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ChameleonKeys
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09 Dec 2013, 7:56 pm

I'm looking at building a website for a special interest of mine. I am fairly tech savvy when I need to be but haven't done much research on web design yet so am looking for any pointers from those who are familiar with macs (which I will be using for this project) and also have experience building websites. I have good design skills in general and have designed professionally but never for the web. I was self taught not trained.

The website will primarily feature information, articles and interviews with some images and needs to look very professional and be easy and pleasant to navigate. I do not want it to have a recognisable stock template (though I would like to create my own templates for ease of use) as that could make it look rather amateur. I would however like the potential ability to add a discussion forum. The forum is something I need to think through as it needs to both look good and be easy to manage. Cost is a consideration. I need the flexibility to adjust the content and possibly design when needed but also need to keep the work involved to a minimum as time to edit it will be limited somewhat.

What do you feel are considerations to take into account before beginning and which resources would you suggest my looking into?



Kurgan
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10 Dec 2013, 9:10 am

Check out codeacademy.com, and download the Smarty plugin to make the PHP modelling easier. :) My experience is that Netbeans is an excellent tool—and writing a web-site with codes rather than direct manipulation, gives you much greater control.



superluminary
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10 Dec 2013, 12:43 pm

Unless you want to learn to do it properly (which is a richly rewarding path to take, one I heartily recommend) you should use a service such as wordpress.com. You'll get some lovely features and you won't be able to tell it's a template.

Do not-not-not use Dreamweaver or anything like that or you will produce a work of pure horror.

If you'd like some advice in becoming a web designer I'd be glad to talk you through it.



Aoi
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12 Dec 2013, 1:22 am

Hard-coding a large-scale web site that includes commenting and a discussion forum is a major undertaking. Why not use a CMS such as Joomla or Drupal for the site and phpBB for the discussion forum? You can create your own templates to customize the user experience, and take advantage of the large open-source communities that create and maintain these tools, and even contribute to the project if your skills are up to it.

I've used all of the above tools, along with Wordpress and Blogger, on various Macs during the past decade, and they work well. I've also hard-coded a couple of sites, using Dreamweaver in one case and MySQL with PHP and JavaScript in another. I wouldn't go that route again unless I had very exacting specs and no open-source tools to implement them.