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Old 21-10-2010, 07:24   #1
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Recommendations for Web tools

Hey all,

I know many of you maintain web pages and blogs, so I'm hoping you have some good recommendations for me. I've recently been volunteered to update and maintain the website for the local Sail and Power Squadron that I am a member of. The current site was built using MS Front Page. It looks pretty clunky and is definitely not very user friendly. I have a Mac book laptop and a couple Windows XP computers to work with, but I'm wondering what applications you guys could recommend to help me overhaul the site. Back in the day, I built a couple web sites from scratch in HTML, but it seems like things have progressed pretty rapidly since then. I'm on a budget here, so cheap apps are great, but free apps are better. Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

Thx,

Chris
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Old 21-10-2010, 08:30   #2
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I use Visual Studio 2008, but I'm more of a programmer than a publisher/designer. Honestly, I haven't come across a tool that both creates a visually appealing page and at the same time generates code that's efficient and maintainable without the program that created it. (It's one or the other, but not both. If you find such a tool, please let me know.) As a result, most of my work is done manually writing efficient and appealing code rather than using a tool to do it for me. The tools I use are code validators rather than code generators.
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Old 21-10-2010, 08:41   #3
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I'm on VS2010 ... cough cough... :-)

Dreamweaver CS5 is a great piece of software that the design guys I know have been using.
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Old 21-10-2010, 08:50   #4
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LOL

Theres the right way to do something..... or my way

Theres a few programs that can assit in writing the html that goes in a css webpage.

Front page can be good for that also Trellian.

But first off you need the CSS style sheets etc. I would either take a format thats freely available on the net at one of the many CSS sites, or have someone who knows CSS WELL to make up one.

When you have the framework of the website you can just use HTML done line by line from Frontpage (etc) just write it out on frontpage and then copy and paste the HTML direct via Notepad in your FTP program.

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Old 21-10-2010, 09:26   #5
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I use vi
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Old 21-10-2010, 09:47   #6
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Chris, we use Dreamweaver (now part of Adobe) at work to produce simple internal intranet sites, but it looks like Sharepoint is taking over in a big way.

If a cost effective solution is required then the earlier versions of Dream Weaver are MX and available on e bay for buttons. MX has most of the features you need and even though we upgraded to Dreamweaver 8, we rarely use it all.

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Old 21-10-2010, 09:49   #7
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I use vi
Sing it, brother!
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Old 21-10-2010, 11:12   #8
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Thanks for the input everyone.


Auspicious or Rolf, what is VI?
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Old 21-10-2010, 11:35   #9
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Website Software

There are a lot of good approaches, and maybe even a best option depending on your needs from the site.

I'm making some assumptions about your site needs and resource but I recommend a content management system (CMS) of some sort for your site. With a CMS you create the design separately from your content and in the long term you only add/edit the content. This means that you don't deal with the design html/css etc. as you manage site content since the design is inherited/applied to new content as you add it through the web-based CMS interface. There are some very versatile, efficient and well coded CMS platforms available. An important benefit of a CMS in your situation is that by using a CMS you make managing content very easy and can therefore share the burden with folks that aren't as technically savvy. Most CMS systems will support multiple logins/account types so that you could hand off sections of the site to different club members without needing to train them to code, and without dealing with expensive licenses (dreamweaver). CMS systems make it easy to avoid overwriting each others changes, and many of the other difficulties of using non-web based site editing techniques in a multi-user environment.

My favorite CMS is Wordpress. It is a free/open source platform that started out as a blogging tool but is now used for a variety of site types and is one of the most widely used CMS systems out there. Don't go for the version that is hosted by Wordpress, but rather install Wordpress on your own hosting space so that you have more control over the site (you will want cheaper linux/apache/mysql hosting that is the normal budget hosting option). You will fine hundreds (actually more) of free themes and plugins available that can help you add almost any functionality that you can think of to a Wordpress site. I'm not affiliated with Wordpress in any way, though I have built a lot of sites using it..

WordPress › Download

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Old 21-10-2010, 11:39   #10
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I agree wholeheartedly with Jonathan. I am a web developer by trade, and do lots and lots and lots of custom development using rails, jquery, and friends. But I would not use anything but wordpress for my personal site. It's easy and cheap (often free) to get beautiful themes, photo upload is a piece of cake, it has excellent SEO built in.
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Old 21-10-2010, 13:06   #11
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Thanks for the input everyone.


Auspicious or Rolf, what is VI?
My apologies - it was a tongue-in-cheek response. vi is an old Unix text editor that still has a very strong and loyal following among hard-core coders (and those of us who are just old). The implication is that one hand codes without support from WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver (an excellent product by the way) and its ilk.

'vi' stands for 'visual interface' tracing back to the day when it was a layer on top of a line-based editor called 'ex'.

I've been through many generations of programming but still learn the underlying language each time. I write my own HTML, CSS, Perl, and javascript (these days) and crank things out pretty fast. I just wish I had more time for my own sites.
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Old 21-10-2010, 13:20   #12
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Auspicious or Rolf, what is VI?
About $600
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Old 21-10-2010, 13:39   #13
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I'm with Auspicious and Rolf, I'm an old school AIX/UNIX guy and always created things from scratch via vi... Since then, I still do things in notepad via MS but have moved onto flash which is kinda easy if you already have OO programming under your belt..

Never used generators as I always like to know all of my source code so I know exactly where an error occurred if it happens..
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Old 21-10-2010, 13:50   #14
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What Jonathan and Wronco said. For the kind of site you describe, rolling your own at the scripting/coding level is way more work than necessary. There was a time when Wordpress was just a blogging tool and CMS required the thorny learning curves of Joomla, Drupal, or the like (been there)... but now Wordpress handles static content very nicely and has tons of well-maintained plug-ins.

Here's a very outta-the-box Wordpress site, with almost no tweaking. It's still the default theme (Twenty Ten) with only a few widgets:

Nomadness | Geek expressionism at sea

Easy to build, and easier still to maintain. One highly recommended plug-in is Akismet, which traps comment spam very effectively.

Steve
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Old 21-10-2010, 13:56   #15
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I think I'm several rungs below most of you guys on the technology ladder. Several years ago I built a personal webpage using HTML. It was hosted by our then ISP. When we switched to a new ISP I didn't bother to re-establish the site with the new host. Apparently, that experience was enough to vault me to the head of the line for updating and maintaining our local Sail and Power Squadron web site (hasn't been updated since 2008 at this point).

Wordpress looks promising. Let me expose my ignorance further and ask a dumb question. Does Wordpress reside on my local machine or on the host side? For instance, in the good old days, I would modify my HTML files on my machine and upload them with whatever images to the host via FTP. Does Wordpress work the same way or does it reside on the host side and I login via a browser to make whatever changes/additions I want to make?
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