PDA

View Full Version : Anyone built their own site?



AbnRanger
04-29-2008, 11:20 PM
I've always been more of a DIY (Do It Yourself) kind of person, but never really tried to learn the first thing about Web Design til now. I wonder who here has attempted and/or accomplished building and publishing their own site.

I'm trying to get my Portfolio page built then published, but separating all the little elements/layers/text to layout in Dreamweaver looks to be a pain in the bum...did all the graphic elements myself in Photoshop of course, but this is looking tougher than I imagined.

If anyone has pulled it off on their own, I sure could use some pointers on simplifying/streamlining the process (I'm sure others here would benefit from the info as well).
For example, I was going to provide a choice between a Quicktime version and a Windows Media version of my demo reel, but after some study realized that just using Flash is the best way to go (98% saturation) and would cut out some of the hassle of providing both QT and WMV, not to mention less bandwidth usage.
If there's anyone here with some web skills willing to throw a brother a bone, I say "Thanks!"...to ya :D

BlueApple
04-30-2008, 12:37 AM
AbnRanger,

This is easily a D.I.Y. project assuming you want to do a little reading and have the necessary software. It sounds like you want to embed a movie, and perhaps some images. You can do one or two tutorials in Dreamweaver and get this accomplished pretty quick. If you are going down the Flash route, you can build an entire site in Flash using only a modest amount of code.

My site (http://www.blueapplestudio.com/) is built entirely in Flash, but I have done other sites using .html and .php.

If you have any more specific questions, just ask.

StereoMike
04-30-2008, 12:55 AM
Have a look here:
http://www.oswd.org/
These are templates that you can adapt to your liking. I'm no css or html guru either and managed to do my own site with one of the files (I really changes a lot, all images and css elements):
www siegfeld com
(insert points)
It's rather old stuff (newest from 2006) and only in german. should update it...

mike

AbnRanger
04-30-2008, 12:56 AM
Thanks...yeah, after a little more studying I realized that I can set up slices "using layers" in Photoshop (never had to deal with slices before), and send it over to Dreamweaver pretty much ready to go with HTML already written by Photoshop. I was stressing that I was going to have to save out every tiny element to a separate image file manually (lot of work that turns out to be unnecessary). That Lynda.com is a really good resource for times like this.
The only question I have left at the moment, that I haven't yet resolved is setting up a gallery page. If I set up placeholders in Dreamweaver, and link an image to it, does it automatically create a thumnail of the image in the browser, or do I need to create thumnails manually? Thanks. :thumbsup:

AbnRanger
04-30-2008, 01:06 AM
Have a look here:
http://www.oswd.org/
These are templates that you can adapt to your liking. I'm no css or html guru either and managed to do my own site with one of the files (I really changes a lot, all images and css elements):
www siegfeld com
(insert points)
It's rather old stuff (newest from 2006) and only in german. should update it...

mikeThanks Mike. I have already laid my own page out in Photoshop...was just trying to figure out the most streamlined way of getting it into Dreamweaver (to publish through a service like the one you provided) with minimal fuss. I'd hate to spend a 2 or 3 days trying to do what could be done in minutes or a few hours at most. I was going to use Networksolutions.com to host it, but in order to use anything other than their pre-made templates you have to prepare the pages yourself (in a web publishing program like Dreamweaver or Frontpage) and upload it to their server.

Ztreem
04-30-2008, 01:19 AM
Photoshop has a photogallery export that make thumbs and all. If you do the gallery your self you will have to do the thumbs as well. If you use a javascript/PHP gallery then some of them will generate thumbs for you.
I've just started to use Joomla for my sites that I'm building and it's really nice, makes it so easy to update and manage the site. I use a gallery for Joomla where I just put my images in a folder and the gallery fix the rest.

StereoMike
04-30-2008, 02:38 AM
errr...oswd.org isn't one of the website kits where you can choose from some given parts. No, gifted webdesigners upload full html-designs with css styles. You can't change them by enabling/disabling checkboxes. You have to actually code it in html/css to adapt it. So it won't be done in an hour, but when you finish it, you have the good feeling of having learned something (html and css)
(an example template: http://www.oswd.org/files/designs/3505/Tidy_Blog/ )

mike

starbase1
04-30-2008, 02:57 AM
NVu is a pretty handy free web page editor, though I know dreamweaver is pretty much the industry standard... I prefer it hugely to the clunky and overengineered Front Page, but I'm the kind of person who used to do my web pages in notepad!

I also find JAlbum VERY impressive, it's a superbly flexible free gallery generator, that can also handle video as well as images.

Nick

RollerJesus
04-30-2008, 05:39 AM
Joomla is awesome! Wordpress is great too, but requires a little pounding with the old virtual hammer to get functionality outside of a pure blog site, which it was designed for...

Steamthrower
04-30-2008, 06:54 AM
AbnRanger, is your hosting server MS or Apache? Depending on whether it supports MySQL or PHP, there are a lot of scripts available for really easy integration.

I use various galleries for sites; I've found that an easy pain-free way for a quick gallery is to build/use a Flash template that's linked dynamically via XML to an image folder. You can also find some Javascript galleries that do the same thing.

GATOR
04-30-2008, 07:03 AM
After years of making complex sites for my studio, which made updating the portfolio a pain, I tried something new this year.

I did the site in WordPress and used the Gallery2 plug-in for the portfolio.

It works great. Putting in a new piece takes less than a minute and it generates thumbnails automatically.

True, it's not a spicy site...but after 25 years in the biz and 12 years of running my own studio, I've found that prospective clients want 3 things.

1) An easy to navigate portfolio with lots of images

2) A solid client list

3) Means of communication, 90% of the time first contact is through e-mail, 10% of the time is by phone. So provide both.

Now when I want to change something on the site, it's brainless. I've had no fewer calls with my WordPress site than I did with my splashy, interactive one. And with WordPress, creating client-only areas is a snap, as well as a ton of other little things you can do.

Plus, WP, G2 and all the plug-ins are free.

I use siteground.com. 750gb of disk space for $5.95 a month. Loading huge animations for clients isn't a problem. Installation of all the above can be done with a few mouse clicks.

cresshead
04-30-2008, 07:04 AM
i design webpages in either coreldraw or photoshop, then slice and dice them in either fireworks for photopaint which in turn generate a html holding table/page from there i edit in nightmare weaver and set image cells to background where i need text overlaid etc.

when in photoshop i place the text where i need it and then import a text version and the text hidden version into fireworks and slice the page up with text visisble and the switch off that layer annd export sliced version with text hidden

note photoshop has been known to NOT be firefox friendly...some sites go 'out of whack' in sliced up with it.

also remember to upload ALL the images in your image folder!

this way you can design it how you like and 'nothing moves' generally when you finalise the page with links, flash bits and rollovers.

art
04-30-2008, 07:26 AM
... but I'm the kind of person who used to do my web pages in notepad!
Nick
So what do you use now? Nvu? Why did you give up notepad? I'm interested because I do not design that much, but when I do i usually stick to plain text editor. I attempted to try dreamweaver twice (including cs3 trial) but I became too frustrated and went back to the plain text stuff.

StereoMike, those are some nice, free templates. Thanks for posting.

jdomingo
04-30-2008, 07:32 AM
try webpage-maker.com. i am self learning it now for my up coming website. it's not expensive and so easy to learn.

CMT
04-30-2008, 07:57 AM
These days, a simple WYSIWYG web page can be created in MS Office apps. It's a slight pain to layout, but it's possible. Just need to know how to lay out your tables.

Just another option to consider for your gallery section.... What I use for my site gallery section is Coppermine Photo Gallery. It's a simple free database software you can download which allows you from any computer to upload images to your gallery with descriptions. It manages image albums and categories with descriptions. It's easy to maintain and edit as the whole app is web based.

cresshead
04-30-2008, 08:16 AM
also if your on a mac you can use iweb...

at work i slice n dice pages for customer templates here's the latest just uploaded for a test on my test area>
http://www.greencustard.com/template_24/24.htm

starbase1
04-30-2008, 09:02 AM
This thread needs people linking to the sites they made, so we can judge for ourselves how well it works!

Tom Wood
04-30-2008, 09:10 AM
I am not a website designer by any means, but I too am a DIY guy. I recently built two sites in Dreamweaver that are pretty simple.

This one: www.moonbatwingnut.com (http://www.moonbatwingnut.com) is a Wordpress site that uses Brightcove to store and serve the videos. I decided I really wasn't cut out to do political blogging, so that lead to:

www.minigiggles.com (http://www.minigiggles.com)which uses a multi-channel Flash player I bought from Earth Science Agency: http://www.earthscienceagency.com/

At present, the player only shows one channel button, but I'm about to add back another channel button as I go into May.

Unfortunately, I think you'll have to spend that two or three days to do what will end up being a two hour job. That's just the way these things work. :D

Tom Wood
04-30-2008, 09:17 AM
Friggin' time limit...

The minigiggles site is built using a layout from http://www.yaml.de/ which is set up to do columnar type websites.

Steamthrower
04-30-2008, 09:41 AM
Hand-coded in Dreamweaver: www.cleantechnano.com
Using CMSimple CMS system: www.steamthrower.com
Built visually in Dreamweaver: www.klardesign.com
Hand-coded in Dreamweaver: www.klarfx.com

COBRASoft
04-30-2008, 10:07 AM
Well, let's use something completely different once. Use Microsoft Expression Web or or so and make your page in SilverLight. It'll beat Flash in many aspects and is much easier to use AND develop :)

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 10:28 AM
Built my own site in Flash.

