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Thread: Website design/maintenance tools

  1. #1
    Will Honea NNTP User

    Default Website design/maintenance tools

    Two part question: 1. what tools are recommended for designing web pages?
    2. What tool sets are recommended for maintaining them?

    I suspect that the first question really addresses the second rather than
    the literal question because of the source of the request.

    Here's the environment. A small church wants to post and maintain a web
    site. Various non-tech persons will be responsible for maintaining much of
    the content of the site. This tells me that they want/need a site that
    contains the necessary content maintenance tools within the site itself, not
    a tool on the individual desktops with the only real need for the design/dev
    tools being for initial construction of the site and a GOOD book on site
    design to guide construction of the site in the first place.

    I haven't done any extensive web development but I've had more years than I
    like to remember developing various system and user code so the general
    problem is all too familiar. I'd welcome any suggestions/comments on the
    topic along with pointers to available tools and/or services. I'm not
    thrilled by the options I've looked at so far. I've found places that will
    design/develop the site for what I consider to be a fair price but - and
    it's a big BUT - each one wants to lock you into proprietary solutions
    including hosting arrangements and site management commitments that turn the
    process into a money pit.

    --
    Will Honea

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Earth - Denmark
    Posts
    10,730

    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    Will Honea wrote:
    > Two part question: 1. what tools are recommended for designing web pages?
    > 2. What tool sets are recommended for maintaining them?
    >
    > I suspect that the first question really addresses the second rather than
    > the literal question because of the source of the request.
    >
    > Here's the environment. A small church wants to post and maintain a web
    > site. Various non-tech persons will be responsible for maintaining much of
    > the content of the site. This tells me that they want/need a site that
    > contains the necessary content maintenance tools within the site itself, not
    > a tool on the individual desktops with the only real need for the design/dev
    > tools being for initial construction of the site and a GOOD book on site
    > design to guide construction of the site in the first place.
    >
    > I haven't done any extensive web development but I've had more years than I
    > like to remember developing various system and user code so the general
    > problem is all too familiar. I'd welcome any suggestions/comments on the
    > topic along with pointers to available tools and/or services. I'm not
    > thrilled by the options I've looked at so far. I've found places that will
    > design/develop the site for what I consider to be a fair price but - and
    > it's a big BUT - each one wants to lock you into proprietary solutions
    > including hosting arrangements and site management commitments that turn the
    > process into a money pit.


    i surmise you would prefer to design/develop/maintain _and_ host in house?

    i ask, because i have a few little and simple sites that by the time i
    figured power & cooling costs and other things (like what happens if
    my site goes down and i'm in another country, or do i really wanna
    also buy and maintain an uninterruptible power source--for _how_ many
    hours, or days?) i decided to have it hosted...and, the hosting
    business today is SO competitive that by the time you figure all the
    real in house costs it cost not so much more for a 99.99x% presence
    with someone else whose job it is to reboot or start the gen set or
    whatever..

    and as the available host sites multipled it seems that for not much
    more almost all include some kind of pretty easy means to
    design/develop/maintain, built right in....some (many/most?) include
    templates the 'web designer' can just fill in the blanks and presto..

    sorry, but as for good ideas on a turn key in house i could do no
    better than say a good LAMP in the closet and routine tools like gimp,
    bluefish, and etc is hard to beat for design, and FTP/SSH great for
    maintaining....of course, one problem is that you will probably have a
    few helpers who couldn't "design" and "layout" a _single_ pleasing
    glossy/slick magazine page that want to design a site which has all
    the appeal of a huge Hollywood Production....and, reality just doesn't
    work that way..

    there is a reason that 'designers' learn about color, form, function,
    layout, blah blah blah..

    sorry i can't be more helpful...but, your question is kinda like: I
    took a ride in a Cessna 150 but i wanna do some solo supersonic stuff,
    IFR, without it getting real costly--how should i begin? :-) :-)

    oh, you know that (right or wrong) it is often done that one might
    just go browsing until the 'perfect' site design is found and then
    clone it with new words and logos...sure cuts down on the design cost..

    by the way, i've had stuff hosted on doster.com for many years and
    they have linux hosts and tools built in...note: they often run
    come-on ads with (sometimes) half-price hosting...when i got into it i
    pre-paid the first five years at a really nice price...i am in no
    other way associated with them and you should check around, there are
    LOTS of deals out there..

