HomeSite Help

Marjolein's Help for HomeSite Users


We're moving!

This whole site is being moved to a shiny new server - as are all my sites, in fact. Apologies for the bumpy road ahead, but at the end of that road things will become fast and smooth.

Once the site at the new server is ready, this message will automatically disappear!

Meanwhile, you can see how the move is progressing at the status page.

 On this page:
NOT Goodbye
Working with HTML
Tool Tips
Version Control
VTML Validation
Validation Tips
More tips
The Bookstore
Blogging New!
Latest Updated!
More to come...
Extra Updated! (including search and the HomeSite WebRing)

NOT Goodbye

I was a HomeSite user since 1996. I started developing extensions for HomeSite and Studio when VTML came available, then later Allaire bundled these with the product and I became a consultant, and continued to develop and support the extensions. Then I became Allaire's Product manager for the Visual Tools - and less than a year later Macromedia took over.

I no longer work for Macromedia now, but I continue to work for HomeSite and Studio users.

Read all about it here: NOT Goodbye - a Promise.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes peeled on this page. Yes, I know the site has been needing maintenance badly for a year or so - but there's not all that much "free" time left over when working 12-15 hour days. In the near future, the site will be moved to a new server (if all goes well you shouldn't notice, but have patience if things seem a little rocky for a while); once that's done I'll gradually move all content to a database for more flexible presentation, and add a lot more things, too.

HomeSite Help: ramping up HomeSite support!  to menu



VTML is Allaire's Visual Tag Markup Language: the language with which the tag editor dialogs are defined. In HomeSite and ColdFusion 4, it is also used to define information for Tag Inspector, Tag Insight and some other configuration information. You can adapt the tag definitions, or create your own, giving you a great deal of flexibility in writing code, as well as an easy way to standardize it.

This section will deal with the language itself. There's documentation for the language (much more than comes with HomeSite or ColdFusion Studio 3.x or 4.0, though it's now included in the Maintenance release 4.01), VTML tag definitions to help in writing and maintaining Tag Editors and also Wizards and the information for Tag Insight and Tag Inspector in HomeSite 4.0 / ColdFusion Studio 4.0. Finally, there is a set of pages with VTML Tips and Techniques awaiting your contributions!

Except the Tips and Techniques page which (hopefully) will be too dynamic for now, everything is in downloadable form, with clear installation instructions for the VTML tag descriptions and VTML documentation.

VTML 2 All of the VTML Tag Definitions now conform to the new version of VTML that was introduced with HomeSite 4.0 and ColdFusion Studio 4.0: VTML 2. The set has also been extended greatly to support the new tags, including those for defining Wizards.

New: These VTML Tag Definitions now come in a single package together with the VTML documentation and the HTML Tag Definitions; a new installation program will let you choose to install the VTML set or the HTML set or both; files that might be overwritten will be backed up automatically. No more lengthy installation instructions!

Regularly check the VTML Tips and Techniques pages (updated!) and the download page to keep up-to-date! Version 2.03 available now!  to menu


Working with HTML

A brand-new section about Working with HTML. Find out about the most complete and most powerful set of HTML Tag Definitions/Editors ever - guess why Allaire now includes them with the 4.01 maintenance release?

If you don't have HomeSite of ColdFusion 4.01, don't worry. You can get at least a partial update just by installing the HTML Tag Definitions/Editors. The HS3.01 and CFS3.11 have a few limitations that the 4.0x versions don't have: these older programs don't support Large Fonts in tag editors and BodyEditing is very limited (it will only work reliably if the tag body does not have any markup). Also in these programs the information for Tag Insight is not defined from the Tag Definition files, as it is for version 4, and they don't have Tag Inspector. The tag definitions for the version 3.x programs reflect these limitations. In all other respects the two sets are functionally equivalent.

And learn about Index DOT Html: the best HTML reference there is. So indispensable, it should have been bundled with the maintenance release of HomeSite and ColdFusion Studio. Alas, that didn't happen - but if you already have the maintenance release, check the Maintenance Release Special page: a special tool, DocSwitcher, will let you switch easily from LeHunte's HTML reference to Index DOT Html as the HTML documentation linked to from the Tag Editors.

New: The HTML Tag Definitions now come in a single package together with the VTML Tag Definitions and documentation; a new installation program will let you choose to install the VTML set or the HTML set or both; files that might be overwritten will be backed up automatically. No more lengthy installation instructions! Version 2.03 available now!  to menu


Tool Tips

Marjolein's Tool Tips: Another new section! Tips about getting the most out out the tools that are part of HomeSite and ColdFusion Studio. One page tells you about creating and distributing Toolbars (many undocumented features here!), another about the capabilities of the Tag Chooser, Tag Editors, Tag Insight and Tag Inspector - and how to choose which tools to use.  to menu


Version Control

Version Control - do you need it?

If all you ever do is build your own personal home page with maybe a few linked pages and update it all twice a year, probably not. But then you maybe don't even need HomeSite.

If you build several sites, or even a single one that you need to keep up-to-date, chances are version control would be handy. And if you work for clients who may want to go back to a previous design you did, version control would be a great help.

