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Cyber Tools are the various gizmos you need for developing content for your web site. The explicit focus of this analysis is the national non-profit policy advocacy community, although others with similar resources and desirements may find this resource useful as well -- others among The 9 Types of Web Page Creators may not.

This page is an inventory of desktop tools needed for effective website contend authoring that can be used by anyone and everyone responsible for developing online content. This resource for authors complements the CyberTools for WebMastersresource, which inventories things that the WebMaster alone need worry about, as well as the guide to client-side internet user stuff which is inventoried on The Well Tempered Desktop page].

Our rating system is as follows:

This page is under continuous development, and your comments and suggestions to the CyberStrategy Project are most welcome. We would also be interested in engaging in an exchange of views on these and related topics in our online CyberStrategy conference.

The current and foreseeable dynamic pace of development of the net makes it a bit difficult to parse precise categories of cyber tools, particularly since a non-trivial number of products incorporate functionality that is often found in tools commonly grouped in some other category. But this is about the best we have been able to come up with in terms of the general types of tools currently available. In almost every case, there are far more tools available than we have reviewed here. Rather than serve as a compendious compendium of the sum totality of all executables, we have reviewed the packages that seem the most promising, as well as the ones that are less promising though widely advertised. We have also attempted to provide links to more encyclopedic resources as well.

General Sources

We are always on the lookout for new and interesting tricks to liven up our webspace. We have evaluated a variety of authoring tools, and as soon as we recover from beta.burnout we will have some reviews and commentary here. Some of the places we keep tabs on include:

Web Authoring Tools

There are a bunch of HTML authoring tools floating around, but since we like to stay close to the code we are only interested in the ones that enable direct coding, and so are not paying any attention to the purely WYSIWYG tools that hide the code from the newbies.

Web Whackers / Offline Browsers

Offline browsers can be used to lay hands on public domain documents for local repurposing. The trick, however, is that to do the job right the gizmo needs to retain the original structure of the content, which is not always the case.

Imaging Software

Because the Web is a graphical interface, it is often necessary to do some in-house graphic editing and manipulation. Many graphics for our website can be downloaded from other web sites, but when our own material is needed, we turn to these software packages:

GIF Animation

This sorta stuff might be fairly useful, or it might be the most annoying thing since blink but it is an easy way to add at least a bit of animation to your site without having to do anything overly fancy.


This Java business is both a lot less and a lot more complicated than it looks. The bottom line is that this stuff is not ready for prime time, and won't be until the dang browsers get more robust implementations of the Java Virtual Machine and such.

The good news is that implementing Java applets is surprisingly easy:

  1. Insert the HTML code for the applet at the appropriate place in your HTML document. You can get some sample code from Vivid Software's Instant Java site [buy the book of the same name and make it easy on yourself], or you can download some gizmos from Macromedia that will write a few simple scripts for you.
  2. Install the requisite Java class files [which use long file name conventions that are case sensitive] into the same directory as the HTM file.

The bad news is that sometimes all this works, and sometimes it doesn't, and while it is very easy to come up with a bad implementation even when it does work [the dang things can take forever to download, and have a nasty habit of snagging the bulk of the user's computer's resources and crashing all the time], it is a bit more difficult to come up with an implementation that is both user friendly and actually adds value to your site.

On the third hand, everyone is doing it, and if your site ain't got at least a snippet of Java pretty soon it is gonna look all nasty and wambly and netlagged like some ole poorly maintained gopher site or something, so let the games begin.

There are freeware/shareware programs to convert .wav files to .au files that can be played in applets. One such tool is SoX.

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