I  N  T  E  R  A  C  T  I  V  E    D  E  S  I  G  N    F  O  R  U  M 
Issue 3    |   August 1999 

4 CD set, Savant Interactive, Inc. / ww

If you want to learn how to create websites, there's no shortage of information available. You'll find tutorials on the Web,

To start with the basics, try:

dozens of books, and courses offered at virtually every college, art school and community college in the country.

Which of these works best for you depends on your interests, your learning style, and how busy your life is.

Books are great for some people and deadly boring for others, likewise with working through web-based tutorials. Many of us need the personal attention and deadlines of a structured class. But if you have a full-time job and other responsibilities, working classes into your busy schedule may be tough.
WebSavant, a set of 4 CD-ROMs for your computer, lets you learn at your own pace, at home or at work, whenever you want. You watch and listen as your "instructor" builds a website, starting with the basics of HTML and advancing all the way to Flash, JavaScript, streaming audio/video, and more.
You can also use demo software and sample files included with WebSavant to follow along and create your own web pages, making this much more useful than a videotaped tutorial that you watch on TV. Your instructor never shows any irritation, either, no matter how many times you have him repeat a lesson.
For me, the WebSavant approach was more personal than a book and better organized and more comprehensive than the web tutorials. At about $200 (educational pricing available) the cost is clearly higher than book/web yet less than many college courses. You get a lot for your money, including useful demo and shareware applications and access to a website with more resources.
The range of material covered is also much greater than in a typical one-semester web construction class, yet you can pick and choose what you want to learn. You can always go back or jump ahead to topics as needed.
I'm concerned about the content of the CDs becoming less useful as browsers and other software are upgraded. This means that the CDs will be most useful for a couple of years at best. WebSavant promises updates on their website but as of Sept. 1999 none were available.
I have other quibbles with the makers of WebSavant over the amount of time/space devoted to certain topics. The information about sound quality vs. file size on Disk 3 is extremely important, but if I have to listen to that same sound sample one more time I'll scream.

But you don't have to trust my opinion. Visit the WebSavant site and order a free demo disk. Let me know what you think.

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