Can't stand html :)

tyrot
04-30-2008, 10:54 AM
dear abn

actually why just HTML or just FLASH why not full CMS with lots of free plugins, lots of cool templates amazing community..full dynamic web page.

go to JOOMLA

www.joomla.org

BEST

cresshead
04-30-2008, 11:37 AM
This thread needs people linking to the sites they made, so we can judge for ourselves how well it works!

recent ish> [2007]
http://www.catslikefelix.co.uk/ made with flash and lightwave+3dsmax

http://www.greencustard.com/template26/template26.htm
made in photoshop>fireworks>nightmare weaver:D

http://www.greencustard.com/template_24/24.htm
made in photoshop>fireworks>nightmare weaver:D

holding pages for new sites/domains
http://www.greencustard.com/hpc/775/7_775/sample7_775_dw.htm

http://www.greencustard.com/hpc/775/6_775/sample6_775_dw.htm

http://www.greencustard.com/hpc/775/5_775/sample5_775_dw.htm

http://www.greencustard.com/hpc/775/4_775/sample4_775_dw.htm

http://www.greencustard.com/hpc/775/3_775/sample3_775_dw.htm

http://www.greencustard.com/hpc/775/2_775/sample2_775_dw.htm

http://www.greencustard.com/hpc/775/1_775/sample1_775_dw.htm

:D>photshop>fireworks>nightmare weaver again!

http://www.cresshead.com/
made in photoshop/fireworks/flashmx and nightmare weaverMX [oldish>2006

]

RollerJesus
04-30-2008, 12:16 PM
I have some wordpress examples for ya:

http://www.tampabride.com/ (modified template graphics and code)
http://www.summerfun2008.com/ (modified template graphics and code)
http://www.bedpanmedia.com/wordpress (template)
http://www.bedpanmedia.com/HotRodChairs (modified template - no code)

Paul_Boland
04-30-2008, 12:34 PM
Here's my website hub:
http://www.iol.ie/~pkb

KnightTrek Productions is my main website and has free and commercial games and appliations. You'll also find my 3D artwork there.

AstroBots is a movie project I'm working on but the site hasn't been updated for a while due to the problems at Caligari. I've since moved my work from TrueSpace to Lightwave and am hoping to post a update soon.

These sites are programmed purely in Notepad using HTML coding. I find using web creation software packs the page coding with a load of bloat. By typing up my pages from scratch, my HTML programming is simple and clean and the file sizes are kept as small as possible.

Sekhar
04-30-2008, 12:50 PM
recent ish> [2007]
http://www.catslikefelix.co.uk/ made with flash and lightwave+3dsmax
Very nice! It's not everyday you see a site so full of life. Terrific job with the cat too. Adorable, the whole thing.

Only problem is it took a while to load (I'm in US - the center was just white for a while) and it seems very demanding on the CPU, making my laptop fans go crazy (~40% CPU).

archijam
04-30-2008, 12:51 PM
These sites are programmed purely in Notepad using HTML coding. I find using web creation software packs the page coding with a load of bloat. By typing up my pages from scratch, my HTML programming is simple and clean and the file sizes are kept as small as possible.

Dude you are ooooold school. In more ways than one :thumbsup:

Brings back memories of a younger internet ...

Jim_C
04-30-2008, 01:16 PM
I paid $75 bucks for a full site (home page and 5 other basic pages) pre made template from an online company and am teaching myself how to change it to fit my needs by a little reverse engineering.

Steamthrower
04-30-2008, 01:29 PM
I paid $75 bucks for a full site (home page and 5 other basic pages) pre made template from an online company and am teaching myself how to change it to fit my needs by a little reverse engineering.

That's the way to do it! I was in web design for a little over a year, and believe me, the designers make a profit. I know we did some sites for over $2500 that could have been done by the IT guy with a $50 web template if they'd been so inclined to do so.

That's business though.

art
04-30-2008, 02:12 PM
Built my own site in Flash.
Can't stand html :)

Man, that is some flash trickery, it's like black magic to me. I could never do that (or anything close) in flash.

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 02:20 PM
Hopefully that's meant in a good way. :) I'm always afraid my flash stuff is well, a little too flashy.

Kuzey
04-30-2008, 02:20 PM
Here's my current one in the works...I hope to get it done by the end of May.

The two level css only horizontal menu is based it on this one:
http://www.tjkdesign.com/articles/new_drop_down/default.asp

And my gallery section is based on this but with smaller thumbnails etc...heck it looks totally different:
http://joshuaink2006.johnoxton.co.uk/templates/gallery/

:hey:

Kuzey

Paul_Boland
04-30-2008, 02:21 PM
Dude you are ooooold school. In more ways than one :thumbsup:

Brings back memories of a younger internet ...

Hehe... Thanks, I think :bowdown:.

Verlon
04-30-2008, 02:25 PM
Well I use coffecup for the creation of my webpage (about as painful as powerpoint).

For the photo gallery, I use jalbum. I am recently converted to this free software, but it has a couple of really cool features. First you can set up direct links to shutterfly (for your family who wants prints) or paypal (for images you want to sell). It will do movies, but I haven't gotten to that yet. And it can display the data from the digital camera (EXIF data or others). Some of this is only available with the chameleon skin.

AbnRanger
04-30-2008, 03:11 PM
Man, I had no idea there were so many web-savvy folks here! You guys wear so many hats, it's too bad you have just one head to wear them on! :D
Hey Cress, I really like that Felix/Purina project material...good stuff. By the way, why did you need to go from Photoshop/ImageReady to Fireworks before sending it all over to Dreamweaver? If your slices are set up in PS and it already writes your HTML for you (when saving for web), what other steps do you need to do in Fireworks. Just curious...
There are so many options here, I feel like I'm standing in line at a Chinese Buffet :)
Joomla seems worth investigating...kind of like Blender for Web publishing. Got to check out JAlbum too.
Thanks for all the suggestions, gentlemen. Very helpful indeed.

sadkkf
04-30-2008, 03:20 PM
These days, a simple WYSIWYG web page can be created in MS Office apps. It's a slight pain to layout, but it's possible. Just need to know how to lay out your tables.


That's an absolutely terrifying thought. MS is widely known to create some of the absolute worst code. Worse, it generally only (barely) works in IE.

Being a professional web designer and developer, I can't stress enough how horrible this would be. You're way better off using anything else. There are lots of great free tools.

Steamthrower
04-30-2008, 03:21 PM
Hopefully that's meant in a good way. :) I'm always afraid my flash stuff is well, a little too flashy.

'Fess up, Andy. You didn't write all that fancy-schmancy 3D image pan ActionScript, did you? Come on, bro, we won't kill you.

Definitely nicely implemented, though. I showed a co-worker your B-Wing model the other day and we sat looking at each other silently wondering why we do arch viz.

sadkkf
04-30-2008, 03:23 PM
That is a nice site, andyjaggy. Looks good, but I find it distracting to have the buttons moving. I like the navigation to remain static. :)

Andyjaggy
04-30-2008, 03:47 PM
'Fess up, Andy. You didn't write all that fancy-schmancy 3D image pan ActionScript, did you? Come on, bro, we won't kill you.

Definitely nicely implemented, though. I showed a co-worker your B-Wing model the other day and we sat looking at each other silently wondering why we do arch viz.

Okay fine I'll confess. The 3D navigation was done with a plugin. There happy. :)

The B-Wing model. Ah yes there was a time I was happy with that model, I am now going to redo it and spruss it up for my demo reel. Coming soon sometime in the next 5 years.

art
04-30-2008, 04:15 PM
Hopefully that's meant in a good way. :) I'm always afraid my flash stuff is well, a little too flashy.

yes, definetely in a good way :)

art
04-30-2008, 04:22 PM
So, is everyone using web authoring tools these days (dreamweaver, etc) and I am slowly becoming extinct species using a plain text editor? I admit, creating anything more complex than a simple page definetely takes time and patience doing it this way.

AbnRanger
04-30-2008, 05:17 PM
So, is everyone using web authoring tools these days (dreamweaver, etc) and I am slowly becoming extinct species using a plain text editor? I admit, creating anything more complex than a simple page definetely takes time and patience doing it this way.Yeah...you're pretty much a Dinosaur of sorts :D
Only jesting...but definitely old school

Silkrooster
04-30-2008, 05:58 PM
So, is everyone using web authoring tools these days (dreamweaver, etc) and I am slowly becoming extinct species using a plain text editor? I admit, creating anything more complex than a simple page definetely takes time and patience doing it this way.

The biggest advantage I find with Dreamweaver, is the css panel. Using checkboxes and sliders, etc. and seeing how it will look before being uploaded.
The disadvantage is with server side scripting, it will not display the pages correctly unless you are running a server on your system.

For me, I started with frontpage, but when I started learning php and css, I drop it and went to notepad. The main reason I think I use dreamweaver now, is for the visual text editing. Its nice being able to copy say a news item and just paste it with out worrying about the paragraph tags, etc.
There are times I still go back to using notepad such as a simple typo.
Silk

Hopper
04-30-2008, 06:44 PM
Ok .. I read all the posts and didn't see anything mentioned, so I'll do it here. Most people know this, but there's always someone that's never done it. I'll keep it short - as you can write a million pages on this stuff.

