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space cadet
2004-Oct-23, 06:29 AM
can anyone reccommend some good software for a person who knows absolutely zilch about creating and launching a web site? I have to make a site for my instructional tech class but the guy teaching the class aparently doesn't believe in using simple english. I learn better by doing anyway. I think if I just got some software to play with I could figure it out for myself. Right now he's having us use Mozilla to create a site but it's not very user friendly.

Crazieman
2004-Oct-23, 09:42 AM
This is how I learned to make a site a long time ago

HTML Goodies (http://www.htmlgoodies.com)

Windows Notepad

And FileZilla (http://filezilla.sourceforge.net/) for uploading.

Though others might have some easier methods.

Admittedly, mine takes a lot of reading, but you get better basic HTML troubleshooting skills out of it. (Edit at the 'code' level)

Padawan
2004-Oct-23, 10:07 AM
Try the trial version of Macromedia Dreamweaver (http://www.macromedia.com/software/dreamweaver/), it's an easy to use software

zebo-the-fat
2004-Oct-23, 01:06 PM
I use Arachnophillia version 4, it has an edit mode for composing the HTML code and a view mode to see the results (either in it's own viewer or the computers default viewer (I.E, Firefox or whatever)
(I like the version 4, I have tried later versions which are java based but I had problems with this, but V4 does all I need)
The upload process to the actual web site will depend on your ISP, some use FTP others have their own system of web based uploaders, you will have to check with your ISP for details. The one thing that seems common is your first page (the "home" page) needs to be called index.htm
The other thing that caught me out is a page that worked fine on my system failed when I uploaded it, after a lot of frustration I found that it was because I was using Windoze and the server used Unix, Windoze does not bother if a file name uses capitals or lower case letters but Unix does. So if I had a link calling Picture.jpg and the file I uploaded was picture.jpg all I saw was the red cross.

I hope this helps :D

Ut
2004-Oct-23, 01:15 PM
I use FrontPage, personally. It's solid, but nothing special. I figure, it came with Office, it's good enough. Unless you know enough of the underlying code, though, any WYSIWYG editor is going to be frustrating, because they never let you do exactly what you want in the visual editor, even if it's stupidly simple to perform by looking at the tags.

Tranquility
2004-Oct-23, 02:32 PM
I bought Frontpage separately, and it's very robust, and there's tons of publications out there to help you figure out your way around it. It also comes with many preset web components that you can add. So basically you don't need to know any HTML to actually get it to work.

Tunga
2004-Oct-23, 03:01 PM
I use HotMetal Pro 5.0 by SoftQuad. It works for me. Some of my files are large text files. One trick which I use is to generate it in Word , spell check, save it in HTML format, pull it into HotMetal Pro for editing. Quick & Easy. I received several complaints from readers because webpages are difficult to print. As a result, I tend to use pdf files on my webpages especially if there are large documents with tables and text.

Robert Andersson
2004-Oct-23, 06:04 PM
I won't give you the advice you want, sorry, but a few thoughts. :D

- The most important thing about a web site is its URI scheme. Contents and what goes on behind the scenes can change, but the URIs is the site's public interface and should never change once it is published. Please read: http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/URI.html
- Don't use frames!
- Don't use ".htm" extensions. It is an ugly Microsoft artifact; the proper extension is ".html"
- To the greatest extent possible, use standard compliant (X)HTML together with CSS for the styling. If you get a program, check if they generate standard compliant code - most do not!

It might be good to read most of W3 Consortium's Putting Information onto the Web (http://www.w3.org/Provider/) guide; might help you see what it is all about.

Majin Vegeta
2004-Oct-23, 06:53 PM
I would suggest getting a Invisionfree message board and learning how to work that before the actual site, then go to phpBB free, which I have the link to, PM me for the free phpBB link.

TrAI
2004-Oct-23, 07:53 PM
- Don't use frames!


Heh. I think frames are good if used the right way, it all depends on what the site is supposed to do. Some web shops use them to allow quick browsing between subgroups. The google groupsthingy uses them to show the thread structure of the current thread without interfering to much with the text view, a useful function. Of course there are some examples on poor use of frames out there, as there are examples of such for most element types. There have to be a reason for using them, on most simple pages they are not needed, but they have their uses. Frames do have the negative effect of making it harder to keep track of addresses though(if you are trying to give someone the link to a page with some information on).

If you are going to display long pages, it can be annoying having to scroll up the page, the "jump to top" links kind of break the expected function of links(loading a new page), and it gets tiresome to scroll up with wheel/keyboard. Of course one can use the scrollbar, but if you are using scroll wheel(a more comfortable way to move slowly while reading) it is easier to click a link in a separate menu than to scroll up with the bar to find the appropriate link.

I think frames are preferable to the abomination of floating menus, for example... :evil:

frogesque
2004-Oct-23, 07:56 PM
I built my own site with Front Page Express and Arachophilia, For FTP (file transfer protocol) I use SmartFTP. All these are available for free download.

I agree that 'hands on' is much better than book learning. To get started you will need a site to upload to, beware though a lot of the 'free' sites carry adds and/or spyware (which is why I use my own .com). You will also need some ideas for content.

As well as all the other advice above I would add; stick exclusively to .jpg and .gif file extension for images and .mid sound files until you build up more experience. Never, ever use AOL's .art graphics, they are awful and will only work for someone connected to the web wilth AOL - everyone else will see a blank! Keep the layout simple and no more than 3 clicks deep for any indexed pages (always link back every page to the home page).

Look at sites that impress you and those that don't, right mouse click on the page and go to 'View Source' on the drop menue. This will show you the HTML for that page and you can get an idea of how it all works. Learn how to use tables, they really make a difference to the page presentation by allowing you to use different borders and backgrounds on the same page. Learn how to use the one pixel gif for spacing, it's a very useful little animal. Before uploading AWAYS run every page content through a spell checker. Most message boarders are fairly tollerant of the odd typo but bad spelling and grammar can grate as much on a website as they would in a quality newspaper or magazine.

Finally, check your site using different browsers, esp. IE and Netscape as they do interpret HTML slightly differently and can throw up some surprises. Also check using different PC's if possible because the viewer's own PC settings also affect the screen image.

If you need help or advice (I'm not an expert by any means) PM me and I'll do what I can but don't expect me to do your project for you!

Ref. (http://frogesque.com/)

zebo-the-fat
2004-Oct-23, 08:06 PM
Don't forget there are many sites offering "cut and past" code you can use in your site

Robert Andersson
2004-Oct-23, 09:55 PM
Heh. I think frames are good if used the right way, it all depends on what the site is supposed to do.
Well, but their correct use is pretty limited in my opinion. When frames are REQUIRED for the "main" page to work, it is wrong; a web resource should be self-contained (loose term). For example, a TOC is usually ok to have in a frame, if you also have necessary navigation links in the document itself. As you noted, using frames is bad when making links and for search engines, and to get around those problems it gets really messy. I can tell from experience :cry: .


stick exclusively to .jpg and .gif file extension for images
PNG is ok too, and I would prefer it over GIF.

Look at sites that impress you and those that don't, right mouse click on the page and go to 'View Source' on the drop menue. This will show you the HTML for that page and you can get an idea of how it all works
Beware, though. 95% of all web sites out there are pure crap and abhorent. You can get nasty habbits.

Learn how to use tables, they really make a difference to the page presentation
Don't use tables for layout! Please! Each set of elements in HTML has semantical meaning. Tables should be used for just that - tables. Use, if you can, CSS to add layout and style to your pages. HTML is a markup language, not a style language!

Before uploading AWAYS run every page content through a spell checker.
In addition, always check your pages with W3's markup validator service: http://validator.w3.org/. And maybe also the CSS validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/.

Finally, check your site using different browsers
Yeah, that is a good thing to do. However, if you hand code your pages, follow standards! To many people make sites so they just happen to work in a particual set of browsers instead of doing it the right way. First code so it does what you want according to the standards, then check in various popular browsers to see if there are any quirks.

tuffel999
2004-Oct-24, 01:55 AM
Notepad....notepad.....notepad.

Learn HTML the long way and you will be better served by it. For god's sake don't use Frontpage and don't use IE specific bull.

sarongsong
2004-Oct-24, 07:56 PM
Leo Laporte, from TechTV (http://www.techtv.com/), just now recommended http://lynda.com on his radio program in response to a listener's question on Website creation, and says he just posted more related info on his site.

space cadet
2004-Oct-26, 06:54 AM
thanks so much for all the info guys! You all rock!

stu
2004-Oct-30, 05:40 AM
Notepad....notepad.....notepad.

Learn HTML the long way and you will be better served by it. For god's sake don't use Frontpage and don't use IE specific bull.

I second this, though my analoge on my Mac is SimpleText. I learned HTML when I was in 8th grade back in 1997 (I feel old now) the LONG way. In my never humble opinion, M$ Frontpage is a HORRIBLE program and inserts and uses non-standard, non-cross-complient "crapcoed" (in my terms). Many of its special features for webpages are not supported and cannot be used without the proper extensions running on the webserver.

Okay, with my rant over, I also recommend starting with Macromedia's Dreamweaver free trial. I realize that this goes against my coding by hand mentality, but I'm also a realist in that not everyone wants to learn how to code (X)HTML. Dreamweaver also has tutorials and lots of info on the internet, so you shouldn't have a problem learning it, espeically if you want to do a simple site.

I also recommend that if the site has more than ~6 pages that you concentrate on good navigation. Most horrible sites on the internet that have decent content would be much better if only they'd have good navigation that makes sense.

Robert Andersson
2004-Oct-30, 10:52 AM
Notepad....notepad.....notepad.

I second this, though my analoge on my Mac is SimpleText.
At lease use a decent editor, EditPlus (http://www.editplus.com/) is pretty good for Windows, and, of course, Emacs (http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/emacs.html) for every other platform :)

Humphrey
2004-Oct-30, 04:10 PM
I use Edit plus to manually code my old website. Its a very good program. The free trial lasts forever, but they suggest if you use it beyond the date that you pay.

I just got dreamweaver and i think im going to re-make my site on that.


But like others have said, one thing you should learn in CSS. Its very powerful and makes changing things a heck of alot easier.