rcook

Teach Yourself Web Development

26 posts in this topic

Ah, web developers. They're all bastards. I know I certainly am.

Seems to me you need to be clear on what exactly you're trying to achieve and what the site has to do in terms of functionality. As I frequently say to my clients, any fuckwit can build a website these days, the trick is in building the right one for your clients/potential clients.

If you think that building a successful website is an IT project, well, not surprisingly I'd beg to differ, but again it largely comes back to what you're trying to say and to whom.

The other thing to bear in mind is you probably have no reference point for degree of difficulty to implement certain functionality - in some cases clients ask for a quote for something which is no more than 15 minutes of programming, other times they ask for something 'simple' with no concept of the underlying complexity of their request. Usually it's possible to steer them toward an easier/cheaper alternative.

I'd agree with the advice to give the likes of Dreamweaver a wide berth - bloated, buggy, over-priced crap (IMO).

I'd suggest perhaps a Wordpress template - there are loads out there - find something close to what you need then you can customise. You'll need an HTML editor and something to work with CSS, which will control the layout and placement of elements of your site.

Alternatively if you don't want to learn HTML and CSS from scratch (which may require more than one damp weekend) then products like Rapidweaver (Mac only) or the CoffeeCup stuff will give you an easier intro.

Thanks Miles, no the web developer in question was told not to do certain things - like put my company logo in a certain place, or to use Wordpress under any circumstances. Both of which they did, and found themselves no longer doing work for me, fortunately this was at an early stage.

I won't use Wordpress UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. I know some people will disagree and love it, but rarely have I ever come across such a godawful piece of software, truly, jaw-dropping, brain-meltingly ghastly (bear in mind I've been in IT since the days of DOS 1.25). I wasted three days trying to get somewhere with it, I was ready to throw my PC through the window by the end... and this was meant to be an easy to use one. Joomla, Drupal and all the others were at least as bad. So there is no way I will go back to using it, ever. In this day and age, it should be easy, intuitive and straightforward - which Coffeecup SEEMS to be.

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Again, it's a case of being clear what you're trying to achieve, acquiring the right tools to do it and the understanding to make them do what you want. Most of the open source CMS options are really intended to be used without a working knowledge of html by the person(s) editing the content, which for most clients would be considered a good thing. They're not really intended as tools to build a website, but to manage it. So you're not really comparing like with like.

To actually create 'master' pages and functionality you'd normally be working with tools to create/manipulate code which you'd then use as the basis of CMS templates.

Since HTML is HTML, if you avoid anything which generates proprietary code, e.g.. Dreamweaver, you can edit your code in anything you like. It simply becomes a case of finding the editing environment which suits you at any given time.

But again, it all comes down to what you're trying to achieve.

In truth,I'd not get too hung up on the technology. It's not mandatory to have a detailed working knowledge of how a printing press works in order to produce a great ad, nor will immersing yourself in video post-production software let you turn out a great commercial.

To me what you're describing isn't an IT problem, it's a marketing/communication issue, and DW for Dummies won't help you with that.

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W3schools.. but being an it person you would know that..

WordPress is marvelous by the way, but as you've already decided...

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Yes, a avoid dreamweaver, hideous pile of bloated shite, which generates bloated code too.

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I made a website once, I used a program called vim, which is what I use to write all code and stuff with, I likes it, a lot.. Most people don't.

Also I would not recommend using it for big and complicated websites perhaps.

It sure does make me happy though.

//Jan

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W3schools.. but being an it person you would know that..

WordPress is marvelous by the way, but as you've already decided...

Thanks for the pointer to W3Schools

Cannot abide Wordpress, I did try it, but it was ghastly. Really don't get why it is raved about.

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If you have a Mac at your disposal to work on, I would highly recommend a piece of software called Coda. It has all the good points that people do praise Macs for (ease of use, layout, clear functionality etc.) without the bad points (it's not stupidly overpriced with loads of crap you'll probably never need). It is however Mac only, so it's not available on Windows at all.

If you just want basic code markup, Notepad++ for Windows is fine and also free, which is nice. Doesn't have any site management tools or FTP build in mind.

If you do want a book, you want to look at HTML / CSS courses rather than software packages. Which particular one you go for is very much a matter of taste though.

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A few thoughts from someone barely one step up the same ladder -

Before you start, plan the site on paper - keep it as simple as possible, for users' sake and yours (so many sites are self-defeatingly overambitious and overcomplicated).

Sketch-out a consistent layout for your webpages - again, keep it as simple as possible, for users' sake and yours (so many sites are self-defeatingly overambitious and overcomplicated)! :D

Although a steeper learning curve, I'd recommend doing it the steam-powered way and write your own code, you have more control over the final outcome, and maintenance/updating/expansion becomes easier.

Use tinternet as your source: found a feature you like? Clone it - right-click-view-source is your friend...

W3Cs HTML and CSS free validation service is a BLOODY useful debugging and development tool and will leave you with code that works on all browsers.

Oh, and while you should see how your code renders on different browsers (and ideally different monitors) don't expect it to work properly on Internet Explorer - nothing does :nup:

Bonne chance mon ami! :^

Thanks Paul

- - - Updated - - -

If you have a Mac at your disposal to work on, I would highly recommend a piece of software called Coda. It has all the good points that people do praise Macs for (ease of use, layout, clear functionality etc.) without the bad points (it's not stupidly overpriced with loads of crap you'll probably never need). It is however Mac only, so it's not available on Windows at all.

If you just want basic code markup, Notepad++ for Windows is fine and also free, which is nice. Doesn't have any site management tools or FTP build in mind.

If you do want a book, you want to look at HTML / CSS courses rather than software packages. Which particular one you go for is very much a matter of taste though.

Thanks Jon, I don't have a Mac unfortunately so I can only use PC based applications

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I would agree with EoS (that must be a first! lol) regarding going the steam-powered way. I taught myself html and css when I became virtually housebound some years ago, just as an intellectual exercise, and have two websites that I maintain. I chose to use Topstyle [ http://www.topstyle4.com/ ] as my html editor, as it has built-in helps (suggestions in coding in both html and css) a preview pane which can be either IE or Firefox and a separate preview with either browser and different screensizes. The W3C validations are linked in the menus too.

The latest version is IE8 friendly, and autodetects other browsers too. Works on Windows 7 (which my version doesn't - note to self: must upgrade) and makes sites for mobiles too.

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Easy. Learn html. Learn CSS. Learn graphic design. Forget the rest of the posts on this thread.

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Easy. Learn html. Learn CSS. Learn graphic design. Forget the rest of the posts on this thread.

Actually, not far wrong.

By all means code the whole thing in php or java. Then redo it in a year's time.

Nothing wrong with properly implemented HTML. The very best sites use exactly that.

And Dreamweaver is fine. The major issue with DW is people using older versions that they've hacked, which write basic HTML to older standards. Your choice, but if you steal a tool, don't complain that it doesn't work properly...

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