You can use whatever you feel comfortable with to create your site, but the following applies to the finished product no matter what you use.

For regular non-flash, Gwt, Ext, etc.. sites (ie. standard HTML output for render)...

For your vistors sake PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make sure you create your images in the proper formats and OPTIMIZED. Nothing I hate worse than to see a well constructed page and 400K worth of images that could have been 10k.

1. All graphics that are part of your layout and are "cartoon like" as in line art, spacers, menu icons, etc.. use the GIF format and optimize to use a pallette that contains ONLY the colors that are in your image. (And for you noobs, it's pronounced "JIF" like the peanut butter, not "GIF" like something you get for your birthday - that drives me nuts).

2. For other images that are lossy type like photgraphs, high band gradients, render samples, etc... use JPEG of course, but only use the minimum "quality" setting that still looks like the original image. A 400k jpeg can look identical to a 8k jpeg if you do it right.

3. Size your images to the exact dimensions when you create them. When your browser has to resize images it will turn your presentation into a spastic shift fest of crap at render time. This also slows down the page display at the client (browser). Specify the width and hight in your HTML. This keeps the browser from having to figure it out.

4. When creating images from scratch, try to use the "web pallette" when possible. PS, Corel, etc.. has this covered. I don't think there are many good apps that DON'T have this option. If you don't your images may render in different shades and not blend correctly when "splicing" them together on the page.

5. Save yourself some time if you do your site by hand. Use style sheets. I used to hate them, but they really do let you write your pages instead of spending 80% of your time formatting them for every element.

6. Try to optiize the flow of your tables and images. If you chop up a page too much, you may wind up with many "image-bits" to create the look you want. Just keep in mind that for every image on your page, the client browser opens a discrete connection to your system for each one. If you use cookies, this means you will pass the entire cookie to the browser for every image you send. This can make your site slower.

7. Watch your page size. Go to your file system, go get the sizes of every file that makes up your page and total the size. If the total is over 100k, you have work to do. This is assuming of course, simple HTML pages, not movie files, high resolution images, etc... Bandwidth these days is cheap and plentiful, but it's no excuse to write a sloppy over-bloated page.

8. The more time you spend learning how HTML works, construction, JavaScript, etc, the more you can optimize your site. Create a site in DreamWiener and create the same final product by hand and look at the size difference. It's pretty shocking.

That's about it. Take this with a grain of salt. Nothing is absolute and these are simple guildines that can help. If your target audience is high-end commercial users that are all sitting on OC-12 pipes, then you can splurge a little on the performance stuff.

Use what you like best, try a bunch of apps out first if you plan on maintaining the site and adding content yourself. Plan on several versions and get people's opinions - you may not like them, but there's a lot to gain from them.

I hope you get at least something out of that you can use.

-Hopper

Web page credits and qualification:

Working for Vignette, Inc. - technical architect for

travelocity.com
amazon.com
iWon.com

(there's some really crappy sites too, but we'll just leave those out. *cough cough, IRS, cough*) :D

Steamthrower
04-30-2008, 07:25 PM
Hear hear! Hopper has some excellent points.

I was originally all gung-ho and was ready to write up a list of web design tips, but I realised that I'd been interviewed last year and had spent a lot more time on the interview than I'd spend on a forum post.

Here it is if anyone finds it helpful: http://www.designinterviews.com/?p=7

cresshead
05-01-2008, 02:38 AM
Man, I had no idea there were so many web-savvy folks here! You guys wear so many hats, it's too bad you have just one head to wear them on! :D
Hey Cress, I really like that Felix/Purina project material...good stuff. By the way, why did you need to go from Photoshop/ImageReady to Fireworks before sending it all over to Dreamweaver? If your slices are set up in PS and it already writes your HTML for you (when saving for web), what other steps do you need to do in Fireworks. Just curious...
There are so many options here, I feel like I'm standing in line at a Chinese Buffet :)
Joomla seems worth investigating...kind of like Blender for Web publishing. Got to check out JAlbum too.
Thanks for all the suggestions, gentlemen. Very helpful indeed.

i don't use photoshop to slice up as it can scewup the page it creates...
photoshop>image placement only
fireworks>slice and dice
nightmare weaver> add rollovers and live text

Kuzey
05-01-2008, 04:29 AM
i don't use photoshop to slice up as it can scewup the page it creates...
photoshop>image placement only
fireworks>slice and dice
nightmare weaver> add rollovers and live text

I would do all the slicing in ImageReady, Photoshop's little sister as that's it main purpose along with exporting and such :D

Ps I have PS 7 and the resulting html pages contain tables (oh the horror), I presume the current Photoshop/ImageReady uses css instead ?

Kuzey

Matt
05-01-2008, 06:25 AM
Some more templates:

http://www.freecsstemplates.org/

sadkkf
05-01-2008, 08:31 AM
Great tips, Hopper. Glad to hear there are other sensible developers out there.

I can't stand looking at the work of other "professionals" and seeing how un-optimized their images are. Worse, when looking at their backends (read that carefully), seeing how little time they spent normalizing data and how little effort they put into making the code work for them instead of requiring regular maintenance. Frightening.

I do love Dreamweaver, however. Mostly, I love it for the live preview and basic usability. I have all kinds of shortcuts made to speed up my workflow. To each his own, though.

Paul_Boland
05-01-2008, 01:01 PM
So, is everyone using web authoring tools these days (dreamweaver, etc) and I am slowly becoming extinct species using a plain text editor? I admit, creating anything more complex than a simple page definetely takes time and patience doing it this way.

Your not alone. I'm a Notepad HTML programmer myself ;).

Steamthrower
05-01-2008, 01:17 PM
Your not alone. I'm a Notepad HTML programmer myself ;).

In all honesty, I could probably go just as fast, if not faster, using Notepad or TextEdit. I normally just use Dreamweaver for managing large sites (actually, anything over 15-20 pages becomes unmanageable without it). I also like to use it to see CSS changes in realtime, vs. keeping your browser open refreshing and refreshing incessantly.

There's nothing that brings satisfaction like some clean code. Dreamweaver's generated code (like ANY generated code) requires a lot of gutting to get a nice clean page. I know that if I sat down and drew out a page in any WYSIWYG editor, I'd spend the same amount of time reducing the lines of code to half the original amount.

BigHache
05-01-2008, 02:17 PM
I've been a graphic designer for 13 years and I've gotten to run a gamut of programs and techniques for Web sites.

I also used to hand-code all my sites as well, now I use a combination of a Web layout program with editing code as needed. I design most of my sites in Illustrator, when I then cut into slices with ImageReady. I export images only though, as ImageReady does not generate CSS pages for you. Laying out HTML pages with Tables is now passť, simply because CSS offers so much flexibility. You can still use tables, but you lose that flexibility, and you'll be shunned by your peers. :)

If you wanted a site up fairly quickly, I don't know if I would just jump right into CSS and such. WordPress is a good place to go, TypePad is another blog-based Web site. Drupal is another decent place, with minimal learning curve, but you do have to install it on your server.

Kuzey
05-01-2008, 02:54 PM
when I then cut into slices with ImageReady. I export images only though, as ImageReady does not generate CSS pages for you.

I would have thought they would have made that change to css by now..bummer.

Also, when creating menu buttons with hover states etc. in photoshop don't build the text into the button graphic, add that through html & css otherwise you'll end up with more images to download than you need to :hey:

Here's an example that uses one image for both states:

http://www.exploding-boy.com/2005/12/29/14-free-vertical-css-menus/

Kuzey

Kuzey
05-01-2008, 03:08 PM
Oh I forgot....another cool menu:

http://meyerweb.com/eric/css/edge/popups/demo2.html

Kuzey

sadkkf
05-01-2008, 03:13 PM
In all honesty, I could probably go just as fast, if not faster, using Notepad or TextEdit. I normally just use Dreamweaver for managing large sites (actually, anything over 15-20 pages becomes unmanageable without it). I also like to use it to see CSS changes in realtime, vs. keeping your browser open refreshing and refreshing incessantly.

There's nothing that brings satisfaction like some clean code. Dreamweaver's generated code (like ANY generated code) requires a lot of gutting to get a nice clean page. I know that if I sat down and drew out a page in any WYSIWYG editor, I'd spend the same amount of time reducing the lines of code to half the original amount.

I agree. Nothing beats hand coding, but DW's code is cleaner than almost any GUI editor. I love it's speed and instant feedback. It even works locally with server-side includes.

Tom Wood
05-01-2008, 04:45 PM
If you wanted a site up fairly quickly, I don't know if I would just jump right into CSS and such. WordPress is a good place to go, TypePad is another blog-based Web site. Drupal is another decent place, with minimal learning curve, but you do have to install it on your server.

I'm going to use this as an opportunity to do a tiny rant and ask a question. :D

Using Wordpress for a CMS (Content Management System) became more of a chore than it seemed worth. Primarily because it depends so much on third party plugins. It even required a plugin to run the Brightcove video player. Which is updated by someone who isn't that interested in maintaining it. So I became very concerned that my Wordpress/Brightcove site would eventually crash when one of the programs became incompatible with the other.

