the process with InfoAccess Transit Central 4.0, which is available separately.
Once you've installed Transit Central on a server and specified what directories for the program to watch, all users need to do to publish to the Web is drag and drop files into the appropriate directories. Transit Central will monitor the directories for changes at specified intervals and automatically convert the documents and publish the new pages to the Web.
HTML Transit 4.0 offers the strongest and easiest-to-use solution I've seen for converting files to HTML. If you're already using HTML Transit, Version 4.0 is a highly recommended upgrade If you're not already using HTML Transit, you may want to consider switching.
The bottom line
HTML Transit 4.0
Summary: No other program makes it easier for webmasters to convert a variety of document formats into rich, complex Web pages. HTML Transit goes further than most other HTML converters by automatically generating tables of contents, keyword lists, and lists of figures.
Business Case: HTML Transit will help you redirect staff time that was previously spent converting and tuning documents for the Web.
Easy to use
Broad file format support
Strong frame tools
No built-in HTML editor
Cost: HTML Transit's recommended retail price is $895.
Platforms: Windows 95/98, NT 4.0, Windows 2000.
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