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  1. #1
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    How do YOU build your site??

    one question that has been bothering me forever, and of course I might get mocked at asking the question. However, I feel like i'm blindly building websites and I have always wanted to know:

    How should a website be built? The smart way of doing it.

    I feel like it takes forever to build my pages because i'm building them one at a time....is that the stupid way of doing it? Do all professionals use PHP and databases for all their sites....should I always use SSI's for my site?

    Or do most people do it the way I'm doing it.....? (when it's not a gigantic site like site point....most of my sites are small)

    I know that alot of people might say, "well lots of people build them different ways"

    But i'm more so looking for some directing in what I need to be learning....if I am to excel in building websites the "Smart" way and the way that most professionals would build it.....what should I be learning?
    www.NovThird.com

    The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

    www.prematurity.org

  2. #2
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    When I start a site I set up my development server to match the URL and path structures as closely as possible to the live site.

    So on my dev I always access the pages via http://mylocaldomain.loc/

    For static sites I do not use PHP or MySQL but i could to make it easier. Instead I use Dreamweaver templates. Make one page get the structure all set then make it into a template. Every new page is made from the template and the content is changed for that page.

    Now when something needs to change like the navigation I just go to the template edit then save and DW will automatically update all pages connected not touching the content.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
    All code snippets are licensed under WTFPL.


  3. #3
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    I build a template file. It's just an HTML file with a link to an external stylesheet (like a real Web page). I define the global areas (like the header, main menu, content, submenu, sidebar, and footer), and then fill in the areas that have to remain consistent across each page of the site (basically everything but the content and sidebar).

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
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    Same as Dan pretty much.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
    Blood, Sweat & Rust - A Land Rover restoration project

  5. #5
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    Dan, do you use php for that? or dreamweaver?
    www.NovThird.com

    The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

    www.prematurity.org

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast Xevert's Avatar
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    well, when i build a site....usually i use different scripts like new / downloads / etc. and integrate them to one...hehe...and for as forum goes i prefer vb the best...

    so basically i use php / html / css to build my site

    best way is usually the easiest way to edit and update your files
    Portfolio < > Proxy < >

  7. #7
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    I'll use a little PHP (if the job calls for it), but (not that I mean to brag) I'm so good with HTML and CSS that I can literally position just about anything wherever I want without having to resort to absolute positioning.

    And I use a text editor. Win32Pad to be exact (the current version - as of the time I type this -has a bug in it where pressing Shift and Tab will cause characters to be deleted - get the most recent previous version to avoid this).

  8. #8
    whagwan? silver trophybronze trophy akritic's Avatar
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    I use Notepad++ for marking up the HTML and CSS.

    As for design, I have tried to learn to make elastic/liquid layouts using multiple floats etc, rather than going with static design. I don't know about how the other people feel but this seems to be a way of ensuring the site can scale effectively without disrupting the design too much..

    Andy

  9. #9
    Carpe Diem = Fish of the Day fisherboy's Avatar
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    I hand code everything using HTML-Kit or similar.

    I try to understand my customer, their customers and the message they want to present and results they want to achieve. Then figure out the best way to do it for them. I usually have a reasonable idea of content, Search Engine objectives and the look and feel that they want. Then I put it together.

    Keep pages small and fast-loading. Keep graphics to the minimum. Keep it functional. Help the visitor fast. Give the Search Engines plenty to grab hold of. Use external CSS and js files.

    Use a fluid layout but limit paragraph width (except IE6).

    None of this is relevant to the original question. This is working hard, not smart. What I am slowly learning is to persuade people to pay my rate, pay the extra for the hard work. I do this because I won't work with a set of templates and lack. Dan's CSS skills. I can only do my best for the customer working from the ground up, otherwise I risk missing a lot of what they want/need.

    If I may be a little immodest here, all my customers rank well on SE's and get the targeted traffic they want. I'm now doing work for Danish and Indian sites on the SEO front, as well as for local NZ companies. I don't feel I could do as good a job for them if I "automated" the process.