    --
    DenverD
    When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
    CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD [posted via NNTP w/openSUSE 10.3]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    Geany
    Meld
    K3Diff
    Filezilla
    Gimp

    As far as WYSIWYG editors its really a matter of preference.

    RavenNuke is a well maintained PHPNuke based CMS that meets most of requirements a community site like a Church might need. Comes with Calender, Forum, ect.. Much easier to work with then some of the more "advanced" CMS's.
    | openSUSE 12.2 Milestone4 32bit | KDE 4.8.3
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Angel Fire, NM USA
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    330

    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    Joomla is a good CMS if you don't need SEO.

  5. #5
    Will Honea NNTP User

    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    DenverD wrote:

    > i surmise you would prefer to design/develop/maintain and host in

    house?
    >
    > i ask, because i have a few little and simple sites that by the time

    i
    > figured power & cooling costs and other things (like what happens if
    > my site goes down and i'm in another country, or do i really wanna
    > also buy and maintain an uninterruptible power source--for how many
    > hours, or days?) i decided to have it hosted...and, the hosting
    > business today is SO competitive that by the time you figure all the
    > real in house costs it cost not so much more for a 99.99x% presence
    > with someone else whose job it is to reboot or start the gen set or
    > whatever..
    >
    > and as the available host sites multipled it seems that for not much
    > more almost all include some kind of pretty easy means to
    > design/develop/maintain, built right in....some (many/most?) include
    > templates the 'web designer' can just fill in the blanks and presto..
    >
    > sorry, but as for good ideas on a turn key in house i could do no
    > better than say a good LAMP in the closet and routine tools like

    gimp,
    > bluefish, and etc is hard to beat for design, and FTP/SSH great for
    > maintaining....of course, one problem is that you will probably have

    a
    > few helpers who couldn't "design" and "layout" a single pleasing
    > glossy/slick magazine page that want to design a site which has all
    > the appeal of a huge Hollywood Production....and, reality just

    doesn't
    > work that way..
    >
    > there is a reason that 'designers' learn about color, form, function,
    > layout, blah blah blah..
    >
    > sorry i can't be more helpful...but, your question is kinda like: I
    > took a ride in a Cessna 150 but i wanna do some solo supersonic

    stuff,
    > IFR, without it getting real costly--how should i begin? :-) :-)
    >
    > oh, you know that (right or wrong) it is often done that one might
    > just go browsing until the 'perfect' site design is found and then
    > clone it with new words and logos...sure cuts down on the design

    cost..
    >
    > by the way, i've had stuff hosted on doster.com for many years and
    > they have linux hosts and tools built in...note: they often run
    > come-on ads with (sometimes) half-price hosting...when i got into it

    i
    > pre-paid the first five years at a really nice price...i am in no
    > other way associated with them and you should check around, there are
    > LOTS of deals out there..


    Your comments are well taken and reflect a lot of my own thoughts.

    The current site is hosted by one of those services you refer to - I
    would stomp all over any suggestion that we self-host. The $2.50
    monthly cost wouldn't cover our electricity costs, much less equipment
    and related costs. Add in all the factors and you can not afford to
    self-host a 24/7 site with mail, forum, etc., etc. services.

    I would love to find a developer who would deliver a turnkey site with
    the normal update functions built into the site - such things as
    calenders and announcements that could be maintained by any web user
    (with password and/or other authentication). So far, my limited search
    hasn't turned up that developer. The ones I've hit to date want to
    build a career out of each web site ;-)

    At the same time, a full in-house development is not something I would
    relish. It is not a trivial task even with experienced developers -
    been down that road many, many times. I can't imagine the mess it
    would turn into with a bunch of amateurs unless the design template was
    almost bullet proof. This just came up again so I'm looking to tap the
    experience of those who have BTDT.

