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  1. #1
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    I'm new- be gentle!!

    Hello folks!

    I've lurked this forum for some time and have been blessed with the time to toy around with coding my first "real" web pages. I've been reading and was hesitant to post this thread as I don't want to get flamed. I'm not looking for a free ride, just a nudge in the right direction.

    I have created many static pages, nothing of any consequence really. Promoted a couple music groups, created picture pages for family, really basic stuff. I was using Nvu for some time until I started playing with MS FrontPage, which has worked really well for me to this point.

    Now that I really want to delve deeper into web development (with no formal training mind you), I want to start out with a simple online store selling widgets, and a forum site to get a feel for dynamic design.

    What I'm looking for is simply your opinion. Do you use an editor like FrontPage or do you code manually? I'm finding success coding manually but it takes me forever to accomplish anything- there just has to be a better way.

    Thanks much for your input.

  2. #2
    masquerading Nick's Avatar
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    While personally I am against editors because it keeps you from really learning how to code, I do recognize that they can be effective. However, I beg you not to use frontpage, and at least use an editor that will produce standards-valid code, like Dreamweaver. But above that, if you really want to get serious about website making, it is in your best interest to learn how to do all of this stuff without a GUI IDE.

    For creating a widget selling store, I suggest starting out being an ebay affiliate. It's an easy way to maintain a good product base, and you don't have to worry about anything like processing payments and shipping. There are a couple of ebay affiliate scripts out there to help you in such regards, but if you want a good one you'll have to shell out a little money. I recommend phpBay - it's a plugin for wordpress (or a standalone api if you want), and it's really easy and intuitive. It's $49, so it won't hurt your wallet either.

    For a forum, be warned that while creating a forum is easy, with free software like phpbb, making it popular is a difficult task.
    Nick . all that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast Grenland's Avatar
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    I would also advice against using a WYSIWYG editor, at least at first. You need to know the codes. Personally I use Notepad++ at the moment.

    For a forum, I won't advice against it. It's nice to learn how to do it - even if you won't get many users.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast trishacupra's Avatar
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    I also agree about steering away from Frontpage.

    I suggest you install WordPress from wordpress.org and play around with it. It's a Content Management System (say goodbye to laboriously creating individual static pages forever) and hack some WordPress themes (a great way to hone your HTML, PHP and CSS skills). And then get excited about WordPress plugins, and the things you can do with them. (WordPress is not just for bloggers, by the way. You can create a 'normal' type of website using WordPress Pages, not just Posts.)

    As for creating a forum, I've heard that Simple Machines Forum (SMF) is the best. I've found it easy to use. You can find it at simplemachines.org.

    Both WordPress and SMF are completely free, so you have nothing to lose.

    Have fun!
    Trisha Cupra, Web Design Watchdog
    Protecting website owners from the most painful online mistakes

  5. #5
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    And there's even a WordPress Plugin that will bridge the WordPress and SMF databases as well if you want to let people comment on the blog while they're logged in to the forum (and vice versa).

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info!

    I do know how to code the static HTML pages manually, that's how I started. I got hooked on the ease of use the WYSIWYG editors offered and perhaps am a bit spoiled since I've never created anything special.

    In regards to the advice on my projects, thank you. I know it's not necessary to reinvent the wheel. The thing is I need to fully understand the fundamentals of certain aspects of each for a project I see down the road. I need to have full understanding of user registration and maintaining the database that goes along with it. I need to understand certain aspects of the store not so much from the filling orders part as the shopping and ordering processes involved.

    I will investigate WordPress and DreamWeaver. I have also been advised of GPHPedit which is an IDE for Linux.Thanks for all the encouragement.

  7. #7
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    Hi Carlo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo Gambino View Post
    The thing is I need to fully understand the fundamentals of certain aspects of each for a project I see down the road. I need to have full understanding of user registration and maintaining the database that goes along with it.
    I completely agree with you. When I needed a blog, I didn't get some blog software off the shelf, I built it myself. Not because I needed to, but because I wanted to fully understand how it all worked. And so if there was a problem, I could actually fix it, rather posting on forums and hoping someone has a solution

    Although visual IDEs are pretty good for simple HTML based sites I think that as you get into coding more you'll find yourself editing the code directly more. Although some IDEs visually display dynamic coding, you often want to know exactly what is going on and also if you can trim it down or improve it.

    I used to use Dreamweaver, but now I just edit code directly (using Textmate at home and E Text Editor at work). Now that I know the code it's a lot faster for me and I just feel like an IDE gets in the way of me getting what I want.

    When you're looking at things like dynamic languages and databases, find the ones you have a genuine interest to learn, rather than what is the current 'in' thing. I struggled for years trying to learn ASP because I thought it was what I should learn, and then I discovered Ruby on Rails and love it, even though I'm not the best at it (but good enough for building my own stuff ).

    Good luck

  8. #8
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    Wordpress is an amazing tool, theres a plugin out there for everything. Take a template, copy/paste/delete items and make the design and functionality resemble what you want. If something not working, Google is your friend, so is wc3 validation. For less dynamic and smaller sites, after your design is done on paper, try Dreamweaver in split view. (note: Dreamweaver can be fussy displaying in design mode, never rely on it completely.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delameko View Post
    Hi Carlo,



    I completely agree with you. When I needed a blog, I didn't get some blog software off the shelf, I built it myself. Not because I needed to, but because I wanted to fully understand how it all worked. And so if there was a problem, I could actually fix it, rather posting on forums and hoping someone has a solution

    Although visual IDEs are pretty good for simple HTML based sites I think that as you get into coding more you'll find yourself editing the code directly more. Although some IDEs visually display dynamic coding, you often want to know exactly what is going on and also if you can trim it down or improve it.

    I used to use Dreamweaver, but now I just edit code directly (using Textmate at home and E Text Editor at work). Now that I know the code it's a lot faster for me and I just feel like an IDE gets in the way of me getting what I want.

    When you're looking at things like dynamic languages and databases, find the ones you have a genuine interest to learn, rather than what is the current 'in' thing. I struggled for years trying to learn ASP because I thought it was what I should learn, and then I discovered Ruby on Rails and love it, even though I'm not the best at it (but good enough for building my own stuff ).

    Good luck
    That is some good insight, thank you! I have been experimenting with ASP, PHP, and python so far. I am a Linux fan by nature so I'll end up using PHP mostly but python is becoming my favorite language overall due to it's flexibility.

    I'm glad you share my thoughts on knowing the inner workings. This is really because I want to get into handling all aspects of the web design and server administration within my company as I understand it more and more. There are some projects on the horizon that I would really like to be involved with which is why I'm pushing so hard to understand the nuts and bolts.

    The worst part, for me, is that I have no formal education and neither the time nor the desire to go back to school. I want to learn it on my own which is a double edge sword. I lurk the forums and read what I can but when I ask "too much" i get flamed and I'm not incompetent, just in new territory.

    Thanks for all the input. I've decided manual coding will be the way to go. Now I just need to learn a little more about PHP & MySQL so I can start implementing what I'm learning!

  10. #10
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo Gambino View Post

    The worst part, for me, is that I have no formal education and neither the time nor the desire to go back to school. I want to learn it on my own which is a double edge sword. I lurk the forums and read what I can but when I ask "too much" i get flamed and I'm not incompetent, just in new territory.
    I am a newbie who has yet to complete his first page. My formal education ended some 40 years ago and I have no desire to go back to school!
    I have a copy of Dreamweaver which I am going to use IN CONJUNCTION WITH an external text editor. If I can't get something right with markup then I shall use Dreamweaver, then look at the text generated to try and make sense of what I've done. Perhaps it's not the perfect way but I think for me it will work and slowly I'll learn the language. I have a couple of good books on XHMTL which have already pointed me in the right direction. I used to teach English as a foreign language and always the best results came from a mixture of theory and practical in varying proportions.
    Perhaps this is a way forward for those of us who struggle with theory. Anyway good luck exploring your new territory.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo Gambino View Post
    I've been reading and was hesitant to post this thread as I don't want to get flamed.
    You shouldn't get flamed for asking questions and such. I've seen tons of revamped code in here; most responders are very, very generous and tolerant of "noob" questions. We were all noobs at one time or another, and it's a rare Sitepointer that loses sight of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo Gambino View Post
    but when I ask "too much" i get flamed and I'm not incompetent, just in new territory.
    I'm surprised and almost shocked to read that. I've asked some stick-stupid questions in here and the worst that has happened has been that I've been ignored. Most of the time people pat me on the head and steer me in the right direction. Don't be shy about asking; it sounds to me as if you ran into the odd yammerhead who felt it was their right to insult you for knowing more about design or code than you. Again, I don't see much of that in here, and we shouldn't see it at all.

  12. #12
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    I think it's brilliant that you wan't to learn howto create your own scripts. I have been coding for some years now and tried installing something like JOOMLA and didn't like it at all. I would recomend using PSPad for coding. I havn't actally seen notapad++ properly but rom what I've heard it's very similar to PSPad.


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