Online software tools


The term online software tools is made up of three separate words.

  • online - available via the internet
  • software - a computer program/application
  • tool - usually refers to a relatively simple program that performs a single task (or a few tasks)

When combined, an online software tool is an application that performs a task (or a few tasks) that does not require downloading onto the local computer, and instead runs through an internet browser that has a constant Internet connection. While the term tool has traditionally meant software that performs a single task or limited tasks, the word has almost become synonymous to application, a program with a number of features, and tends to get used interchangeably. This is probably because as internet speeds increase over time programs are able to provide more functionality to online software. Therefore, modern web applications that provide functionality for people to perform work, such as the Google Suite, are probably considered online software tools.

How online software works

Historically, users would have to download a pre-compiled client program on the client side. In this old model, when the server was upgraded the client program would also have to be updated. As web programming languages have developed over time and with more reliable, speedy internet connections, typically users are no longer required to download a client program. Instead, in a simplified view of modern web applications a dumb client relies on a smart server or a smart client relies on a dumb server (1).

Difference between online tools & applications vs interactive websites

While there is no strict line between online web applications and interactive websites, the term web application typically refers to an application that has a user interface that resembles a program you might see as a desktop application e.g. Google Docs. On the other hand, a website that has some dynamic content would normally be considered an interactive website e.g. Ticketmaster.

Advantages of online software tools


Disadvantages of online software tools

Video application features

Multi-layer track editing


Multi-layer track editing is a method of video (or sound) recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple video, sound sources (or of video and sound sources recorded at different times), titles, transitions and effects to create a cohesive whole. The benefit of using an editor that has multiple layers is that each of these layers can be manipulated separately from each other layer, allowing the editor to have finer control over the editing process.


A short history of video editing

Video editing is a descendant to motion film editing, and in lots of ways resembles the motion film editing process.  In the 1950s, video tape recorders were so expensive and degradation caused by copying was so great, the track was cut using a guillotine and spliced with video tape. All the film was joined together in one-long line of tape in a linear editing process. With the invention of the flying erase-head, new video and audio could be recorded over material that was already recorded on film. If a new scene needed to be shot towards the beginning of the film that was of different length to that which already existed, all subsequent scenes would need to be re-shot. Around the same time, vision mixers allowed sources to be played back simultaneously to create more complex transitions between scenes. (2)

The first true non-linear editing (NLE) hardware was first introduced in the 1970s, however it was during the 1980s where a number of films and TV series put it into use. The mid-to-late 1980s saw a trend away from the linear videotape method towards non-linear editing. (6)

The 1990s saw computer processing advance sufficiently enough to support true digital imagery. Avid's Media Composer software became the dominant NLE software platform. Adobe Premiere was released in 1991 as a competitor to Avid's low entry products, and since 2003 has been redesigned as Adobe Premiere Pro (7). Former member's of the Premier team, split and created what became Apple's competitor to Premiere, Final Cut Pro.

Adobe Premiere has supported multi-layer track editing since its 1.0 release in 1993, at this stage it supported two video tracks, three audio tracks and one transition and superimpose track (7). Final Cut Pro and Avid software around the same time (information lacking).

Since the year 2000, most computers have come with some single-layer video editing options and more recently dual-layer video editing options (one layer for combined video compositing), the main two options being Windows Movie Maker (on Windows computers) and iMovie (on Mac computers) and a number of open source options have also been released. (2)



Titles refer to the overlay of text and/or graphics shown in cinematography as an introduction to a topic. Titles are typically used at the beginning of a program or film known as a title sequence but can be used throughout a video to introduce characters, places, topics and more.

Title Sequence

The title sequence refers to the method by which films or TV programs present the title and opening credits. The title sequence is a combination of titles, with live action, animation, still images and/or graphics to help establish the setting and set the tone of the program. (9)



A transition is used in the post-production process in video editing to combine shots or scenes. During the editing process, clips will be joined together typically with an instant scene or image change through a normal cut, however most films will use selective transitions to convey tone or mood, suggest the passage of time, or to separate parts of the story. (10)



The term effects refers to anything that is done to change or manipulate the original video footage in the post-production phase.  This includes but is not limited to changing the visual elements, audio elements,

Visual effects (VFX)

VFX is the process by which imagery is created or manipulated outside the context of a live action shot in film making. Visual effects involves the integration of live action footage (special effects, SFX) and generated imagery (digital effects) to create environments to create environments which look realistic, but would be too expensive, dangerous, impractical, time-consuming or impossible to capture on film. Visual effects using Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) have recently become accessible to the independent filmmaker with the introduction of affordable and easy-to-use animation and compositing software. (Direct Quote - 12)

Sound application features

Sound effects

Artificially created or enhanced sounds, or sound processes used to emphasise artistic or other content of films, television shows, live performance, animation, video games, music, or other media. In motion picture and television production, they are recorded and presented to make a specific storytelling or creative point without the use of dialogue or music. In professional motion picture and television production, they are normally treated separately to dialogue and music.

Publishing features

Colour schemes

The choice of colours used in design for a range of media. For example, the "Achromatic" use of a white background with black text is an example of a basic and commonly default color scheme in web design.

They are used to create style and appeal. Colours that create an aesthetic feeling when used together will commonly accompany each other. They use two or more colours that look appealing together.


Used in digital image editing to separate different elements of an image. They can be compared to a transparency on which imaging effects or images are applied and placed over or under an image.


Containers for text or other objects. They can also exist as a placeholder—a container without contents. As containers and placeholders, they are often seen as the basic building blocks for a document's layout.


The art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing (leading), and letter-spacing (tracking), and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning). The term is also applied to the style, arrangement, and appearance of the letters, numbers, and symbols created by the process.