    My advice is to do the job well and charge accordingly. If you can gain benefits from specific techniques then use them but make sure your customers needs come first.
    fisherboy
    Web Site Design

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast michaelper22's Avatar
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    Grab a 1&1 domain, install Joomla and/or WordPress, and start hacking away. I begin the long search for the best template / theme out there, and then change a couple of bits to suit the project. However, the content usually comes last, a long while after beginning the project.
    Educated - New possibilities are on the horizon every day
    How to make the Ultimate WordPress Static Front Page

  11. #11
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    Actually I did build a site with joomla, and just modified the template....I'm sure it would be good to have a background in a code though....Joomla was a little tough at first...but I figured it out....think that I should just start sticking with CMS systems that are already made? my problem is....sometimes those CMS systems like Joomla --- are just a little too much for the websites that I build....MANY MANY times I run into people that want a website built...and they have little content...
    www.NovThird.com

    The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

    www.prematurity.org

  12. #12
    www.logoraman.com electroskan.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    I'll use a little PHP (if the job calls for it), but (not that I mean to brag) I'm so good with HTML and CSS that I can literally position just about anything wherever I want without having to resort to absolute positioning.
    I wish I was as good as him..sigh....
    LOGORAMAN
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru
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    I think nowadays web developers should at least know HTML, CSS, Javascript and one backend scripting. you gotta to learn to be good.

  14. #14
    doing my best to help c2uk's Avatar
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    @SimplyFu
    While I agree that WebDevelopers need to know all that, they don't need to know all the ins and outs of all of them. Imho, it is enough to be create at one (html/css = one).

    For example, you want to focus on html/css, then you can get one of the javascript libraries and utilise this, and if you need backend scripting you outsource what you need (you still need to know enough to make sense from the code you get delivered.

    If you want to focus on html/css you can also go out and look for a CMS that suits your needs, drupal and joomla come to mind (I personally prefer drupal, but for some projects joomla is good enough), or even wordpress if it is not a complex site.

    But this might also depend whether you develop for yourself or clients.

    Personally, I think it is a good idea to develop a network of partners for those things that you can't do yourself.
    Dan G
    Marketing Strategist & Consultant

  15. #15
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    Well, from your replies...I'm starting to feel like i'm on the right track anyway....I think that I'm going to start dedicating myself to learn php, I think that will help me with my sites as well as implementing CMS.

    Another thing that I have been wondering is....when people are building blogs for sites......Do most people just script this stuff themselves...or is becoming a staple to just implement your client's template into something like wordpress....and then just have them use that....

    I would like to be able to do a little coding so people can do simple things like update text and images themselves...I guess that is where a CMS sys would come in handy....

    I feel like I'm rambling....but I guess everytime I go to do something....I feel like I might be doing it the WRONG way....or more so there is a more simple, better way to do it....hence the reason for asking for direction......

    I would like to keep this discussion going though....because when you hear the different ways that many different developers make their sites...it gets you some insight into what might be the direction you should go.....or prefer to go...

    Because obviously everyone builds it a little differently....
    www.NovThird.com

    The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

    www.prematurity.org

  16. #16
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electroskan.com View Post
    I wish I was as good as him..sigh....
    I started by using HTML as it was intended - a markup language. I looked at what HTML code could go (as in "this is the header, this is the menu, this is the content, this is the sidebar, and this is the footer - everything else can go") and then started experimenting with CSS to see what I could do. Once you realize that every HTML block-level element IS a box, you won't need DIVs for everything under the sun, and can start styling the markup you already use in ways you've never thought possible before.

    For example, let's say you have a presentational (as in "eye candy") image next to a list. Would you wrap the list around a DIV and apply the image to the DIV, or would you apply the image to the list and apply some margins (or padding, depending on what you need to do) to the list items? I know a lot of people who'd do the former.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Building a site takes time. I understand what you are feeling. I also built a standard template that I would be using on each page. This helps a lot! I use FrontPage which is the greatest thing on earth. It sounds like you are doing it right so just keep doing what you are doing. Remember once your site is done it will be well worth the time and effort you put into it.