    Thanks for the considered discussion.

    --
    Will Honea

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    If you can make the front end of the site simple and general information this will make it easier to maintain. All the other pages will be linked form the front page that way only the calenders and announcements will be single pages. This way is all that has to be done is update the calenders and announcements and post those two pages when they get updated. You can make up a template for the calender in Open Office and save it as html and the same for the announcements. I have learned from making up a few web site that people what a nice looking site but want a easy site to navigate and good information. Here is a site that I found that looks good and not a lot of money. Web Hosting : Professional Web Hosting from Just Host

    There are a lot of programs that will handle the job for make web pages up under Linux ie: Open Office, Kompozer, Quanta Plus, Seamonkey and many more.
    I have A Momentary Lapse of Reason | Learning to Fly <and looking for> Signs of Life <after> The Dogs of War <have had> One Slip On the Turnning Away <but> Yet Another Movie <and> A New Machine <with> Terminal Frost <and> Sorrow.

  7. #7
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    San Diego, Ca, USA
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    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    Especially if you're really green at website design, I'd highly recommend you take a look at any of the "Framework" website architectures where everything is modularized, and all administration and modifications are done online directly to the website using any standard web browser. I do not recommend the traditional website design approach others are suggesting to this point.

    So, what is a "Framework" website? You start off with a basic website that typically already supports User Authentication, file management, supports automatic navigational links between pages as they're created and lots more. You configure User accounts of different permissions to grant anything from anonymous access to content modification, module installation all the way up to Administration.

    The biggest benefit of a Framework website is that you can build a full blown, powerful commercial website doing complex things within hours because for each Framework you will find a community of Developers who have already built modularized code you only need to snap into your website, then dress up a bit. Do you want a CMS? Line of Production? Wiki? Forum? Calendaring and other workgroup functionality? An online store? Payment gateways? Anything else you can imagine? In most cases you have whatever you want up and running within hours or days, not months or even years.

    Typical well known Frameworks include JBoss, PHPnuke, Drupal. If you wanted to consider a Windows platform, I consider Dotnetnuke the best and easiest implementation out there.

    Once you consider which Framework you wish to use, consider then whether you want to host the website application yourself or hosted by someone on the Web... Depending on your personal level of expertise, you can install and maintain yourself but consider that low traffic "shared" deployments might only cost $20-50/mth for a LAMP platform (double that typically for a Windows platform).

    Lastly, don't overlook the free solutions... For very simple use you can for example build a Google Apps website that's available with every free Google account, there is a way to point any Public Domain Name to what would normally be a private website.

    HTH,
    Tony

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Earth - Denmark
    Posts
    10,730

    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    Will Honea wrote:
    > The current site is hosted by one of those services you refer to
    > ... The $2.50 monthly cost wouldn't cover our electricity costs,
    > much less equipment and related costs. ... I would love to find a
    > developer who would deliver a turnkey site with the normal update
    > functions built into the site - such things as calenders and
    > announcements that could be maintained by any web user (with
    > password and/or other authentication).


    my host (dotster: who i'm not shilling for and no association other
    than happy customer) has some (all?) of the tools built into their
    least expensive monthly hosting package (more than you 2.50, but less
    than $6 and includes 100 email accounts, 10 MySQL databases, and LOTS
    of other stuff you can see at http://www.dotster.com/hosting/linux.php

    be sure and click on the "More Features" button to see it all (don't
    miss the long list of built in applications FREE, like WebCalendar,
    WordPress, etc etc etc)..

    sure, you (or someone) would still have to do the initial setup and
    design ['COPY'] work....or, i _think_ (i've not read all the small
    print) you can 'hire' Dotster to do the initial design and once done,
    then you just have that $6 bucks a month to keep the lights on and
    bits rolling..

