Amiga Webpage Creation Genie
is out of the bottle
by Clark Alexander
Amiga users now have a commercial
webpage creation product that delivers. Page Monster is designed
to be infinitely expandable, to be programmable by the user
and to be essential for the novice or the expert for creating
This review is divided into two
sections, first is a summary for those who don't have time to
read the entire review. The second part is a detailed review
of the product.
Page Monster is a commercial webpage creation program for the
Amiga computer. It is available from Culture Shock Multimedia,
2319 North 45th St. Suite 296, Seattle, Washington 98103 for
$69.95 plus $5.00 shipping in USA. This program is the first
commercial program that I am aware of to use Commodore Business
Machine's object oriented programming language AmigaVision.
The screenshots show how AmigaVision was used to create the
user interface for each of the Page Monster Control Screens.
Page Monster requires the following
A minimum of 8 MB of Harddrive space, A minimum of 6 MB of RAM,
Amiga OS 3.0 or greater, AmigaVision Player and runtime libraries
and the append command.
A feature that makes Page Monster
unique is the excellent online tutorial and documentation. Culture
Shock also offers online technical support and product registration.
Their website is http://www.serv.net/~cshock/main.html
Page Monster is designed in such
a way that people who have no knowledge of html can create their
own website on their Amiga computer after reading through the
Page Monster guide file or Page Monster's online documentation
and completing the online tutorial. Experienced users of Page
Monster will find Page Monster offers no limits to what they
can do with their website.
Page Monster Review
I became aware of Page Monster after reading Randy C. Finch's
Page Monster review in the October 1997 issue of Amazing Computing/Amiga.
My internet service provider includes for all its customers
1 MB of space for a website . Friends of mine have had websites
for some time and I wanted to create mine using my Amiga. Page
Monster requires no knowledge of html. So this was the program
I needed to design my website.
I mailed off my money order to
Culture Shock and in 2 to 3 weeks I received Page Monster. After
reading the license agreement and registering the product online
I installed Page Monster. Before Page Monster will run the user
must have the append command in the c: directory and AmigaVision
Player and runtime libraries installed. These programs can be
downloaded from Culture Shock's website as well as other useful
programs. Download and install them all. Page Monster uses the
standard Amiga installer so it is very easy to install. Also
included with Page Monster is digitized voice help files. Page
Monster also supports the Amiga speech feature. I believe once
you have heard the digitized voice help speak, you will be amazed
at its clarity and use it only.
Page Monster provides the structure
for creating a webpage. It is also flexible enough to allow
the user to revise or add to the html code using any text editor.
ED for example, works fine and is included in Amiga OS 3.0 and
3.1. What this means is that the user has ultimate control over
the the html code used to create their website. A good example
of this flexibility is that Page Monster version 1.0 does not
support the font sizes 1 to 7 command. It only supports header
sizes 1 to 4. Using ED, I can specify the font size manually
by entering the font size command into the my html code. The
default font size is fine 98% of the time. The other 2% of the
time when a larger font is needed you can change the font size
to fit your needs.
After all the AmigaVision files
and the append command was installed I started Page Monster.
The first screen is labeled Main Menu. Here you find the eight
parts of the Page Monster program. They are Set Background,
Title, Header, Media Links, Paragraph, Lists, Forms and Edit
mode. A website is built one page at a time. Each page is linked
to each other to allow the user to go forward and backwards
though the website.
Page Monster must first be configured
by clicking the Config button on the main page. This brings
up the Configuration screen. Here you enter your webpage address,
internet browser location on your hard drive, text editor, viewer,
player, mod player, paint program, default directory, page storage,
amigaguide viewer, form action, domain name and email address.
This is also where you select speech
help using the Amiga's synthesized speech or the Page Monster's
After saving the setup, you can
click on start Page Monster or click on online support. The
start Page Monster button will take you back to the Main Menu
screen and the Online support button will prompt you for a internet
connection, open the web browser you specified on the Configuration
Screen and connect to the Page Monster online support page.
After you have read the online documentation or Pagemonter Guide
file and completed the online tutorial you can print them for
future reference. Now quitting the browser will return you to
Page Monster's Configuration screen.
Set Background Screen
The Set Background Screen
Here is where you load your background image file, background
sound file and select your font color, link color and visited
link color. There are 41 colors to choose from on this screen.
After this is done, clicking on accept will return you to the
Title Module Screen
Title Module Screen
The Title Module is where you enter the name of your website,
your name as the author, any comments you may have, and your
email address. After this is finished click add and then main
menu. The title information is not visible. One would have to
look at the html source code to view the information entered
in the title module.
Header Module Screen
Header Module Screen
Your Header is entered one line at a time. It can be centered
by clicking on the center button and you can chose from Header
sizes H1-H4. Click Add and then Main Menu to return the Main
Paragraph Module Screen
Here you find nine lines to type in text one paragraph at
a time. You can center, bold and italicize your text. ASCII
text can also be loaded. Each ASCII file is considered a paragraph.
The online documentation advises the use of small ASCII files.
Click Add and them Main Menu to return to the Main Menu Screen.
Media Module Screen
This screen lets you add inline pictures, internet links,
link to other pages of your website, execute external programs.
This is a very powerful feature to make your website as good
as any website on the internet.
Export Project Screen
Completing your webpage
From the main menu, click on edit mode to toggle to assemble
mode. Here you can click on the module buttons to put your webpage
together. In this case one would click on title, header, Paragraph
and media links to complete the page. To preview the page, click
on preview to open your browser to view the page. If there are
any changes, click on the text window in the middle of the Main
Menu to open up your text editor to make corrections. To return
to Page Monster, save the changes and exit the text editor.
If you are happy with the page click save at the bottom of the
Main Menu Page.
The Save button opens the export
module. If you are using AmiTCP you can use the provided Arexx
script to upload your webpage to your website from within Page
Monster. If not, you will have to quit Page Monster and upload
the file manually using your TCP/FTP programs.
Page Monster is the program for beginners,like me, who want
to use their Amiga's to create webpages. As one gains more knowledge
of html through experience with Page Monster or reading a book
like HTML for Dummies by Deborah and Eric Ray, one can quickly
create simple or complex webpages for your website.
A website is created one webpage
at a time. Page Monster does a good job of creating a structure
for the beginner for completing this task.
After registering Page Monster
one will receive a secret userid and password from Culture Shock.
This password allows you to enter the download section of the
support section. Here you will find the Page Monster updates
1.01 and 1.01a , Frames Plug-in, and Load html from internet
No product is perfect, if you look
hard enough there is always something that might have been done
differently. What I suggest is that Page Monster version 1.0
is very good start and future revisions may allow it to become
the Amiga standard for webpage authoring programs.
For a quick example of a web page
created with PageMonster, click here.
Use the back button to return to this article.