SAN FRANCISCO (06/23/2000) - The makers of both DotCool Inc. Builder 2 software (US$30) and OhGolly.com Inc., a free Web site for small businesses, stress the ease of use of their respective Web page builders. To judge from their promotional material, you could load their software, seat a monkey at the keyboard, and watch him post a "Why I Love Bananas" home page within minutes.
For some time, sites such as Homestead have enabled people who lack a working knowledge of HTML to create their own business or personal Web sites. Now, DotCool Builder 2 and OhGolly.com have taken the next step: You can set up a Web site if you're able to follow simple directions.
Both products reduce Web design to a few well-explained steps and convenient templates. And both companies will host your Web site for free (DotCool for one year only).
Depending on how much material you want to post, DotCool's talking tutorial can guide you through building your site in less than an hour. The 75MB program includes templates for sites about family, hobbies, sports, business, and other subjects. It's simple to insert your own art, graphics, and text. The finished product? Well, when you tell friends you did it yourself, they won't be surprised. The color choices tend to be garish, and the default graphics resemble low-rent clip art.
OhGolly.com enables you to assemble a much more refined look. Its templates are intended for business sites, though they can serve other purposes. OhGolly.com will host a ten-page Web site, plus a catalog featuring up to a hundred products. If banner ads bother you, however, beware--they'll be on your site.
And as with DotCool, the company name will be part of your domain name (like EdWare.OhGolly.com)--though that suffix may not project the image you want it to.
The primary difference between OhGolly.com and DotCool is how your finished site will look. OhGolly's templates are more sophisticated, and the site limits your design choices to prevent novices from spoiling that polished appearance.
For beginning Web designers, OhGolly is my first choice. Use DotCool if you can't get OhGolly's templates to suit your purpose.
--Edward N. Albro
DotCool Builder 2
PRO: Talking tutorial makes Web design easy and quick.
CON: Won't win any design awards.
VALUE: Good for beginners.
PRO: Makes Web design simple and provides a polished look.
CON: Banner ads on your site.
VALUE: Businesses can easily construct a good-looking site.