Web Development - A new Approach.

Using Google Docs

Over the last couple of decades I have developed a few web sites, mainly as a hobbyist but occasionally for companies and societies. I have tried various methods but these days I use

I use Apple kit so want to be able to read and update using Macs and IOS devices. This can be achieved using browser for development although sometimes a bit difficult on my iPad. Weebly have an IOS app which is quite good.

Main Concern

The cost of Weebly is low with a limited service for free and Google Sites is free but I worry about losing all my work if these companies decide not to continue with the service. Weebly is a small company but Google is of course massive and successful. However Google has in the past dropped many services that were originally launched as the latest and greatest. Recently Google have announced they are pulling the plug on Picasa, both online and on the desk top. They have replaced it with Google Photos, good free but it is more automated and less customisable than Picasa which I use to use and have recommended for many casual photographers including friends and family.

Some of my first web sites were created with Google Page Creator and although this had many users and was in my opinion very satisfactory it was dropped and replaced by Google Sites in 2008. Now Sites is hard to find from the Google menus and I am not aware of Google actively promoting it.

This pattern of behaviour is not unique to Google. As I said above I am an Apple user, no windows kit remains, but  Apple also drop products that many people use. In 2011 I bought my first Mac, a MacBook Pro which I still use. There was a WYSIWYG web development tool called iWeb but this was withdrawn in 2012. More important for me, a keen photographer for 60 years, they decided to replace both iPhoto and their more professional product Aperture with the Photos App for both OS X and IOS. Again the replacement product

though good is not a professional tool so I ended up using Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC.

So I started writing native HTML and embedding this into both Weebly and Sites that have procedures to allow this. I built the HTML with an OS X product Taco (update I now use Textastic) and copied the body (i.e. the HTML between <body> and </body> tags) and embedded it into the Weebly and Sites. This way I have some limited protection so that if the need arises I could reuse the code in other tools.

However this is a little slow, and especially when writing mathematical notes it is much easier to use Google Docs with its inbuilt equation editor and keyboard shortcuts which I will write about later. This can be embedded easily into a Google Sites page using Insert -> Drive -> Document.

You can see this in my RodT Digital World site. Note  this link does not work when the document is embedded in Weebly site. I am still investigating this.

Export to other formats.

This document can be exported to a MS Word document, and this in turn can be imported or opened by Pages as well as MS Word.

It can also be exported as a PDF document.


An additional advantage is updates to this document will automatically be reflected in both Sites and Weebly.

Editing on iPad

This section is being written on my iPad.

At first I could not find a way of selecting Heading but this is easily accomplished by just dragging finger down document for just a few mm. to reveal top editing bar.


Easy to insert photo from iPad but I have not found a way to adjust size. I will test later to see if this can be achieved later on Mac. However the text does not wrap as it does in the native Doc.

Editing Photo when next on Mac

The photo of the Lapwing on the left was originally added to document when editing on my iPad and was a fixed size covering 100% of the width. I was able to reduce its size and crop it by editing on my iPad the next day.

So whereas you can edit and add to the document on the iPad you may require some extra formatting on your Mac later. I assume the same with PC.

Common Tren Upton Warren Worcestershire 17-06-2010

The photo of the tern was also added on the iPad only this time I reduced its size by first inserting it into Google Slides where it is possible to change size and then copying and pasting it into this document.

All I had to do subsequently on the Mac was select the wrap option. For consistency I also added the same margin as for the Lapwing.

The document looks the same on the iPad as it does on the Mac after these changes were made.