Is it really "normal" to depend on third party plugins to that extent? Seems very risky when the plugin is usually a labor of love by an individual who could vanish at any moment.

Steamthrower
05-01-2008, 06:23 PM
Is it really "normal" to depend on third party plugins to that extent? Seems very risky when the plugin is usually a labor of love by an individual who could vanish at any moment.

Well; I'll refer to something in the Lightwave realm. Consider Dynamite, who's developer disappeared from the face of the earth for months and months...and now, it seems to me like no new customers really feel like buying his software. This has happened to several third-party plugins for Lightwave...and it happens all the time, no matter which software you're talking about.

BigHache
05-01-2008, 10:32 PM
Is it really "normal" to depend on third party plugins to that extent? Seems very risky when the plugin is usually a labor of love by an individual who could vanish at any moment.

For Internet applications, I would say, "Yes." Is that helpful to you and I? No.

noiseboy
05-02-2008, 12:51 AM
Here's a few apps on the mac side of things (apart from iWeb) which I use for web stuff.

Rapidweaver http://realmacsoftware.com/rapidweaver/

Coda http://www.panic.com/coda/

CssEdit http://macrabbit.com/cssedit/

Colin

art
05-02-2008, 10:08 AM
Guess what, I just learned today that our main marketing director-manager-guy-person INSISTS that I use dreamveaver. Apparently my hand coded (what? haha, get some tools boy) version does not look EXACTLY like the fancy brochure-looking web page they created in illustrator. Even something simple like the font and spacing does not look the same. Imagine that? The industry standard tool wil certainly fix it with a few clicks of the mouse. And I wasted so much time on this.
Grrr...
ps. no offense to dreamweaver and its users, I'm just a bit angry.

Steamthrower
05-02-2008, 10:40 AM
Well, you're not able to hand-code anti-aliased text. Dreamweaver can do that. :hey:

art
05-02-2008, 11:13 AM
are you serious or just pulling my leg?

Steamthrower
05-02-2008, 11:20 AM
Pullin' your leg, dude. I've had people ask me why I can't make the website font show up anti-aliased in their browser like their Photoshop mockup. I know your pain. :D

art
05-02-2008, 11:30 AM
alright, alright :), but I admit, you made me search :o google for dreamweaver and antialiased text although I knew that in the end it would have to produce some code somehow.

BigHache
05-02-2008, 04:45 PM
Apparently my hand coded (what? haha, get some tools boy) version does not look EXACTLY like the fancy brochure-looking web page they created in illustrator.

Whaaaat?!? You mean a Web browser where users can interactively change the size of text, looks different than a static Illustrator layout?

I just hope this doesn't turn into a 'now you have the tools but apparently don't know how to use them' conversation for you. Make a JPG outta that AI file and call it a day then. Sheesh.

Hopper
05-02-2008, 04:48 PM
LOL .. I have to admit. I had to say "huh?" when I read that. I've been out of that realm for a while now, so I honestly figured it was converting text to GIF equivelents or something.

If I hadn't read further, I would have just had to look that up too. :)

Tom Wood
05-02-2008, 04:59 PM
Make a JPG outta that AI file and call it a day then. Sheesh.

Heh, but then they'd complain that he didn't optimize the site properly. Get the IT folks to go into the guys office and cache the site, then it will appear to load right away. :D

Verlon
05-02-2008, 05:16 PM
Pfft... Ok admittedly, I am not on that end of the HTML power user spectrum, but it sure sounds to me like an idiot who heard a buzzword in a meeting and is trying to make himself look better by tearing into someone else's work.

And if he knew ANYTHING about the web, he'd know that nothing ever looks like you intended all the time. How can they when you've got everything from cell phones to multi moniter widescreens displaying your product (not to mention windowed versions). And then SOME users have every single one of those toolbars installed at the top of their browswer, too (while running in 640*480 even ---ARRRGHHH! I have seriously considered locking my sister out of her own computer).

cresshead
05-02-2008, 05:17 PM
you'll NEVER get it to look 100% same as your illustrator/coreldraw/freehand /phtotshop file if you have live text...well>>>not in ALL browsers....ie, firefox and safari all render text differently...different thickness, gaps, fonts...underline styles...it'll move a bit..in all.

we ususally go for ie and firefox...ie first [largest userbase] then make sure firefox and safari aren't being broken to the extent that it kills the look.

if you want it 100% same in all browsers....flash is your answer...!

Steamthrower
05-02-2008, 05:31 PM
we ususally go for ie and firefox...ie first [largest userbase] then make sure firefox and safari aren't being broken to the extent that it kills the look.

Funny thing is, different sites that I develop/maintain have VASTLY different browser statistics. For a general contractor, we get about 75% IE hits vs. 20% Firefox. Therefore I have to make sure IE is perfect before anything else. But for some multimedia sites: it's the exact opposite! Perhaps since it's geared towards technically ept people, I'm not sure, but on my personal site I have something like a 72% Firefox rate, with IE and Safari filling in the rest.

Hopper
05-02-2008, 05:45 PM
Pfft... Ok admittedly, I am not on that end of the HTML power user spectrum, but it sure sounds to me like an idiot who heard a buzzword in a meeting and is trying to make himself look better by tearing into someone else's work.
Bingo. Suddenly they are the expert trying to tell you how to do your job. I usually fire back a "Hmmm so how do think is the best way to go about that then?" Then watch as they stare back blankly "<*blink .... blink*> Uh......"
Yeah, I thought so.



if you want it 100% same in all browsers....flash is your answer...!
Yup. Pretty much. Those are looking better every day - even for internal corporate stuff.

I'm a big fan of the Hello World website template ... it's pretty simple and looks the same in all browsers.. <programmer humor - not for everyone>

sadkkf
05-05-2008, 07:23 AM
you'll NEVER get it to look 100% same as your illustrator/coreldraw/freehand /phtotshop file if you have live text...well>>>not in ALL browsers....ie, firefox and safari all render text differently...different thickness, gaps, fonts...underline styles...it'll move a bit..in all.

we ususally go for ie and firefox...ie first [largest userbase] then make sure firefox and safari aren't being broken to the extent that it kills the look.

if you want it 100% same in all browsers....flash is your answer...!


I can't tell you how many customers of mine are amazed by this. One company I work with has a professional designer work with them on all of their print material. When she was asked to design a website, it was quite possibly the worst I've ever seen. So many problems, including navigation at the bottom.

Even after I explained how people don't want to and shouldn't have to scroll to the bottom to change pages, it wasn't changed until after I coded it and put it online.

After the owner saw it, he changed it and asked about making all the navigation (including dynamically generated buttons) in a specific font. Once I explained that would only be possible with graphics (not one, but TWO for each button), he backed down.

This is the problem with non-designers trying to design. It's also the problem with companies like MS bundling FrontPage (or whatever it's called now) with suites so people think they now have the ability to create a website.

art
05-05-2008, 07:43 AM
See, that's the problem here. They asked the person who's been designing our brochures and other print marketing materials to design the website.
I'm only a so-so designer and I took no offense that they asked someone else, but the design they ask for is not only tricky (lots of transparencies and drop shadows [ie6 is fun], round-corner boxes and things floating here and there), but they want the EXACT look. It might be easy on paper, but not so much when converted into a working html with live text. I won't even mention that the design looks like a brochure and not a website.

Steamthrower
05-05-2008, 07:46 AM
See, that's the problem here. They asked the person who's been designing our brochures and other print marketing materials to design the website.
I'm only a so-so designer and I took no offense that they asked someone else, but the design they ask for is not only tricky (lots of transparencies and drop shadows [ie6 is fun], round-corner boxes and things floating here and there), but they want the EXACT look. It might be easy on paper, but not so much when converted into a working html with live text. I won't even mention that the design looks like a brochure and not a website.

Are you able to show us the design? I'd be interested to see just how far-out it was. Round corners are the pit of hell, getting them done in CSS.

art
05-05-2008, 08:31 AM
It's not all that far out once you get to it, analyze it, and lay it out properly, but some parts took me more time than expected. I tried to avoid tables and used divs which did not make thing exactly easier. Particularly, making this whole thing fluid with live text was the trickiest part for me. And they are still not happy because the text looks different and I did not use dreamweaver.

This design will most likely become public but for the time being I blurred out parts of the design containing specific product names, logos, etc. to stay out of trouble. I left pieces of text so you can get the feeling of how it looked. P.S. This is not the screenshot of the html, but the original bitmap that was given to me.

art
05-05-2008, 08:35 AM
And the image...

Steamthrower
05-05-2008, 08:58 AM
Whole thing fluid with live text? Ouch, that hurts. Looks like the initial designer didn't really think about what would happen if the viewer had a smaller screen...or a larger screen...or dual screens...that design would easily become distended.

I love those large gel buttons. Makes me want to click them all. And that skewed little page image...totally cool and totally hard to float properly.

At least the three guys are smiling at me. He's using an ancient grey laptop, though, and he's surely not smiling about that. The girl with the headset does instill confidence, though, knowing that when I call I will be getting someone who speaks English.

art
05-05-2008, 09:28 AM
I think I used wrong word, it is not fluid but rather it expands/contracts vertically as the text changes. Its not tough, i know, but not trivial either if you take all the columns and boxes into account. But then, I am not an expert yet and this is my only second or third design without tables. Their initial design did not consider what would happen if the text changes and I guess they epcected me to simply slice each page individually. Not me.

