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  1. #1
    Caveat surfer Buddy Bradley's Avatar
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    Site Development Tool Idea

    I've been thinking about this for a while, and thought I'd run it by people here to see what you thought (and if there's already anything that does the same thing).

    Your basic company website will have several common elements on a page - a header with logo, navigation, sub-navigation, content, search box, a box for other information, common footer, and maybe some other bits like a breadcrumb trail, external links list and styleswitcher.

    I think that a useful tool for me as a designer would be a series of simple questions where I enter the basic information about the site (after discussion with the client), and then the site is generated entirely server-side, new files and directories are created, and then all I have to do is style it with CSS.

    So a very simple example might be:
    Page 1: "How many pages will the site have?"

    You enter 3

    Page 2: "First page - enter requirements:"

    You select 'Text only', name the page 'Home' and paste the homepage text that the client has provided into the box

    Page 3: "Second page - enter requirements:"

    You select 'Text only', name the page 'About Us' and paste the relevant text

    Page 4: "Third page - enter requirements:"

    You select 'Form', which then allows you to specify the number of fields, their type, length, and any validation requirements

    Page 5: "Header and footer - enter details:"

    You tick the relevant boxes - so for header, you tick logo and strapline, and for footer you might tick copyright and privacy policy links
    Then using PHP (or ASP), all that information is converted into compliant XHTML and JavaScript, using semantic DIVs to split up page areas; a new folder is created in localhost and files are saved using the names you've provided.

    So basically what you end up with is a complete site ready for styling.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot
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    I've considered doing something like this too. Sounds a great idea... I'd personally need to learn a bit more CSS to make it work, but if you're cool with all that then it'd probably be great!
    KickRSS - free web-based RSS aggregator.

  3. #3
    Caveat surfer Buddy Bradley's Avatar
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    I was also thinking that a few default templates could be created as well, so that the site could be proofed in a variety of layouts before starting to amend the chosen template to the final version.

  4. #4
    Starting to-digg-in ********* jamesxv7's Avatar
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    Your idea sounds like a CMS at small scale.
    James: Ecodig - My Blog - My Gallery
    Validate your sites: CSS - HTML/XHTML
    Without faith you are lost.

  5. #5
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    The Typo3 CMS has a function very similar to the one you suggested. It's called Freesite, and by answering a series of questions regarding names, domains and template, a site will be created using the selected template with a basic structure.

    The customer can then login and add information to the site.

  6. #6
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    Same system is used by http://www.worldsoft.co.uk/ , a Swiss ?? company. They have Genesis, the ultimate website generator. You can make a complete site without viewing any HTML or CSS.

    wimb

  7. #7
    Caveat surfer Buddy Bradley's Avatar
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    Thought there probably would be a few. I doubt any of them output compliant XHTML and CSS, though (and a table-less design!)

    I'll get round to building it eventually...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buddy Bradley
    Thought there probably would be a few. I doubt any of them output compliant XHTML and CSS, though (and a table-less design!)

    I'll get round to building it eventually...
    Now hold your horses Buddy boy. You should check them out before you jump to conclusion (unless you just love build it yourself, and your question would be unecessary in the first place).

    Typo3 leans heavily on CSS, and a table-less design is no problem. It's all up to you when you design the templates.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast jlgarcia's Avatar
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    It sounded to me like the web sites generated by MS FrontPage, just answer some questions and choose a template and you have a brand new web site...
    Use the source, Luke...


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