  18. #18
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Before someone jumps down your throat for using Frontpage, please realize it's not exactly the best thing for Web design, and that Microsoft has discontinued development on it.

  19. #19
    SitePoint Enthusiast michaelper22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    Before someone jumps down your throat for using Frontpage, please realize ... that Microsoft has discontinued development on it.
    And now offers Expression Web to replace it, a pretty good product accoring to PC World.
    Educated - New possibilities are on the horizon every day
    How to make the Ultimate WordPress Static Front Page

  20. #20
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    I felt the sting with that one coming...(frontpage)
    www.NovThird.com

    The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

    www.prematurity.org

  21. #21
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    I wouldn't trust something that already comes into one bundle nice package like Expression Engine will satisfy all the need. I still need to know more the nitty gritty of how it works, how can I fix the code without those ultimate tool. One size doesn't fit all.

  22. #22
    www.logoraman.com electroskan.com's Avatar
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    After many years of designing with frontpage I realised that it is a pretty good tool for newbies but if you go on using it for long you will never bother learning HTML or CSS. I have learned my lesson.
    LOGORAMAN
    [FB] [TWITTER] [BEHANCE] [FLICKR]

  23. #23
    SitePoint Member Merlee's Avatar
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    I would personally never recommend using template files such as what DreamWeaver uses, or use FrontPage.

    To have a truly clean, efficient, accessible site, much of it MUST be written by hand. Also, learn to use CSS for layout as well as styling...tables are evil

    The steps I typically take are:
    1 - Create the design visually of course, in Illustrator usually
    2 - Create any graphics from that initial design
    3 - Create a static html file and css to get the layout of the visual
    4 - Do #3 for each differing layout in the site
    5 - Take out common elements and put into include files (menus, headers, footers, etc.)
    6 - Save the static html as a php, asp, coldfusion file whatever is being used with SSI bringing in the common elements.
    7 - Add content
    8 - For each new page it is simply a matter of swapping out the content in the main divs.

    No matter how simple or small a site starts out, I ALWAYS use SSI and CSS. Sites grow, and after a few times of making small changes to numerous pages....well, it just gets tedious.

    Ohhh....btw....I do use DreamWeaver for writing, as it does have both design/code view and of all the editors I have tried, it has the cleanest code out there. Why do I use an editor you may ask when I promote writing by hand:?: Because most of the time I am in code view, but the simple shortcuts save a ton of time (such as Ctrl-B to make bold)
    Merlee
    www.merleedesigns.com
    Your website IS your first impression...

  24. #24
    SitePoint Zealot ozone88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelper22 View Post
    And now offers Expression Web to replace it, a pretty good product accoring to PC World.
    Some one was saying in one of the other threads that Expression Web doesn't support PHP or asp?!

    I only WYSIWYG editors when I'm being lazy most of the time they annoy the *%$#$^ out of me more then be of help.

    But then again I'm a grumpy old fossil who still uses Notepad and Linux Fedora Text Editor.

    I use the same trick as Dan when it come to designing/ building web pages.
    Catherine

  25. #25
    SitePoint Zealot codythebest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodreading View Post
    one question that has been bothering me forever, and of course I might get mocked at asking the question. However, I feel like i'm blindly building websites and I have always wanted to know:

    How should a website be built? The smart way of doing it.

    I feel like it takes forever to build my pages because i'm building them one at a time....is that the stupid way of doing it? Do all professionals use PHP and databases for all their sites....should I always use SSI's for my site?

    Or do most people do it the way I'm doing it.....? (when it's not a gigantic site like site point....most of my sites are small)

    I know that alot of people might say, "well lots of people build them different ways"

    But i'm more so looking for some directing in what I need to be learning....if I am to excel in building websites the "Smart" way and the way that most professionals would build it.....what should I be learning?
    I build my sites with notepad. I hand code in HTML, PHP, java, etc...
    I lost jobs against kiddies using dreamweaver or frontpage.
    But I got a new life by correcting other webmaster's mistakes. Mistakes that they couldn't understand because they didn't know the codes...
    So I build sites old fashion way...


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