SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    17
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    What's the process for designing a site from scratch?

    Hi, I'm afraid I'm going to sound really stupid here, but I'd really appreciate the help:

    I have a couple of sites that I built using the website builder supplied by the host. This was great at first, but now I'm frustrated by the limitations of using their editors and templates. I'm ready to take the leap and build my own sites from scratch and only use a third party for hosting only (I don't want to use my own server yet!). Also, I plan to teach myself HTML hand-coding but I don't have time to learn it all while my site ideas stay locked in my head, so I would like to use a good WYSIWYG editor. My questions are:

    1) What is the process for building a site from scratch to getting it online? I don't understand what FTP, ASP, MS SQL, CGI or PHP mean: these are just random letters to me - I don't need someone to go into detail (thank heavens, you say!), all I need to know is if they play a part in the process of getting my site online. I know I need an HTML editor and some webspace, but that's the liit of my understanding.

    2) Any recommendations on a suitable WYSIWYG editor? I keep hearing about MS Frontpage and Dreamweaver 8 but what about nVu? Anyone used this?

    Sorry for the length, if anyone can help I'd be really grateful, even if they can just point me in the direction of a really useful couple of webpages on this subject. Everytime I try, I just find pages full of sales spiel with very little objective analysis! I will thank those who reply!

  2. #2
    I meant that to happen silver trophybronze trophy Raffles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Tanzania
    Posts
    4,662
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Out of those acronyms you will only need FTP most likely. It's a way of transferring your files (HTML files, CSS files and images most likely) from your computer to the server where you are hosting your website. The other acronyms are all used to make dynamic sites, that is, the HTML is generated depending on the user's input or on certain other things, which could be anything from the time of day to the sort of browser the user is using. This forum, for instance, uses PHP which is a language that enables the forum to generate the forum pages and thread pages using data stored in a database (MySQL is probably what it uses). This data will be the names of the forums, the content of the threads and information on each user.

    Anyway, it sounds like you will be creating static HTML pages (i.e. they don't change), so all you need is something like Dreamweaver or Nvu. I would avoid FrontPage, it's rubbish. Nvu is free and it's also quite good and simple enough, less overwhelming to begin with than Dreamweaver.

    Here is a template to get you started:
    HTML Code:
    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
    <html>
    <head>
    <title>Website</title>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" />
    <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css" />
    </head>
    <body>
    </body>
    </html>
    It's the sort of thing Nvu and Dreamweaver will start off with too. Place your CSS in the file style.css, which Nvu can also help you make. Personally I'd rather do the CSS in a text editor, I think it's easier to control. The same goes for HTML for me (and it will help you understand what is going on better), but if you want to use a WYSIWYG editor, go for it. Nvu (and Dreamweaver) can let you edit the code manually like a text editor of course. If you have no idea what CSS is, go to w3schools.com and do their tutorial, it's good.

  3. #3
    Non-Member deathshadow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Dublin, NH
    Posts
    901
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'm going to address these out of order.

    WYSIWYG - do NOT waste your time polluting your mind with broken/crappy code, sloppy layouts that have to be hacked to work in alternative browsers, or just plain bad programming habits by using a WYSIWYG... if you insist on the Dee Dee Dee route Dreamweaver is the least offensive if you use it for preview/editing, but if you rely on it to make code for you - let's just say to get 'valid' or even FUNCTIONAL cross-browser it tends to be a LOT of editing. If you are going to do it, LEARN to do it, dont' futz around with overpriced tools meant for halfwits.

    As to the acronyms, the ones you listed can be broken into categories.

    File Transfer:
    FTP means File Transfer Protocol. It is the communications format of choice for uploading your files to a server. That's it. A good free FTP client like Filezilla lets you connect and upload your files to the server.

    Some providers also let you upload files via HTTP - that's how you are doing things now with the website builder (well, kinda)

    CGI = Programming/Scripting languages
    The Common Gateway Interface is the means by which the web server software can call other software on the server to 'make' pages from the output of a programming language. A close cousin to this is Server Side Includes (SSI) - both boil down to the same thing, a means by which programming code generates a website dynamically based on user input or databases. PHP, ASP, Perl are all variations on this idea. If you are just starting out, you shouldn't have to worry about these until WELL after you have a firm grasp of HTML.

