Case Study: Corel WebMaster

It is increasingly possible to produce professional websites with the minimum of staff. One South African company is using Corel...

It is increasingly possible to produce professional websites with the minimum of staff. One South African company is using Corel products to advertise its expertise

Shakari Creations was founded in Sandton, near Johannesburg, in 1995. The company was initially established to create multimedia presentations for local corporations including staff training, corporate profiles and catalogue demonstrations.

During the past few years, Shakari has established a service designing web pages. The company has recently built sites for organisations such as Stratford Engineering, Measuretronic and Saftronics, as well as hosting the finished products on their own server.

A number of Corel products are used in the creation of clients' web pages including CorelDRAW 8 and the WebMaster suite of applications. As a small business, Shakari Creations competes against organisations with more staff and resources. Company founder, Ludi Harmsen, explains the appeal of Corel products: "As a small business, I find that Corel products give me the edge. Their ease of use, excellent documentation and professional output ensures increased productivity."

WebMaster contains a number of different applications, many of them scaled down versions of current Corel products. These include art packages such as WEB.DRAW and WEB.PhotoPaint, animation applications WEB.MOVE and WEB.WORLD, database program, WEB.DATA, and a web page editor, WEB.DESIGNER.

Instead of using WebMaster's built-in art packages, Ludi Harmsen creates the components for client web pages with the more familiar CorelDraw 8. This standalone package offers a number of Internet features including the ability to compose pages and export them as HTML files.

First, images are created or manipulated within the program and then combined with text and corporate logos. These images are then imported into other Corel packages to add picture frames and transparencies. HTML pages containing these images and text are generated using CorelDRAW's "Publish to Internet" feature, a tool that also exports images as GIF files for use on the Internet.

Next, material contained within the web pages that is not supported by standard web browsers can be removed using the CorelDraw's "Make HTML Compatible" feature.

Once the basic pages have been created they are imported into WEB.DESIGNER, a module of the WebMaster suite, consisting of a WYSIWYG web page editor. This program allows Shakari Creations to edit the web pages in the same format that would appear in a browser window. In WEB.DESIGNER, hyperlinks to other parts of the site are produced and embedded in the page. Metatags describing the content of each page are also created in WEB.DESIGNER.

Finally, WEB.DESIGNER is used to upload the finished website onto Shakari's server where the site is hosted.

Harmsen has recently used this system to create Shakari Creations' own website, which he claims to have produced alone and within five hours. "It is simply astonishing at what can be created for the Internet using CorelDraw and Web.Designer, and then just clicking a couple of buttons," says Harmsen.

By using a series of compatible applications, Shakari Creations have achieved their goal of professional website design with only a small number of staff. Ludi Harmsen has noted some obvious benefits. "Products created using these applications have ensured long-term relationships with our clients and many referrals."

Richard Pitt

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