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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Recommend web-design programs?

    I did my due diligence and looked through the previous posts, but I'd like to ask a slightly more focused question. I have far too many years in the development world (I'm one of those who started out with Hollerith cards and paper tapes) but escaped a half-dozen years ago. In other words, I have some coding experience -- but all in languages that are either obsolete (Assembler, COBOL, FORTRAN) or out of the mainstream (multi-value data base BASIC varieties). For what it's worth, I'm comfortable with command line operations in both Windows and UNIX (so, presumably, LINUX).

    I need to put together a web site for my business (a personal one, as well, but that's less imperative -- the specifications will be roughly the same). The site(s) will be fairly static, aside from a blog page, with absolutely no animation (this is an accounting business, after all). In other words, fairly simple. While I can code in HTML and CSS if I must, I'd rather not spend the time struggling through the process of becoming competent. I'm looking for a good, low- or no-cost WYSIWYG web page editor, BUT -- it must allow me to use my own choice of hosts, which rules out at least 90% of the ones I've looked at. I can't afford to pay a developer (the ones with reasonable prices seem to be the ones that insist on holding the sites close and not allowing owner maintenance).

    My only other requirements are (1) the program must use modern technology, and (2) there can't be an artificial limit on the number of pages supported -- the personal site will be used for family tree posting and could run to dozens if not hundreds of pages by the time I'm through. I've looked at WordPress in the past but haven't revisited it recently, and the other day I downloaded Serif WebPlus to take a look. The latter uses a lot of frames, which I understand violates my first requirement unless they're use of the term is different from the anathema in the page design world.

    Any recommendations are welcome, as are "stay away from this one" posts. Discussions are even better!

  2. #2
    jwoods
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    Coding the HTML pages is only part of the equation.

    Managing the performance and scalability of your web site is another.

    Security is also a critical piece.

    A good free HTML editor I like is from CoffeeCup Software...

    http://www.coffeecup.com/free-editor/

    I would suggest doing some reading on the W3C site...

    http://www.w3.org/standards/webdesign/

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  4. #3
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    Why are hosts ruled out? Does the software produce code in ASP?

    cheers, Paul

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  6. #4
    Silver Lounger
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    One way to get started is to 'borrow' a page you like the looks of, save it to your hard drive. Then download the Free Microsoft Expression Web 4 from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downl....aspx?id=36179 to view or edit the coding. Or using a word processor such as WordPerfect, Word, LibreOffice Writer try creating a page as desired and Save As or Publish as a Web page.

    Many hosting services can get a Domain registered and provide a page editor plus FTP procedures/program to upload pages to the Domain.

    I also looked at WordPress some time ago and didn't care for the emphasis on blogging. One of the nicest page editors was Microsoft's FrontPage, usually part of some versions of Office or as a stand-alone but some hosting services no longer support FrontPage extensions.

    If one wanted to do it the earlier way, get the HTML for Dummies book and use Notepad, a very clean text editor that doesn't insert hidden coding like a word processor does.

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  8. #5
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berton View Post
    If one wanted to do it the earlier way, get the HTML for Dummies book and use Notepad, a very clean text editor that doesn't insert hidden coding like a word processor does.
    I'm all for the do it native approach as you can control EXACTLY how you site looks. With CSS if you set up a couple of good styles the appearance is easy and you can load it on any host.

    On the other hand I wouldn't use notepad. You want NotePadd++ at a minimum or better yet Arachnophobia (both free). The advantage here is the syntax color coding and checking (in the case of Arachnophobia) make the job much easier.

    One final note: MAKE SURE your domain is registered in YOUR name. It's the only way you can protect your brand should you decide to change host services.

    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    PowerShell & VBA Rule!

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  10. #6
    New Lounger
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    In terms of your business site then WordPress can be made to look shiny with a decent theme. I've been using the free version of Make. As @RetiredGeek notes own your own domain and find some hosting that will allow you to run PHP and hopefully has a one-click WordPress install option.