I personally do not like those big buttons on this page and the navigation is limited. In general, I have nothing against them, but I do not think they fit the profile of the [software company] that we are.

Call us, customer support speaks english, but with certain accent :).
I can't complain though, because I have an accent myself, but a different one :)

sadkkf
05-05-2008, 09:36 AM
Honestly, I don't think this is too bad. Bad enough, but doable.

It's certainly a graphic-heavy site and I agree, the buttons are ugly. Can we say retro when it was only a few years ago? :)

Anyway, coding it shouldn't be too bad. I see a need for a few extra and unnecessary tags, but overall it could work.

First thing I would talk them out of are the background shapes. Too distracting. It certainly does look like a site designed by a non-web designer.

COBRASoft
05-05-2008, 09:48 AM
I think you all should really wake up and check http://www.microsoft.com/express/. DreamWeaver has always and will always be bad and slow with a lot of HTML-code that's only filling the internet. It's a HTML-spam generator :)

Adobe has a big rival now with SilverLight coming up (MoonLight on Linux, developed by Novel and Nokia is working on the mobile version). So Flash sites... In the future Flash will be where FireFox is, somewhere in the corner. Don't believe me? Who thought that IE would ever become the biggest browser? Is IE better than FireFox? No idea, I'm using IE 8 beta 1 for the moment and it is very buggy, but damn fast. The real reason is... MicroSoft is behind it and they are spending a lot of money to get their baby into the big world.

Be sure to try the free Studio Web Express, you can find more info on http://www.microsoft.com/express/vwd/.

art
05-05-2008, 09:56 AM
It is doable because i did it :).
Graphics must stay, retro stays, and one or two of the subpages contain not one but TWO! background images layered on top of each other. I am not in a position to convince them to change the design. Our marketing director does not like design either but she was unable to convince the guy above her to change it. Maybe once it is put it to use they'll change their minds. Honestly, I do not care.

At first I did the boxes with bg images but they did not print by default and they cried. I redid them with images on layers and they somewhat print but all messed up. Both versions look fine on screen. What's the recommended way of doing boxes like that so that they remain printable? I adjust the height of the left column with javascript because it has to stay at 100% all the time. Any better way of doing that?

GandB
05-05-2008, 10:27 AM
try webpage-maker.com. i am self learning it now for my up coming website. it's not expensive and so easy to learn.
That's what I made my latest site in:

http://www.blackdracogames.com

It isn't very well optimized (graphically), and I have some tweaking left to do; but it's going to have to do for awhile, till I can take the time out to learn how to create an optimized web presence.:D

@ Paul Boland: Good to see you here; do you still frequent the Caligari forums, or are you all the way Lightwave now?:thumbsup:

-Keith

Sekhar
05-05-2008, 10:56 AM
Whether or not you agree Dreamweaver improves productivity vs. hand-coding (I think it does, in a big way), it certainly helps in error checking, standards compliance, and browser compatibility - especially when there's a lot of HTML. And a DW site is easier to maintain for the client than a hand-coded one.

Flash is the way to go, IMO. You can build your prototype in Illustrator, iterate with the client to get layout approval, export elements to Flash (Illustrator CS3 to Flash CS3 integration is phenomenal) for virtually identical look/feel, and the site behaves the same in all browsers. And you can put a ton of logic in the visual elements through coding. Flash is much harder to build than HTML however.

As an example of what I'm talking about, check out a site I built recently: http://ohiogi.com. It's 100% Flash and builds ALL its content from XML files on the fly and resizes vertically.

Steamthrower
05-05-2008, 11:02 AM
Do you guys not have any SEO problems with Flash sites?

Ztreem
05-05-2008, 11:03 AM
As an example of what I'm talking about, check out a site I built recently: http://ohiogi.com. It's 100% Flash and builds ALL its content from XML files on the fly and resizes vertically.

That's a really nice flash example, not even a loading bar at the start. Feels and behaves almost like a html site, nice done. :thumbsup:
I really don't like flash sites as they always loads slow and have loading bar showing before anything comes up, in general I just skip sites like that if they take to long to load. I love simple and fast loading sites.

GandB
05-05-2008, 11:15 AM
That site does look nice. I need to learn how to have the web site resize according to a user's resolution. I've always wondered if I should shoot for a Flash site, or a combo of Flash and HTML. Right now I use Paint Shop Pro to build the actual site's graphics, and Web Page Maker to put it all together and publish it.

-Keith

COBRASoft
05-05-2008, 11:23 AM
Very nice flash-website indeed.

About the 'tight integration' of CS3... Have you checked the integration of Expression Blend and Visual Studio for webdesign and animation stuff? How about database integration, data-binding, ...

sadkkf
05-05-2008, 11:37 AM
DreamWeaver has always and will always be bad and slow with a lot of HTML-code that's only filling the internet. It's a HTML-spam generator


I've created pages with hundreds and hundreds of lines of code (not by choice) and it's been fine. What do you mean by "HTML-spam generator?"

sadkkf
05-05-2008, 11:47 AM
It is doable because i did it :).
Graphics must stay, retro stays, and one or two of the subpages contain not one but TWO! background images layered on top of each other. I am not in a position to convince them to change the design. Our marketing director does not like design either but she was unable to convince the guy above her to change it. Maybe once it is put it to use they'll change their minds. Honestly, I do not care.

At first I did the boxes with bg images but they did not print by default and they cried. I redid them with images on layers and they somewhat print but all messed up. Both versions look fine on screen. What's the recommended way of doing boxes like that so that they remain printable? I adjust the height of the left column with javascript because it has to stay at 100% all the time. Any better way of doing that?

Cool! :thumbsup:

Generally, printing from a browser is dicey at best. I once worked on a government site designed by them, but didn't fit on paper when printed. What a mess.

I've heard of using the list-style attribute in your CSS to make this work:


display: list-item;
list-style-image: url(image.jpg);
list-style-position: inside;

This doesn't work for repeating images, though. Will this help?

COBRASoft
05-05-2008, 11:51 AM
If you would create the same webpage, but you write the needed html code by hand in notepad it will be a lot smaller in size than the 'generated' html code of DreamWeaver (and most other webdesign programs).

Why? Well, because those programs are made for ease of use and not targetted to smallest size. They would put e.g. <p>&nbsp;</p> instead of <br />. This is really a simplistic example. The best example would probably be MS Word. Make a nice letter in it and save it as an HTML-page. Then open that html-page in Notepad and look at all the rubbish between the real HTML.

As many people probably don't know, you can use Visual Studio Express as a free HTML-editor, just like you would use Notepad, but you have the coloring and intellisence. So, you're not forced to use the 'design' capabilities. If I remember well, this is also possible with DreamWeaver and other packages.

art
05-05-2008, 12:01 PM
This doesn't work for repeating images, though. Will this help?
I'll give it a try and see what happens. Right now I am not using any repeating images for backgrounds.

CMT
05-05-2008, 12:20 PM
Why? Well, because those programs are made for ease of use and not targetted to smallest size. They would put e.g. <p>&nbsp;</p> instead of <br />. This is really a simplistic example. The best example would probably be MS Word. Make a nice letter in it and save it as an HTML-page. Then open that html-page in Notepad and look at all the rubbish between the real HTML.

For those who browse on dialup, that can definitely make a difference. But for those with cable connection it makes very little difference in the end. If a page ends up being 300K larger than what it could have been if coded perfectly, then it would only take at most another 2 seconds on average to load over a cable connection. Dialup could take another at least 30+ seconds (I'm guessing cuz I'm basing that on when I had dialup 7 years ago.)

Sekhar
05-05-2008, 12:25 PM
Do you guys not have any SEO problems with Flash sites?

Yes, that is an issue. What you can do is add corresponding text within the same page so only search engines see it (under noscript section). If you're using XML to build the Flash content, you can do this automatically using a server side script (this is what I did for ohiogi.com). This extra text is only for search engines, it won't appear for regular users.

Ztreem, GandB, COBRAsoft: glad you guys like the site. If you have any additional comments, please PM me - I'd appreciate that! And no, I have no idea about Expression Blend and Visual Studio.

Steamthrower
05-05-2008, 12:41 PM
For those who browse on dialup, that can definitely make a difference. But for those with cable connection it makes very little difference in the end. If a page ends up being 300K larger than what it could have been if coded perfectly, then it would only take at most another 2 seconds on average to load over a cable connection. Dialup could take another at least 30+ seconds (I'm guessing cuz I'm basing that on when I had dialup 7 years ago.)

Cutting out the crappy code isn't so much "speeding up the page for download" as making it nicely maintainable, and something that you can pass on to another designer down the road. I've inherited some sites that are simply horrendous to modify because they're coded so sloppily. Besides, the less code you have to use to get the job done, the more compatible it will be with a slew of various browsers.


Yes, that is an issue. What you can do is add corresponding text within the same page so only search engines see it (under noscript section). If you're using XML to build the Flash content, you can do this automatically using a server side script (this is what I did for ohiogi.com). This extra text is only for search engines, it won't appear for regular users.

I've built some Flash sites for customers, but I tend to only push them for folks that don't need to be found in search engines (i.e. people who refer to their site directly to their customer base, orally or through business cards). Thanks for the tips though, when I went through training for web design Flash SEO optimization wasn't covered at all.


