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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru sowen's Avatar
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    ANY suggestions welcome.

    I am developing a site to supply tutorials on a specific program. I have a design I am happy with, and I now need to start formatting the content.

    This is where things start to fall down, how to do it! I have been devouring books, magazines, and web sites and with so many options I just donít know which way to jump!

    Hereís my situation.

    I can run ASP with MS Access on my server (but not MySQL)
    I would not consider myself a programmer or scripter
    I do not have 8 hours a day I can devote to the site
    It is my intention that the site will (in time) grow to include tutorials for other programs
    I would like to look professional ďunder the hoodĒ even though Iím not. Although the site is not directly aimed at web builders, it is likely that a few will stop by. It would be very nice if they didnít see a dog breakfast when they view source and even better if it was actually quite good code.
    The program I am writing tutorials for is available in Windows, Mac and Linux flavours so I will (I hope) be getting hits from browsers on all those OSís
    I would like to make file downloads available.

    So, as far as I can see it these are my options;

    1. Just html, and save each tutorial as a separate page and keep updating the links, most recent articles etc by hand.
    2. Save each tutorial as html but store the links in a database and use asp to include the requested file.
    3. Save the text of the tutorial in an access database and create the page dynamically when requested.
    4. Store the tutorials as xml and create the pages dynamically when requested

    I donít actually know how to do the last two but if thatís the way to go so be it.

    Your suggestions on which way to start developing would be much appreciated. And if you have a better way of doing it please let me know

    Cheers all

    Simon

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard wdmny's Avatar
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    You should:

    Make a template and use ASP to grab the page requested and dump it into the template. Check out http://www.4guysfromrolla.com for how to do this, they have some good tutorials about doing just that.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast showpony's Avatar
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    hey sowen,

    this is exactly what I'm doing (except with college course information and course tutorials) using ASP, MS Access, and DreamWeaver UltraDev 4. I would be really pleased if you'd like to share thoughts/advice on this if you go the ASP and Access road - as it sounds like we are doing something really similar.

    BTW if you haven't tried UltraDev - have a look at it - I can use VB Script, but UltraDev is so much faster than all that typing...
    Showpony
    (the Kiwi that flew)

  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru sowen's Avatar
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    showpony,

    I have decided to go along the asp route but with some XML in there too!

    I don't really know much programming at all and I am learning as I go. I have DW4 and a trial of Ultradev but UD seems a bit flakey - keeps crashing out on me.

    Just getting my head around XML at the moment. It looks like it could be really cool used in combination with asp, you should have look.

    Have you got anything up yet? I have a couple of 'coming soon' pages at dotCDR and I managed to get snitz-forums working (again ASP and access) - just click through to the forum page.

    And yep - I would love to share any insights I might have

    Good luck

    Simon

  5. #5
    SitePoint Enthusiast showpony's Avatar
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    I've kinda got a mix and mash of stuff up, it's all being developed on my local machine, then uploaded to the server, so what's on the server is here - although it doesn't work yet cause of an Active X error that we are trying to fix...

    http://www.richmond-utcoll.ac.uk/temp/index.html

    this first page is going to be a Flash splash screen (not really what I'd like, but what is wanted, so there you go - client comes first) Hasn't been done yet as they haven't bought me a copy of Flash!

    I'll let you know if (no - not if, when, WHEN!) we get this server thing going so you can see in detail what I'm up to.

    How are you finding XML and what are the benefits for this type of thing?

    I also noticed there is a new system (EPrint archives) where academics can archive their papers for free access. I wonder whether this system would be something we could use for our vairious sites, and whether it uses XML?

    www.cogscisoton.ac.uk/~harnad
    Showpony
    (the Kiwi that flew)

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast showpony's Avatar
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    I didn't realise you were a Corel Draw user! Yay for you! I am constantly amazed by the number of people who do things the hard way (ie in bitmap editors like Photoshop) when they *should* be using vector...
    Showpony
    (the Kiwi that flew)

  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru sowen's Avatar
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    Hi Showpony

    I am a vector man through and through - I've been using Corel since version 2 - I am even listed in the help pages under service bureaus!!

    The dotCDR site is mainly a hobby (and a good way of practicing this new fangled web stuff) and is going slower than I would have liked. Unfortunately I keep getting distracted by trying doing it right rather than just doing it! Thank god nobody is paying me to get it together!

    XML - hmmm think IĎve opened a Pandora's Box.

    I have progressed a bit since my first post, a combination of a book (Sams Learn xml in 21 days - 2 years old and skips the bits you really want to know ) plus searching around the links everyone posted here.

    Trouble is it's all very general and pretty vague. I am convinced that basing an entire site around xml is the way to go, I just can't work out how to integrate everything. Can you put together a site design in xml?
    Do you create a html/asp page and drop the xml data in?
    Do you hold all the data in an xml file?
    The questions go on, and on Ö..

    I am a bit of a standards advocate and I know pumping out xHTML from xml data will be easy so I am persevering (plus I wonít let it beat me )

    I think I just need to find those last few pieces of the jigsaw Ė anyone seen them!

    The college site is looking good! I am going to have a look at the Eprint site in a bit Ė sounds interesting.

    Flash Ė arghhhhh splutter, spit. Enough said.


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