Last week, I explored building websites using Google Docs. Since you can export a .html version of your document from GDocs, you can upload and host this file to any web server. In other words, this document can be hosted on my domain like so: gdocwebsite.keeganslw.com.
Everyday Software As Website Builders
Google Docs is not the only “everyday software” that can export .html files though. Long ago I played with Keynote presentations in their HTML formats (a recent example) and just this week John met with someone who used Excel to build this website that’s hosted on OU Create.
First off, I’m always impressed by folks that use everyday softwares beyond their intended purpose as it shows incredible creativity (case and point, this example from Tom). At the same time, I wonder at what point actual website building softwares would enhance these products. All that to say, I often face an interesting balancing act between the most accessible tools for folks and simultaneously equipping people with the technology literacy skills to use what’s best for them in the long term.
As it stands, I’m not looking to replace the notepad/texteditor activity that’s part of WebFest with a .html Gdoc or Excel spreadsheet alternative because there are crucial web literacy skills I want to teach using basic text files. In other words, I’m fine with people using everyday softwares to build websites, but only if they are equipped to make the intentional choice to not use something like Grav, WordPress, etc. (insert any web building tool here).
All that to say, thinking about everyday software as website building tools has me reflecting on web literacy today and I’m glad I’ve go folks like Lee, John, & Tom to converse with:
WAit, what is this magic?
— Lee Skallerup (@readywriting) September 11, 2017
Just in a meeting with someone who built an entire website in Excel. Opened new (very old) doors for creativity. https://t.co/qPdBEcfpKI
— John Stewart (@jstew511) September 11, 2017
now the question is how different is download as webpage vs publish to the web?
— Tom Woodward (@twoodwar) September 11, 2017
Heck, that whole thread was a lot of fun today. 🙂
GDoc as HTML Newsletter
The reason I was looking at the GDocs HTML export feature last week is because I was looking for mediums where non-tech users could collaborate on something like a newsletter to then be hosted online and sent by email.
Through some experiments with Kerry Severin last week, I learned that .html files can be hosted within our University’s Adobe CQ5 system. Therefore, we can create content easily through accessible softwares like GDocs, then effortlessly publish to our ou.edu/cte domain, and use html based email systems like MailChimp to distribute the information.
It feels like strange times when I’m intentionally building .html file with folks using GDocs. But all the more reason for me to focus on all aspects of publishing online. Whether it’s through explicit programs like WebFest or indirectly through others like eXperience Play, I want to encourage and equip everyone to become the best web users they can be!