If you would create the same webpage, but you write the needed html code by hand in notepad it will be a lot smaller in size than the 'generated' html code of DreamWeaver (and most other webdesign programs).

Why? Well, because those programs are made for ease of use and not targetted to smallest size. They would put e.g. <p>&nbsp;</p> instead of <br />. This is really a simplistic example. The best example would probably be MS Word. Make a nice letter in it and save it as an HTML-page. Then open that html-page in Notepad and look at all the rubbish between the real HTML.

For small sites, yes... but the fact remains that using Dreamweaver for large sites is literally almost the only way to go. The built-in site template feature is invaluable when you don't want to write SSIs to control site-wide elements. And by using that method, you can optimise the code once for the entire site. Plus it lets you test server side scripts on your own computer, something you can't do easily without DW.

sadkkf
05-05-2008, 01:39 PM
It's still a very real issue to develop sites for users with dial-up. At least it is with some of my clients. I work a lot with governments and universities (the same, but very different) so we need to target everyone.


They would put e.g. <p>&nbsp;</p> instead of <br />.

Maybe you're not using Dreamweaver correctly. I've never had this happen and I've used it since version 1.0.

Dreamweaver works best for creating valid code fast. Personally, I'd never trust a MS product to do so since IE is almost as far from compliant as it can get. This is only from my experience. Sounds like you've had better luck, Cobra. :)

COBRASoft
05-05-2008, 01:45 PM
Well, I agree on modern internet speeds the <br /> example wouldn't matter that much, but I've seen people making websites in Word, PowerPoint, Excel (hahaha :rock:), Publisher, ... The things most people use daily. They export or save that to html and put it on their site.

Believe me, I've seen a html page of 2 MB in size with 5 sentences on it and 1 small picture (bmp for god's sake)... I reduced that to 2kb. So yes, size matters, even today.

I don't think DreamWeaver can do things better/faster/easier than Visual Studio can, specially not for database driven sites or really big websites with a lot of dynamic content. The master pages of ASP.Net 3.5 are really amazing. Not to mention their speed.

akademus
05-05-2008, 01:46 PM
I've run into the same problem when I wanted to put up my web portfolio. I have had some basic html sites before but i wanted something more. After some research and talks with web folks I know i decided to go with Joomla!. I really liked the idea that my site is database and the whole concept of templates.
Now, i'm not that experienced and some may say Joomla has this or that problem, but with my experience, i was able to setup decent looking website with nice image gallery, blog, guestbook and such within one day. More than enough for me!

http://www.vojislavmilanovic.com

Sekhar
05-05-2008, 01:52 PM
Well, I agree on modern internet speeds the <br /> example wouldn't matter that much, but I've seen people making websites in Word, PowerPoint, Excel (hahaha :rock:), Publisher, ... The things most people use daily. They export or save that to html and put it on their site.

Believe me, I've seen a html page of 2 MB in size with 5 sentences on it and 1 small picture (bmp for god's sake)... I reduced that to 2kb. So yes, size matters, even today.

DW lets you remove this kind of Word, etc. generated bloat - does a pretty good job.

Steamthrower
05-05-2008, 01:55 PM
I don't think DreamWeaver can do things better/faster/easier than Visual Studio can, specially not for database driven sites or really big websites with a lot of dynamic content. The master pages of ASP.Net 3.5 are really amazing. Not to mention their speed.

My main reason for not using Visual Studio is the fact that I try to develop solely off an Apache server...which doesn't support ASP. I'm on a Mac, anyway, and so are the majority of the local web designers. But I'm primarily doing "pretty" sites of the portfolio brand, so I don't have to deal too much with large databases. I have found Drupal, Joomla, and several other systems to be well worth learning, and run nicely on any standard Unix server.

sadkkf
05-05-2008, 01:57 PM
Well, I agree on modern internet speeds the <br /> example wouldn't matter that much, but I've seen people making websites in Word, PowerPoint, Excel (hahaha :rock:), Publisher, ... The things most people use daily. They export or save that to html and put it on their site.

Believe me, I've seen a html page of 2 MB in size with 5 sentences on it and 1 small picture (bmp for god's sake)... I reduced that to 2kb. So yes, size matters, even today.

I don't think DreamWeaver can do things better/faster/easier than Visual Studio can, specially not for database driven sites or really big websites with a lot of dynamic content. The master pages of ASP.Net 3.5 are really amazing. Not to mention their speed.


MS Office products plain suck for HTML creation. Worst code ever. You're right about the 2mb file sizes. Incredible.

I don't want to argue about what's faster for coding ASP.NET 3.5 master pages. I'm sure VS works great for that. DW can't really compete with something so specific, but it's still, IMHO, the best overall web tool on the planet. I've used it for tons of dynamic sites using live connections and recordsets. Works great.

I wonder how much life any of these tools really have anyway with CMS tools coming in fast. I'm actually losing business to these.

CMT
05-05-2008, 02:06 PM
Well, I agree on modern internet speeds the <br /> example wouldn't matter that much, but I've seen people making websites in Word, PowerPoint, Excel (hahaha :rock:), Publisher, ... The things most people use daily. They export or save that to html and put it on their site.

Believe me, I've seen a html page of 2 MB in size with 5 sentences on it and 1 small picture (bmp for god's sake)... I reduced that to 2kb. So yes, size matters, even today.

I know what you mean. I had to help a buddy of mine who did just that. I think plenty of people jump right into creating a web page without doing any reading up on the subject. A simple search of do's and don'ts would make people realize that images need to be optimized.

COBRASoft
05-05-2008, 02:13 PM
Inigo: well, it seems we are from another computer world :) The last time I used an Apple was when I emulated it on my Amiga to show off. But ok, I know they are very powerfull machines and the day Visual Studio runs on it, I will try it out immediately.
I also know Apache is very good and Linux servers are doing their job well, but really, take once a look at Microsofts side (Windows Server 2008, IIS 7 and ASP.Net). I'm sure you will be surprised if you do a real speed comparision, a total cost of ownership, ease of use, ...

COBRASoft
05-05-2008, 02:25 PM
sadkkf: Well, I have my own ERP package that I'm rewriting in .Net 3.5. It will be ready for WinForms by the end of the year (more than 500 forms, database of more than 300 tables). I will prepare it completely for the web also (same .Net code, how easy is that). This means that my program will spit out complete websites or dynamic parts where needed, another advantage of SilverLight over Flash, it's plain .Net code with XAML. Everybody can read/change that if needed.

I agree that DreamWeaver is nice for the 'simple' websites which are more than a frontpage (hence the name :)), but for the real business... No, it isn't good enough, it isn't integrated enough and it isn't fast enough. For me, it is like being in a formula 1 race and you have the fastest horse. A horse is fast and can get you somewhere very fast for small distances. But if you need to be on the other side of the country, you better get one of those nice Ferrari's.

Tom Wood
05-05-2008, 03:40 PM
I like DW when it comes time to update my site, which is frequently. Once synched up with the remote server, it's nice to be able upload and check things right away from within DW.

I use a lot of copy and paste code, and I don't really see a lot of extra code that DW adds, but maybe I'm just not doing it right. :D

sadkkf
05-05-2008, 04:52 PM
Hey, Cobra...sounds like you've got quite a project going! Good luck!

I've built some very powerful apps using DW, too, so it's much more capable for building and maintaining simple sites.

I agree if you're going to get into the guts of .NET, VS is your tool. Unfortunately, when I was developing some internal apps for my state government, I didn't have VS available, so I used DW instead and it worked okay. Admittedly, it was more hard-coding than I'd like because it doesn't have all the drag-and-drop controls.

Mostly, I target small- to mid-sized businesses and they prefer the cost-effectiveness of PHP/MYSQL. Even some of my high-tech customers prefer it. Either way, they're tools and there's a right way and wrong way to use them. I actually see more JSP than .NET.

I don't know much about Silverlight, but I've worked tons with Flash and am exploring Flex. Flex has a free compiler and free third-party GUIs so I think it'll give MS a run, leveraging its wide installed base.

art
05-05-2008, 06:54 PM
php/mysql is my favorite platform. I was much into jsp, but php won my heart after a while.

sadkkf
05-05-2008, 07:44 PM
I love it, too. It's just so friggin' easy.

Maxx
05-05-2008, 11:20 PM
PHP with MySQL rocks, IMO. I watched someone that was doing the back-end programming for a site I was designing try to do things with C# in Visual Studio and honestly just couldn't believe it. I don't mean to offend COBRAsoft, who sounds like he's got it going on with Visual Studio, but everybody I've known that has developed .net in VS can't stand it or do half what I can in twice the time (upon second read, that's grammatically incorrect, I think. Basically, I mean that I can do more work in less time then the people I know using VS. Grammar drives me nuts, sometimes.) using php/mysql and Dreamweaver as a basic color-coding text editor.

The problem is that people think that .ASP is more impressive, IMO. I checked into jobs in a market I was looking at and found that php/mysql developer was paying at about $12.00 an hour while asp/access or mssql developers were paying $35.00-$40.00 for the same work, at the same title.

Also, am I the only one that uses Dreamweaver mostly as text editor (coder layout, I think they call it)? I admit that I will occasionally plunder it's pre-built code ... simple things I can't at the time remember exactly how to do, so I need a rough base - click a couple buttons, clean up a lot of generated code, you're good to go. But that's only useful on occasion. Because DW really does produce some bloated code when you use the Layout view, and even in the code view, especially in the Javascript department. I can't remember the last time I let DW auto-code php for me, so I can't remember exactly what that was like, though I know there was a reason I learned php.