    Databases:
    mySQL, PostGreSQL, MS SQL - these are all "Structured Query Languages" - basically a faggy way of saying database manager. You create 'tables' and 'query' them for the information in them. Generally since you need a programming language to do anything useful with the information, much less pass a 'query' to your SQL engine, you need to learn one of the programming/scripting languages FIRST.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Nadia P's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    NSW Australia
    Posts
    3,564
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by deathshadow
    dont' futz around with overpriced tools meant for halfwits.
    that's a bit over the top isn't it? I use Dreamweaver, my pages are pretty lean and clean and I'm definitely NOT a halfwit :-)

    My best advice to someone new to webdev, is to learn html and css, don't expect *any* tool to create the page for you. What happens if the page breaks - how can you troublehshoot problems without knowing any html. If you try and validate a page and find some errors, how can you fix them without understanding what they mean.....

    Once the basics are learned, it doesn't matter what tool is used. I use Dreamweaver (both views) because it makes me more productive, but I know html and css, so *I* create the page, not DW :-)

    Nadia

  5. #5
    Non-Member deathshadow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Dublin, NH
    Posts
    901
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Nadia P
    that's a bit over the top isn't it? I use Dreamweaver, my pages are pretty lean and clean and I'm definitely NOT a halfwit :-)
    Well, that comment was more directed at the really offensive tools like Frontpage, Visual Page, HotMetal, etc. /SPIT/

    As I said Dreamweaver is the least offensive of them - if for no other reason than it CAN be a useful tool for doing it manually - though I find it just gets in the way and provides too much 'temptation' to let it do stuff for you... much less that it introduces a FIFTH rendering engine to the equation, which is the LAST thing a web developer needs.

    But again, I find win32pad to be 'more feature packed' than I really need.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    17
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks very much Raffles, Nadia P and (once again!) the excellent Deathshadow! Raffles and Nadia, thanks for the superb info on nVu and DW, I'll think I'll go with DW - as it seems to be the best across the forum. Deathshadow, many thanks for the acronym explanations, that's a lot clearer now I've got a nice and succinct explanation. And yes, I'd prefer to handcode, but I need to get moving and I haven't time to sit back and practice. What I will do though - as I take on board what you and Nadia say about understanding HTML and knowing how to fix broken pages - is start to learn now alongside the WYSIWYG editor. Thanks again!

  7. #7
    SitePoint Enthusiast ComputerGuru247's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    70
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    First when designing a site you have to think of a concept. Once you get an idea of what you want to make then you can start. If I were you I would start with something free and cheap like Geocities. That will give you an understanding of playing around with a WYSIWYG. After that you can then move on to programs like Dreamweaver, which is what I prefer. If you need further help feel free to PM me.
    Bryan

    Breakpoint Designs - Web Design, Logos, and more!

  8. #8
    SitePoint Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    23
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Honestly, go to your local public library and get a library card - first thing.

    Next, check out some (a lot) of books, starting with website design and html. You're seriously going to have to at least learn some basics about html before you go any further.

    Check with your library - my library offers free classes for computers, web design, html, etc... Find out what they offer and sign up for all the classes you can get for free, if you're not willing or cannot pay for such.

    Learning "how to online..." requires that you learn and/or have some pretty basic knowledge of certain concepts. If you don't know what "html, ftp,WYSIWYG, etc..." mean, then before you're going to be able to do anything, you're going to have to learn some stuff.

    Just my say-so! Hope this helps!

  9. #9
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Aurora, Illinois
    Posts
    15,478
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you go down the library route, see if they have these three books (in this exact order):
    HTML, XHTML and CSS Visual Quickstart Guide, 6th Edition by Elizabeth Castro
    Designing with Web Standards, 2nd Edition by Jeffery Zeldman
    Build Your Own Database Driven Web Site using PHP and MySQL by Kevin Yank (yes, SitePoint's very own Kevin Yank)

    Those books will get you squared away on (X)HTML, Web standards and PHP/MySQL. I'd offer you a JavaScript book as well, but I haven't found the "Holy Grail" of JavaScript yet. Note that by "Holy Grail" I mean a book that teaches you the language using plain, conversational language, does not presume you to be a geek, nerd, dork, square, or guru (just a regular person like you and me), uses pictures to not only illustrate, but also emphasize the lessons being taught, and also serves as a useful reference that you can keep going back to once you're done.

    And of course, it also has to be a book that I can recommend to anyone over ANY other book.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •