Not a beginner, but no expert...I have some questions

A few years ago (2003-06), I was teaching web design to high school students. So, I have a solid foundation of HTML, CSS, some JavaScript, and using Dreamweaver/Photoshop…the basics. I redesigned the school site and managed it, etc. Switched schools and have been teaching pc tech support for a few years. Well, got the GREAT news yesterday that I get to teach web design again :smiley: :cool: !

I’ll be in charge of our school site, which needs some updating to be more professional looking. Most likely a complete redesign. I was thinking of developing with php/mysql…only because that what everyone seems to do. I have no issues with learning it because it interests me, BUT I want to make sure I’m choosing the right path to design the site. I want to be able to easily update text, add new pages, images, etc. Users will not be loggin into anything (not yet anyway).

If I did the php/mysql, am I creating my own CMS? I know what wordpress blogs are, but I see it mentioned in a lot of CMS discussions. Why would I use that or why would I design my own? Where do I start? What do you guys think my best approach or some of my options are? Do I even need CMS? Is there something that I don’t know about?


For something as simple as what you are describing, I would definitely go with Wordpress and a custom theme. Then you have a back-end from which you can log in and easily update text (or allow others to easily update text).

If you built it with just PHP and MySQL you have two approaches you can take:

  • You build your own CMS from scratch (which is a bit silly of an approach for such a simple site)
  • You take a more direct approach (edit the PHP and MySQL directly for each change), which is clunky.

Thanks for your reply. Can you clarify “just PHP and MySQL”, is there something else I may want to consider? I have zero PHP/MySQL experience, but I want to learn it. In your second point, are you saying there is no CMS interface (is it called the admin panel?)? Just edit code the code directly (like editing HTML)? I’m also concerned about security of using WP themes.

I’ll be checking out the PHP and MySQL boards, but let me know if you have any good book or web resources. I am having difficulty find a step by step kind of resource that address all my questions. I guess I’ll just dive in and go from there. :slight_smile:

PHP is a programming language.
MySQL is a database.

You use MySQL to store data. You use PHP to extract that data and generate HTML.

All web pages on the planet are written in HTML at the end of the day. There are no other options for it. =p

PHP doesn’t have admin control panel or anything else special, it’s just like writing HTML.

I highly recommend using Wordpress or something else similar that has all of this pretty much put together for you.

I would say go for Wordpress.
It’s easy to implement & understand. Has good security and is constantly updated.
Along with that, it’s backend is PHP & MYSQL and would will undoubtedly have the opportunity to learn those techs while you’re building/making changes to the site.

I would recommend Joomla. It uses PHP and MySQL but you don’t need to have much knowledge of them to begin. But then obviously when you want to customize things you’ll have to learn some PHP, which I think is a better way to learn then to have to completely build a website from the ground up with languages that you don’t have any experience with. Good luck!

I recommend joomla too. Just have to spent some hours to find the basics in its interface, and at the end of the day you’ll see how simple and fast it can be.