I'd switch to Notepad2 permanently, in all honesty, if it let me save custom Snippets the way DW does (and I was half as used to the way it worked as I am DW - been using DW since version 3, I think...).


I wonder how much life any of these tools really have anyway with CMS tools coming in fast. I'm actually losing business to these.
I feel ya' there, brother...

COBRASoft
05-05-2008, 11:27 PM
I went to a 'showcase' of SilverLight called MIX Essentials here in Belgium. There I saw all the goodies and the future roadmap of .Net and MicroSoft. They will do impressive things and most of them will be free of charge (Windows Live).

There was 1 funny detail they mentioned. IIS 7 has much better support for PHP. and .Net 3.5 has much better support for MySQL... So, even if you wish to use PHP or MySQL, MS has something for ya (no wonder, they're even in robotics nowadays with their .Net, for free!). If Novel is working together with MS to get SilverLight working on Linux, they must be sure it will be a big bang, the same goes for Nokia...

inquisitive
05-05-2008, 11:53 PM
so... you find yourself spending more time fiddling with websites and webpages than animating? :) I'm actually learning Drupal, a bit more complicated than wordpress if you want to do fancy stuff.. or maybe it just seems that way because I am learning.

COBRASoft
05-06-2008, 12:02 AM
Animating and 3D is my hobby. Developing is my daily 'job'. But I see it as a hobby too. I have my own little software company and I can decide myself what I do, when I do it and even where I do it :)

Yeah, live can be beautiful sometimes...

kilvano
05-06-2008, 12:15 AM
I spent a little bit of time and learned CSS and HTML. My site (www.designthings.net) is all hand coded and designed in photoshop. I still need to put all my work on it but its all basically done. Ive even started doing some freelance web work.

Dreamweaver is extremely bloated but useful for sites with PHP, MySQL etc.

Coda on the mac is good for changing things directly on a server
CSSEdit is good for managing CSS and gives you a real time display

Red_Oddity
05-06-2008, 03:45 AM
Yup, i have written our site and secure customer login site.
Took a while to learn Flash AS, PHP and MySQL, but once you know what you're doing, the possibilities are endless.

Our site is a Flash site, but it is connected to MySQL via PHP, it also features a administration page that allows any less computer savvy to add or adjust content (it features a basic WYSIWYG edit/upload page, which does resizing and encoding of media completely automated)

see : http://www.houseofsecrets.nl

GandB
05-06-2008, 05:54 AM
You guys all obviously know what you're doing. Are there any sites/books that anyone would recommend for someone like me, starting out in website/page design? Mostly what I've been doing for the past few years is juggling multiple responsabilities, while mastering none. ;)

I have a decent grasp on modeling (mostly low-poly, though I have ventured out into high-poly and lighting a bit), UV Mapping, and texturing (using Paint Shop Pro X); I have yet to take up animating (have done some 2D animation for games though). As you can see, I have the rudimentary ability to put together a website; though I need to learn better graphic compression. Everything I do is primarily focused around game-development; though I have no idea how to code anything (2 other guys handle that aspect).

So, starting from pretty much a purely artistic apptitude; where would be the best place to start learning proper website design/admin? My goals are to have a fast loading site, while maintaining a similar look to http://www.blackdracogames.com. I'd like to learn Flash for certain elements in our site (such as a small video of our different games (action sequences) going on, that a visitor could click on to take them to that game's specific page) as well. I'm just not sure if an entire Flash site is the way to go; but if it ensures that the site's integrity is preserved no matter what browser is used (and what resolution is detected), then it may be worth looking into.

I appreciate anyone's time, in response to this. :)

-Keith

sadkkf
05-06-2008, 06:32 AM
I've coded web apps with both .NET/Sql Server and Oracle as well as PHP/MySQL and while both have their strengths and weaknesses, I strongly favor PHP. It's so much easier and faster to code. Couple that with AJAX and you've got a very robust application at a fraction of the cost of IIS.

I use VS for my business development of C++ apps and it's fine. I've never been able to use it for ASP.NET dev so I can't say how it is. DW support for .NET is fine, but support specifically for .NET 3.5 ... it's no surprise a dedicated tool like VS would be faster.


Are there any sites/books that anyone would recommend for someone like me, starting out in website/page design?

The best way to learn is to do. There are tons of sites that talk about design, but your first consideration should always be functionality. Make it easy for the user to find information and move on. Keep the two-click rule in mind.

Also, check your code. Use this online validator:

http://validator.w3.org

This can tell you where your errors are; also a great way to learn proper coding. Validating your code will help your site work better across browsers and platforms.

And expect to code your knuckles bloody just to get it working in IE 6. :hey:

GandB
05-06-2008, 06:38 AM
And expect to code your knuckles bloody just to get it working in IE 6.
Great.:D

Thanks for the input; but let's pretend I don't know what the "2-Click Rule" is?

sadkkf
05-06-2008, 08:18 AM
The two-click rule means it shouldn't take any more than two clicks to get anywhere on the site from anywhere else.

This is the essence of usability. Design the navigation around the content. This is why Flash got such a bad rep because people were so enamored with cool splash pages and dazzling animations they forgot the user actually wanted to find information.

Not that I'm an expert, but I believe designing clean, well-structured navigation can be more challenging than a pretty design. :thumbsup:

cresshead
05-06-2008, 11:32 AM
Yup, i have written our site and secure customer login site.
Took a while to learn Flash AS, PHP and MySQL, but once you know what you're doing, the possibilities are endless.

Our site is a Flash site, but it is connected to MySQL via PHP, it also features a administration page that allows any less computer savvy to add or adjust content (it features a basic WYSIWYG edit/upload page, which does resizing and encoding of media completely automated)

see : http://www.houseofsecrets.nl

i like it all apart from the push reverse scrolling..that just drives me nuts!:D
i just feel like i'm in a computer game battling against the evil 'dr scroll'
with his anti scroll weapons that reverse whatever i do!8/

rkanyama
05-06-2008, 11:37 AM
I built my own site using Lightwave, Flash and Photoshop.

Have a look @ www.ArtofRK.com

Cheers,

Ron

RollerJesus
05-06-2008, 01:24 PM
I built my own site using Lightwave, Flash and Photoshop.

Have a look @ www.ArtofRK.com

Nice site, I particularly like Trogdor.

Paul_Boland
05-06-2008, 01:26 PM
COBRASoft, do you own shares in Microsoft by any chance ;). From reading your posts, you definately sound like a Microsoft fan. I am too. There are not many of us around (or at least not many who'll admit it). I very much enjoy reading your posts, which is not to say I don't enjoy reading everyones.

Maxx
05-06-2008, 01:41 PM
Maxx Designs (my site) - http://www.maxxwv.com is also Flash based, using Actionscript to tie to a MySQL database via PHP as well. I've built an administrative back-end on the entire site that controls the contents of the site directly, as well as a few other things. Haven't had to open the Flash files since I created the thing that I recall. Maybe once to add some additional functionality - I can't quite remember right now.

Once I get the chance to code a switch so that a touring user can't see certain pages in the admin back-end, I'll open it up again with a general log-in and password. I've already got it set up so that if a potential client is looking at the back end, they can see everything and how it all works, but no changes will actually be made by non-legitimate users.

I also used PHP to auto-create the thumbnails in the portfolio on the fly so I only have to upload the final image - no more cropping or resizing and having to upload another image. It could all be streamlined further, I'm sure, but I've never had any complaints about the load times - they're pretty quick as long as my host isn't doing something stupid on the actual server.

rkanyama
05-06-2008, 02:41 PM
Nice site, I particularly like Trogdor.

Thanks! Trogdor is sitting in my cube at work!

Speedmonk42
05-06-2008, 05:40 PM
Has anyone ever made the css from a css book work?

I am thinking of trying the sitepoint book.

COBRASoft
05-06-2008, 11:36 PM
Paul, no, I don't own any stocks from MS :)

I will be honest, I've always been a die hard Amiga fan (and always will be). But the development tools of MS or so amazing that I have to admit MS is good at something. The way they integrate everything is the key to their real succes in my opinion (Visual Studio 2008, Office 2007, SQL Server 2005 or higher, Expression Blend, SharePoint, IIS, ...). Actually, I'm also a partner of IBM and their Eclipse/DB2 solution... Sorry IBM, it's just not good enough to compete with MS, same goes for Oracle, which is even worse.

If Amiga would have developed a decent database manager and if they would have integrated it in Blitz Bazic, StormC or similar, I'm sure they would have had more chances in the business world.

Steamthrower
05-07-2008, 07:11 AM
Sorry IBM, it's just not good enough to compete with MS, same goes for Oracle, which is even worse.

Company we deal with paid Oracle $2m for a custom database solution. After a year, it was such a flop, such a waste, that they reverted back to their old system. Didn't exactly instill much Oracle-confidence into me.

siproductions
05-07-2008, 12:07 PM
Set this up in two hours with Iweb. www.si-productions.com Nothing too fancy but great solution if you own a mac and have no time lol.