But isn't software for version control very expensive? Most packages are - very much more expensive than HomeSite. The next step up would be ColdFusion Studio 3.x which comes with a bundled version of StarBase Versions. The HomeSite and ColdFusion Studio 4.0 support the SCC interface, making interfacing with some of the higher-end version control systems possible. But real version control may be even cheaper than upgrading to HomeSite 4.0 or ColdFusion Studio - and can be integrated with even HomeSite 3.01. Read this page to find out more!  to menu


VTML Validation

VTML must be one of the most powerful aspects of the new architecture of HomeSite, since now you can adapt or write your own tag editors, even write fairly sophisticated code generation tools. But that power has its dangers.

One problem is that when you make a mistake in your VTML code it can be very hard to find as HomeSite does not give much information: make a mistake in the layout of the editor and HomeSite usually just says "Huh?!". Make a mistake in the code generation part, and you may get a decent error message. But some mistakes actually cause an access violation (I think the parser may be trying to read past the end of the file).

To help a little, I've created a configuration file for CSE HTML Validator that will let you validate VTML files.

Currently the VTML Validation configuration file is in test stage. If you want to give it a try, you can download the configuration file from the VTML Validation page. You'll also find some notes about how to use it on that page.

See the Todo page about latest developments! If you want to continue to be able to do VTML validation, get your own licence of CSE HTML Validator now!  to menu


Validation Tips

Validation is not the same thing as validation. There are many kinds and they accomplish different things. You will almost certainly need different kinds of validation. More on this in the new Validation Tips section: Why and how to validate, and how to get the most out of the CSE HTML Validator program. The program came bundled with HomeSite 3.01 and Studio 3.11, but no longer in later versions. But there is still, even improved, support for integration with this validator. See the Extra page for how to upgrade to the full professional version - with a discount!.  to menu


More tips

"How in the world do you imbed those icons...This is driving me nuts trying to figure out!!!" This question, in various forms, lands in my mailbox quite regularly. So I've decided to put the answer on a page in this site. One page for now, but the start of a new section.  to menu



An overview of all downloads available from this site. With size, date, required software versions and a short description linking to more extensive information. Check here regularly to find new downloads or versions.  to menu


The Bookstore

Go to The Bookstore for all your webmaster (or webrookie ;-)) books. Anything from learning the basics of HTML to esotheric XML and server-side scripting. And if you buy a book here you won't pay any more (in fact, you'll get whatever discount or offers) but at the same time you'll help me cover the costs of running and maintaining this web site. Miss anything? mail Let me know! Don't see your favorite book listed here? Let me know, too. In fact, tell me why this is your favorite book and I'll quote you on that, together with a link to your own web site.  to menu



Blogging can be useful, but it's fun as well. So by way of a little birthday present to myself, I've created some blogs for this site, neatly packaged away in their own subsite. It took me a day and a half to set up, complete with templates in PHP and weekly archives; styling may still need some tweaking, but I think it's good enough for for now; I'm trying to keep this one simple.

The main index page gives access to three blogs, so jump over there to see what's there. I'll be doing some backtracking in the coming days to let you know what I've been busy with so far. And of course you can easily set "Spies" to be alerted when there are new entries.  to menu



Whenever there's something new, you'll find it mentioned right here:

  • The very latest: I've added some Blogs related to this site and my work on tools and extensions for HomeSite and the Studios. Three different blogs, in fact, to keep things tidy. Go have a look and see what what I'm busy with!
  • The latest: Re-launch of The Bookstore. It's a complete subsite now, with a much more extensive choice of books already than the old Bookstore had. Yet, there still are some empty shelves (you can see what's planned from the site map) so why don't you mail let me know what you would like to see there? The bookstore is run in association with and which means you'll get all the advantages of discounts and fast service from Amazon; but if you order your webmaster books from here, it also means you'll help me to cover at least some of the costs of maintaining this web site. I won't get rich from your orders, but every little bit helps. Check regularly (or use Spyonit to check for you!), this Bookstore keeps growing!
  • Don't miss this: I've started my own SETI@home group: SETI@HomeSiteHelp. Join, too! Go to the Extra page to find out how.
  • Still noteworthy: I don't work for Macromedia anymore. But I continue to work for you, HomeSite and Studio users. Read all about it here: NOT Goodbye - a Promise.
  • As start of a new Web Design tips section: a page about how to implement shortcut icons. With more information than Microsoft gives you about this technique!
  • And don't miss the downloads page: it gives a tabular overview of all available downloads.

Also worth mentioning: I have acquired some new software tools. The result: from now on all new downloads will have their own installation program instead of lengthy installation instructions. I'll gradually add an installation program for older files as well.  to menu


More to come...

The site keeps evolving... The accent no longer is on VTML: the language and tools and documentation for working with it. There are now both VTML and HTML Tag Definitions available. There is a section about working with the tools that are part of HomeSite and ColdFusion Studio. Sections about validation in general, and about version control.

The Bookstore is a complete subsite now, and will continue to grow rapidly.

I still have some other things I'm working on in my free time (though I don't have much of that) so gradually you'll see more things appearing here, apart from just updates to what's there already. Here's what is on my Todo list now.  to menu



Some extra and background information can be found on a separate page. On the Extra page you'll find information about: