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bdubs
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14 Jul 2009, 4:05 pm

I need to build a website for a professional organization I'm in. Where should I start? How much programming is involved? What books do you recommend? What are some cheap/free domains? Thanks I really appreciate it. :D



idle
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14 Jul 2009, 4:43 pm

that's a bit of an open ended question and really can't be answered easily.

if the site just the equivalent of a printed brochure ?
look for hosts that includes site builder and plesk, makes it a lot easier.
they often have a lot of templates to use and it's easy enough to do the whole site on line no additional software needed.
if you need more control use a WYSIWYG editor, dreamweaver, frontpage ... there's a few of them about.

Does the site need to have frequent updates, then use a database driven PHP application

Joomla, Drupals... others I can't think of at the moment.

These also come with built in templates and are easy enough to get your head around there are a lot of advantages to them
as well, so may be worth looking at.



gramirez
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14 Jul 2009, 7:59 pm

WSIWYG editors produce a lot of garbage code, which makes it inefficient.

Go learn HTML.


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Aoi
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20 Jul 2009, 5:59 pm

I've built websites for several clients, and for myself (and then sold them to others). Basic steps include:

1. Define web site's size, scope, and future (for scaling purposes).
2. Decide if a pre-existing tool for site building, such as a CMS like Joomla or Drupal, will suffice, or if you need to create it yourself.
3. If you need to create it yourself, Dreamweaver and several other packages do a reasonable job of helping with layout, CSS, and asset management, but as gramirez said above, the code will be not be as clean.
4. If you plan to have a "Web 2.0" site with interactivity or forums, get help from someone who has experience doing that kind of work. It is not something you will learn to do overnight.

Your local library will have lots of books about all these topics, including HTML, CSS, Joomla and Drupal, Dreamweaver or FrontPage, and even programming interactivity in JavaScript, Python, Ruby, or database-like functionality using PHP and MySQL databases.

Key point is plan. Then plan some more. Then do some more planning. Building a website like carpentry: "measure twice, cut once". Once you have a solid, approved plan, then start building.



Rain_Bird
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20 Jul 2009, 7:26 pm

As others have said, learn HTML. If you don't understand the code, which is the basic building blocks of websites, you aren't going to get very far as a web designer. After you've done that, you can use programs like Dreamweaver to build your site, but use the split view (so you can see the HTML and the WYSIWYG views), so that you can keep the code clean while being able to see what you're doing. Never use a pre-made template if you want a professional site.

I learned HTML myself, then took classes in high school (I went to a vocational school and took college classes in high school). I'm responsible for two websites at work, and built both of them in Dreamweaver (I'd post the links, but I don't want to risk my employer finding me on forums). One of them was a complete mess when I started working there (I think it was done by an outside company), code wise, so I had to completely redesign it. The other one needs redone every year anyway, so I just made a completely new design for the hell of it when I started working there, since the guy who did my job beforeIgot there just wasn't very good.



Togiraikonoka
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31 Jul 2009, 12:48 pm

i've done a lot of HTML for coursework in college past few years and one main site that i've always used when publishing my website online as part of the course i've always used a site called Somee{dot}com which allows both paid hosting and free hosting depending on what you want and/or how much server space you need

i dont know about what books or whatever to use but whenever i'm creating websites i use a cross between wysiwyg (dreamweaver split/design view) and pure html (notepad or dreamweaver code/split view) which makes it easy and i switch between the two depending on what needs to be done or adjusted



sqoouf
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04 Aug 2009, 3:21 pm

I've done a little bit of HTML and PHP, but I find it really hard to get my head around coding and stuff like that. Most of the time I use free online services such as Webs.com(used to be called freewebs) and Wix, simply because they require minimal effort for a quick website, and they only require as much programming as you want them to, and they're sooo easy to edit, even when you can't be bothered to do add stuff because it is so easy. You can also integrate custom HTML and CSS with webs.com, which would be a nice idea if you wanted to get the site, and then learn advanced features, or even if somebody else with more knowledge wanted to customise the layouts etc.
It wouldn't involve anything fancy, such as PHP, but it is how I am beginning. If you were to learn PHP and wanted free hosting, I would personally recommend L4rge for their fantastic 100% free hosting. If you want to take a look at my webs.com website, it is at http://07964227443.webs.com and www.lxsys.co.cc and that should give you an idea of what you can easily achieve with webs.com.
As for your cheap/free domains, you could sign up for a .co.cc domain for free at www.co.cc and they're free, like my lxsys.co.cc.
My websites , proxy4freedom and lxsys.co.cc are both created with webs, but it's the best I could find for free.
Also, a word of warning, if you were to go with a "free php webhost" such as l4rge, please backup your stuff because some (not every) seem to go down and not come back up.
I hope that this is what you were looking for, and if you need any help or advice from me feel free to ask.



pakled
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05 Aug 2009, 2:40 pm

Go to your local Used-books store, and you'll likely find half a shelf on how to design web pages.

I did one about 10 years ago (in Wordpad), it just depends on how fancy you want to be.

HTML is literally a way of telling the computer how you want things to look. You have bold,
< b> italic < i>, paragraph breaks < p >, etc. (note, they use these characters, but I had to
put a space in, or they'd actually work, and you
wouldn't see them)
Most of them act like switches; you turn on italics < i>, then when you're done, you turn it off < /i>
So you make little modules, with a start and end

Simplest is a simple page

Head - specify the look some, and some housekeeping (a section of HTML)
Body - specify the content. (another section of HTML)


Now, it gets as complicated from here as you want to go. A lot of this 'look' can be put into a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), there's more powerful coding called XML, and all sorts of widgets
(video, sound, flash, you name it).

The web is FULL of descriptions, courses, guides to HTML, as well as how to code, what things do, etc. And almost all of it is free. You can even go to Sourceforge, nonags, or other shareware sites to find coders, FTP uploaders, it goes on and on.

Hope you find what you're looking for.