    I think that with the use of RootsPersona you'll also have some measure of success with getting WordPress to sort out the showing of your family tree for your personal site. If your host allows subdomains (and most do), then you can have two sites running off of the same domains http://something.com for business and then http://family.something.com for your personal stuff. I've been using 34sp for years and they offer all that I've suggested.

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  12. #7
    Star Lounger
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    Paul, I've ruled out the sites that insist on hosting simply because I already have a host I believe I can trust. To keep life simple, I like having my domain registration, hosting, and email all through the same host. I did have to make a change because the previous one had too many email problems once too often. Thanks for asking!

    Dave

  13. #8
    Star Lounger
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    Thanks, Mouse. I actually have separate domains for the personal and business websites so that's not an issue. Because I have two lines of business, though, I will be using subdomains to keep them separate (and, in fact, I'll probably get some additional domains for them just because that's what clients will be looking for if they type a URL without knowing exactly what they're looking for).

  14. #9
    Star Lounger
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    Jwoods, thanks for the links. If I get to the point of direct HTML editing I'll definitely look into the CoffeeCup editor. My previous site was completely hard-coded, and it looked like it!

    I am familiar with the W3C site. It was very useful, along with a book that is either still in a box after I moved my office or at home, so I can't tell you what it is. Not quite HTML for Dummies but definitely along those lines and it includes some of that information, as well.

    Dave

  15. #10
    Star Lounger
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    Berton, I keep forgetting about the "publish to web page" option in LO. Thanks for the reminder!

    Dave

  16. #11
    Star Lounger
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    Geek, I fully agree about maintaining ultimate control. My problem is simply that I don't have a lot of time to be learning to code HTML (and CSS, of course) from scratch. I'm in one of those circular dilemmas right now -- not enough income to pay for someone else to design a site, but no web site to attract more lucrative clients.

    I took a brief look at Notepad++ the other day but didn't have much time. I'll look at arachnophobia, as well. Thanks!

  17. #12
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    The web is a complex place these days. HTML and CSS have not been enough for a long time, but it can probably be argued that now they are even less enough than they were 7 or 8 years ago. Javascript as become an integral part of a better web experience.

    There are those who add another piece of technology to it - a server side platform (although the preference for a full javascript stack has been increasing). If you want to persist info, you will need to store your data in some form of database, and that adds to the learning curve.

    Unless you want to go through all this (it can be fun), you can use a Content Management System, of which WordPress is the easiest to begin with, is widely supported and has thousands of add-ons that allow you to get as complex a web site as you wish. The downside, besides performance unless you do with some Premium hosting, is some inflexibility, unless you know both PHP and WordPress architecture, but it should be pretty enough for most common websites.

    There are other CMSes that you could use, with a steeper learning curve, though. Joomla and Drupal are probably the most popular. You could even find dozens of other similar systems, but they won't be as featured as these.

    Forget WYSIWYG systems. Those can't even ensure the HTML will be right, let alone the use of modern technologies. Unless you are prepared to fight against them, use a decent editor (a quick search will allow you to determine favorites of web devs) if you don't go with a CMS. In your case, I would probably go with WordPress, considering your needs and your knowledge of web development.

    HTH
    Rui
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  19. #13
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    The site(s) will be fairly static, aside from a blog page, with absolutely no animation (this is an accounting business, after all). In other words, fairly simple.
    I can't see the need for more that HTML, CSS, and maybe a little JavaScript. Reminds me of the old adage about using a Sledge Hammer to kill flies.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  21. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    I can't see the need for more that HTML, CSS, and maybe a little JavaScript. Reminds me of the old adage about using a Sledge Hammer to kill flies.
    A blog may require a bit more, especially in terms of data storage - there are blogging platforms that use stuff like XML to store posts, but it doesn't sound like the best option here. So, if you add up a data store, unless you use a ready made platform, you would have to deal with data store access. That would require some learning on its own .
    Rui
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  23. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    the old adage about using a Sledge Hammer to kill flies
    I thought it was "sledge hammer to crack nuts"?

    cheers, Paul

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