Hopper
05-07-2008, 05:46 PM
Company we deal with paid Oracle $2m for a custom database solution. After a year, it was such a flop, such a waste, that they reverted back to their old system. Didn't exactly instill much Oracle-confidence into me.
Well .. I have to give it to Oracle, their database products kick the crap out of anything on the market, but it's so unfortunate that ALL of their middleware and management products are at the opposite end of the spectrum. I wouldn't touch anything that has an "Oracle" stmap on it unless it's the database.

COBRASoft
05-07-2008, 11:27 PM
Hopper: if you want to go for the database specific, then go at least for DB2 from IBM. SQL Server and DB2 outperform Oracle nowadays on many subjects. As for the real big, BIG industries like banks and so, DB2 is the way to go because it's working from a laptop till a monster mainframe.

Hopper
05-07-2008, 11:48 PM
Hopper: if you want to go for the database specific, then go at least for DB2 from IBM. SQL Server and DB2 outperform Oracle nowadays on many subjects. As for the real big, BIG industries like banks and so, DB2 is the way to go because it's working from a laptop till a monster mainframe.
Well everyone has there preferences. When I worked at IBM a few years back(97-2003), we always got our @sses handed to us at bake-offs by Oracle as far as size vs. performance goes.

We had IBM come in for our latest project and we consistently broke DB2. No real grid control to speak of and clustering simply doesn't work in huge environments. It couldn't keep up. We did, however buy $40mil worth of their biggest baddest systems to run Oracle though. I'm no longer in the DBA scene, but we have the 5th largest data store in the country and I'll tell you what .. I'd hate to be one of our DBA's. I don't care what they use as long as I don't have to deal with it. Banks are indeed a large industry with large data store requirements, but in my business, banks are quite small in comparison.

And don't get me wrong, DB2 is still a best of breed product and I'd use it in a heartbeat, but I just don't see it often enough these days.

Sekhar
05-08-2008, 12:15 AM
Well .. I have to give it to Oracle, their database products kick the crap out of anything on the market, but it's so unfortunate that ALL of their middleware and management products are at the opposite end of the spectrum. I wouldn't touch anything that has an "Oracle" stmap on it unless it's the database.

Hey, don't bash Oracle middleware - I've worked in Oracle for 5 years on Oracle MW (left last year to start my own firm) and can tell you it is #1. :) Besides, they just got BEA too now.

dwburman
05-08-2008, 12:16 AM
I've cludged together sites using several methods... I'm not a developer.

I'm using powweb.com as the host.

http://dwburman.com - basic HTML using tables... I think I used nvu to set it up
http://becca-n-dana.com - iweb for the main part of the site.
http://becca-n-dana.com/blog - wordpress
http://becca-n-dana.com/gallery - using gallery2 on it's own.
http://dwburman.com/wordpress - test site
http://dwburman.com/joomla - new site in development

iWeb is easy to set up and use if you like the templates. The problem is that Apple's more concerned with things looking good than being optimized. Also, (at least in the last version) if you're not on .mac and you make a change, you have to wait for the entire site to save and then publish to a folder before you upload it. That took a long time on my ibook. Because of that, I added Wordpress to handle the blog.

Wordpress is great for a blog site, but I wasn't able to get it to do what I wanted. My coding skills are very basic.

Joomla is what I settled on for the site. I have a couple of friends who know the platform and can give me some help. It's not been easy for me so far. I'm slowly learning how things work and once things are all set up it'll be pretty easy to maintain, but getting it to that point is a struggle. It doesn't help that I'm having trouble with jftp.

I should have it all together by the end of next week (hopefully).

Hopper
05-08-2008, 12:26 PM
Hey, don't bash Oracle middleware - I've worked in Oracle for 5 years on Oracle MW (left last year to start my own firm) and can tell you it is #1. :) Besides, they just got BEA too now.
<Oracle MiddleWare> :hammer:

:D

Well, in all honesty, I can't really give a qualified argument. I've only had to use it a few times, but my developers couldn't stand it. We ran into too many things it couldn't do as far as legacy integration, common services (i.e. JMS, message busses, LDAP, etc..).

I'm sure it may be a well-rounded systetm by now (I would think). And with their recent purchase of Lodestar, I would expect to see a full suite of Interval Data products soon (which is what I have to deal with in giant quantities).

It may be something to look at in the future.

COBRASoft
05-08-2008, 12:38 PM
Don't forget SQL Server 2008 guys, it rocks! It has become very scalable. I don't know if I would thrust my bank account with it, but they are really gaining performance.

Sorry for going off-topic, but databases are actually very important for todays websites (Google, Yahoo, MSN, ...)

Hopper
05-08-2008, 12:45 PM
Don't forget SQL Server 2008 guys, it rocks! It has become very scalable. I don't know if I would thrust my bank account with it, but they are really gaining performance.

Sorry for going off-topic, but databases are actually very important for todays websites (Google, Yahoo, MSN, ...)
MySQL has come a long way also. I'm surprised at the rate at which it has become a real competitor as far as abilities and scalability goes. And the fact that you can set up your site with PHP and MySQL in about 5 minutes is a giant plus in my book.

sadkkf
05-08-2008, 12:48 PM
I've used Oracle quite a bit and even helped set up a portal with OraclePortal and love it. Easy. Fast. Beats SQL Server hands down, IMO. And forget T-SQL. PL/SQL rules.

Hopper
05-08-2008, 03:58 PM
PL/SQL rules.
:)
And that's why it's the industry standard.

Red_Oddity
05-09-2008, 02:55 AM
I just looked at opensource alternatives with good security and the documentation and example scripts to apply it (PHP MySQL seemed like a good choise for a beginner with a SQL driven site with low to medium hits)

COBRASoft
05-09-2008, 03:04 AM
T-SQL is old news, nowadays you can use pure .Net code in your database. It's fast, reliable and much more powerfull. I've worked with PL/SQL too, it's great, but can't beat the .Net possiblities today.

Setting up a website with .Net/SQL Express also takes about 5 minutes.

What I'm still missing is a db that's really OO-oriented. I know there are some out there, but they lack features and speed...

druitre
05-09-2008, 10:28 AM
Interesting thread!

I'm no websitebuilder/programmer at all. The only site I've ever done is my own site, which I did in Flash so it would show up everywhere exactly the same and so it would play my animations the way I wanted them to play. I also like that it loads fast.

A few replies back you were talking about SEO for flashsites - I take it that means something like 'Search Engine O... O... ' as in 'visibility to searchengines'? What's the current best method for making sure your flash site is picked up by search engines?

I did mine by putting it in the center of a frameset I created in Dreamweaver, then put keywords in the <meta name="keywords"> header of that .htm. Something I picked up from a forum. But as said, I'm no expert on it so I don't really know if this is a sensible way of improving searchbot visibility.

Can any of you more knowledgeable people give some comments?

Thanks,
Jasper

by the way, the site I'm talking about is the one in my sig below

sadkkf
05-09-2008, 11:46 AM
Interesting thread!

I'm no websitebuilder/programmer at all. The only site I've ever done is my own site, which I did in Flash so it would show up everywhere exactly the same and so it would play my animations the way I wanted them to play. I also like that it loads fast.

A few replies back you were talking about SEO for flashsites - I take it that means something like 'Search Engine O... O... ' as in 'visibility to searchengines'? What's the current best method for making sure your flash site is picked up by search engines?

I did mine by putting it in the center of a frameset I created in Dreamweaver, then put keywords in the <meta name="keywords"> header of that .htm. Something I picked up from a forum. But as said, I'm no expert on it so I don't really know if this is a sensible way of improving searchbot visibility.

Can any of you more knowledgeable people give some comments?

Thanks,
Jasper

by the way, the site I'm talking about is the one in my sig below


SEO is Search Engine Optimization. By adding some simple things to a site you can get higher rankings in search engine results. META tags are almost totally ignored for this. The first and best place is the TITLE tag. Put your keywords there.

Also, frames are bad and should be avoided at all costs. They are not very accessible and can't be bookmarked. Depending on how your Flash is set up, you can get away with a single HTML page without frames and use the navigation built into Flash to move around.

Steamthrower
05-09-2008, 12:05 PM
I did mine by putting it in the center of a frameset I created in Dreamweaver, then put keywords in the <meta name="keywords"> header of that .htm. Something I picked up from a forum. But as said, I'm no expert on it so I don't really know if this is a sensible way of improving searchbot visibility.

Can any of you more knowledgeable people give some comments?

I like the Flash site, you did a good job. I'd put your site in a centered div though instead like Sadkkf suggested.

That animation with the guy breaking his leg makes me cringe! Totally creepy (the thought, not the animation!)

Sekhar
05-09-2008, 12:28 PM
A few replies back you were talking about SEO for flashsites - I take it that means something like 'Search Engine O... O... ' as in 'visibility to searchengines'? What's the current best method for making sure your flash site is picked up by search engines?

Very interesting site! Nice job on the Funky P ... didn't see all others yet, but will do.

WRT your question, SEO is a major topic and I suggest you read up on it (e.g., check out http://www.google.com/webmasters/).

Now, the problem specific to Flash is that search engines like Google can't see inside of Flash as well as they can inside a HTML page (which is all text). The leading solution is to embed a text version of the Flash content inside the same page so Google sees the text whereas regular browsers see the Flash part (see my earlier post in this thread for a bit more on this). Also check out adobe.com (search for flash seo) - they have a bunch of good articles.