Print/display option

Refers to the available options in publishing that change how the published document will display on screen or when printed. Some examples might be portrait or landscape, size (A3, A4), paper type, black/white or colour etc.

Types of digital publications

PDF format

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format used to present and exchange documents reliably, independent of software, hardware, or operating system. Invented by Adobe, PDF is now an open standard maintained by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). PDFs can contain links and buttons, form fields, audio, video, and business logic. They can also be signed electronically and are easily viewed using free Acrobat Reader DC software.

EPUB format

EPUB is an e-book file format with the extension .epub that can be downloaded and read on devices like smartphones, tablets, computers, or e-readers. It is a technical standard published by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). The term is short for electronic publication. EPUB became an official standard of the IDPF in September 2007, superseding the older Open eBook standard. The Book Industry Study Group endorses EPUB 3 as the format of choice for packaging content and has stated that the global book publishing industry should rally around a single standard. EPUB is the most widely supported vendor-independent XML-based (as opposed to PDF) e-book format; that is, it is supported by the largest number of hardware readers.

Difference between PDF and EPUB formats

1. Readablity

PDF files can be viewed exactly the same way as original format. On PC or Mac OS, PDF is perfect for readers except in mobile devices. For the readability with mobile devices, EPUB is better than PDF.

2. Popularity

Adobe official website says “More than 150 million PDF documents publicly available on the web today, along with countless PDF files in government agencies and businesses around the world.” From this analysis, it is not hard to find out that EPUB is not yet as popular as PDF.

3. Multiplatform

As PDF and EPUB are open standard, both PDF and EPUB can be viewable in multiplatform: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, Linux and many mobile devices like iPad and Kindle.

4. Layout

PDF files creates a static image, tables, images, and other elements and well retain the original layout as well as eBooks. While EPUB has its outstanding feature-support reflowable content, the text display can be optimized for the EPUB-reading devices.

5. Versatility

PDF file can be created to take notes, highlights, annotate, etc with Adobe Acrobat. However, EPUB can be read-only, no editing function.

6. Extensibility

“More than 2,000 vendors worldwide offer PDF-based solutions including creation, plug-in, consulting, training, and support tools.” according to PDF is more extensible that EPUB.

7. Security

PDF is well known for its security feature. Not only the digital signature allows you to proclaim the authority of the PDF files, but also the open password and owner password set to the PDF can protect others from copying and printing, even opening. EPUB files can be optionally containing DRM, but it is not a requisition.

Advantages and disadvantages of different types of digital publications



Advantages of moving from print to digital publications

  • reduced cost due to printing paper, printer cartridges, printers, specialised machinery etc not being required and less labour intensive processes
  • easier distribution as transport of printed material will be not required, digital publications can be emailed or shared on cloud storage
  • universally accessible documents can be uploaded on a website and available 24/7
  • reduced need for physical storage of hard copy documents e.g. filing cabinets not required as documents are saved digitally.

Disadvantages of moving from print to digital publications

  • additional cost due to requiring a device e.g. tablet, phone, laptop or desktop to access or read the digital publication
  • additional cost and organisation of a specific application to open the digital document e.g. Adobe Reader
  • additional cost and organisation of extra electronic storage to save digital publications.


Use appropriate application software

Choosing an appropriate application software to meet your requirements

To choose an appropriate application software, you will need to review the requirements of the project and understand what tasks will need to be achieved to complete the project. Sometimes you will know quite instinctively the appropriate application software for the project or else be limited to the software that your company already uses. However, there will be times where you are asked to source a suitable application that will be applicable for your company for this project and to use going forward.

How to choose appropriate application software

There are a number of questions that you will need to ask to determine the most suitable software for your company. This might be software that your company will use, or software that you include as part of your product.

You will probably need to trial a number of different software platforms and test them out with end-users to determine their suitability. This section highlights some generic and specific questions you may ask yourself when choosing appropriate application software. This is by no means an explicit list, just a starting point.

Generic Questions

  • What are the cost restrictions? Are you limited to capital expenditure? Operating expenditure?
  • How many users will you need to support? How many can work concurrently on the software?
  • Are there any limitations with the licensing of products you release?
  • Which software provides the best user experience for your users?
  • What features are included in this software that are not included in other packages? In other words, what are the 'added bonuses'?

Web Design & Development Software

  • Does the software support the end-user being able to add/edit content on the website in a user-friendly manner?
  • Does the software support the ability to write your own HTML/CSS/JavaScript for the site?
  • Does the software make it easy for designers to add content without having a technical understanding?
  • Does the software support a responsive design automatically?
  • Does the software support the use of webpage templates?
  • Does the software have a built in FTP client?
  • Does the software support many people working on the same website?

Digital Publication Software

  • Will the software support the production of company templates?
  • Does the software support multiple layers?
  • What export options are available on the software?
  • Does the software allow access to image, typography libraries? Is there an additional cost associated?

Digital Video Software

Decision-matrix method

Pugh Concept Selection

Choosing criteria based on your requirements

Functional and non-functional requirements

Determining when to change software

Sunk cost fallacy

Create templates suitable for use in appropriate application software

What are templates?

Why create templates?

Template file formats

Working with applications that do not explicitly support template file formats

Templates in publishing

Templates in audio

Templates in video

Other templates (MS Word)

Use multimedia software to create interactive digital products and/or digital solutions

Definition of multimedia

Steps prior to using software

Finding out how to use software - help, tutorials, trial and error, how-to books, find an expert

Expectations in real-world

Use of the specific standards and conventions for a chosen digital medium

Colour profiles




Create digital publications