    have a look at the glossy (and the small print) to see if what they
    are selling isn't a one time, up front design/set-up cost at
    http://www.dotster.com/web-design/professional.php
    (note the left side of that page offers several choices of depth of
    involvement, with prices from $50 to $500)

    i can't vouch for any of their web design as i did all of mine my
    stuff (KISS), but except for a huge fire that wiped out a main server
    farm two or three years back, i've been on the air at over 99.9% for a
    long long time (in internet time)..

    it _might_ be near what you need....might not!

    --
    DenverD
    When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
    CAVEAT: http://is.gd/bpoMD [posted via NNTP w/openSUSE 10.3]

  9. #9
    Will Honea NNTP User

    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    DenverD wrote:

    > my host (dotster: who i'm not shilling for and no association other
    > than happy customer) has some (all?) of the tools built into their
    > least expensive monthly hosting package (more than you 2.50, but less
    > than $6 and includes 100 email accounts, 10 MySQL databases, and LOTS
    > of other stuff you can see at http://www.dotster.com/hosting/linux.php


    That sounds pretty much like what my host (iPower) offers. They also
    essentially unlimited sub-domains and email with more bandwidth than I could
    ever use. A single account can also host multiple domains - I have 6 on the
    account now - for a one time registration transfer fee. Helluva deal.

    After pinning down the site users on this, it turns out that it's not the
    design tools that have their panties in a bunch as much as the capabilities
    of the finished site. They want a champagne site on a beer budget, which
    changes the whole conversation.

    I did come across an interesting possibility while having lunch with some of
    the profs I teach occasional classes for at a local college. They have a
    new hotshot heading the media studies department looking for real projects
    to use as case studies and potential income for his students. I'll have to
    look into that. My daughter worked in media projects for a local TV station
    for several years and speaks highly of the program.

    This whole process is opening up a whole new process for me - I guess I'm
    too much of a throwback to the "give me a closed room with plenty of beer
    and smokes" generation of programmers ;-)

    --
    Will Honea

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Website design/maintenance tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Honea View Post
    DenverD wrote:

    > my host (dotster: who i'm not shilling for and no association other
    > than happy customer) has some (all?) of the tools built into their
    > least expensive monthly hosting package (more than you 2.50, but less
    > than $6 and includes 100 email accounts, 10 MySQL databases, and LOTS
    > of other stuff you can see at Linux Website Hosting | Dotster


    That sounds pretty much like what my host (iPower) offers. They also
    essentially unlimited sub-domains and email with more bandwidth than I could
    ever use. A single account can also host multiple domains - I have 6 on the
    account now - for a one time registration transfer fee. Helluva deal.

    After pinning down the site users on this, it turns out that it's not the
    design tools that have their panties in a bunch as much as the capabilities
    of the finished site. They want a champagne site on a beer budget, which
    changes the whole conversation.

    I did come across an interesting possibility while having lunch with some of
    the profs I teach occasional classes for at a local college. They have a
    new hotshot heading the media studies department looking for real projects
    to use as case studies and potential income for his students. I'll have to
    look into that. My daughter worked in media projects for a local TV station
    for several years and speaks highly of the program.

    This whole process is opening up a whole new process for me - I guess I'm
    too much of a throwback to the "give me a closed room with plenty of beer
    and smokes" generation of programmers ;-)

    --
    Will Honea
    Will,
    Although it's not my main line of work, I have extensive experience consulting and project management with client objectives like what you describe.

    If you want, fire off a private message to me with as detailed the project requirements you have and I'd be willing to give you an early ballpark guesstimate what it would take to achieve your goals... You'd be surprised what you can get with a beer budget.

    Shouldn't take long for me to analyze if provided enough detail, and I guarantee you that you'll be able to maintain your client afterwards by yourself without much/any assistance.

    Tony

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