/ Website design

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dsh - on 26 Jan 2013
My wife's dad is a talented jeweller and I want to make a website to showcase his portfolio.

I have no knowledge of website design but I'm a programmer and I mostly develop software with c# and c++. I can easily learn other languages but I don't have the free time required to learn all the technologies necessary to build something from scratch, is there any software I can use to do this that doesn't have to be aimed at complete beginners but doesn't require the use of lots of different technologies?
Milesy - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to dsh:

You want him to have something looking professional so get the website itself professionally "designed"

I am like you, a programming to trade. When I do a commercial website I tender the graphics and design side out to someone who knows what they are doing professionally in that area. I then build the website up using the graphics and layouts chosen.

Look at 99designs. Give requirements a brief and many people will come up with different designs, of which you can choose the one you like.
digby - on 26 Jan 2013
In reply to dsh:

All the webhosts will provide diy tools for making websites. No need to learn new languages or anything; they are aimed at beginners as much as anyone else. Or try wordpress; that's a little more geared to knowledgeable people, and there are a lot of good sites made with it.
You just need to do a bit of googling.
dsh - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to Milesy:

I should have been clearer, I'm not designing the graphics I'm just building the site. I guess I'm really just looking for people's opinions on the best software package to use for someone who is tech savvy but who's specific knowledge isn't in web development.
john arran - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to dsh:

I have a programming background but don't do much that's very technical nowadays, and I've been using Joomla! to build our sites (e.g. http://www.chezarran.com ). It's an incredibly powerful CMS which takes a fair bit of getting used to (or did for me anyway) but the flexibility is astonishing. Spend some time finding a good template , or do as I ended up doing and create them yourself using Artisteer, then the number of useful extensions/plugins you can easily incorporate is huge.

I have also heard good things about Wordpress, which sounds similar in many ways now but evolved by extension from blogging sites.
tlm - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to dsh:

If all you want to do is to show his work, rather than enable him to sell it, then you only need something pretty simple. Any of the free, build yourself sites would work.
elsewhere on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to dsh:
Buy a domain name & web/php/mysql hosting - some come with a "one click" installation for a CMS such as Joomla & WordPress.
Website creation is easy with CMS but design still needs some skill or an eye for design.

Joomla - most powerful(?) but too complicated for my liking
WordPress - mainstream & good
Concrete5 - relatively obscure but easier to use
mattrm - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to dsh:

Simple. Wordpress. You can either host it yourself. Which if you can code in C to any decent standard you should find trivial. Or www.wordpress.com will do it for you. You can pay a fee of around $20 to have a domain linked up to the wordpress.com blog. Obviously if you're hosting yourself you won't have to pay to link it up.

There are 100s if not 1000s of free Wordpress themes out there. I'm sure you'll find something you like. If not you can get a local web dev to knock out a suitable theme in no time at all. Or learn HTML/CSS it isn't that hard and modify/knock one up yourself.

Use www.gandi.net for domains. Or portfast.co.uk
mattrm - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to elsewhere:
> (In reply to dsh)

> Joomla - most powerful(?) but too complicated for my liking

Avoid. I have to use this at my job and it's bloody awful.
mike123 - on 27 Jan 2013
i was going to ask the same question soon, i ve built a couple of very simple sites from scratch using dreamweaver and one of those how to books , it seemed straightforward enough,is this old hat ?
a lakeland climber on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to mike123:

I've never been too enamoured with Dreamweaver - it produces a lot of unnecessary code for what you get. It may have improved in recent years but it's not something I can afford to keep up with new versions.

There's a progression in web sites/design:

static HTML: fine for small sites that don't require much interactivity or regular updating.
Basic PHP: good for larger sites where you can have a layout including consistent items like headers and footers so you can easily update things site wide. Also gives you database access.
PHP frameworks: tend to use an MVC design pattern and URI rewriting so that effectively you have a single page site with the framework building everything up dynamically. Good for application style web sites. Can be easy to update content. Look up CodeIgniter; Laravel; Kohanna
CMS: A full application that can do pretty well anything. Designed to be easy to update content. Vary in ease of use - Joomla vs Wordpress.

On top of all that you have the actual design of the site: any one of the above structures can look lovely or awful!

mike123 - on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to a lakeland climber: what would you suggest as an alternative ?
(to dreamweaver)
a lakeland climber on 27 Jan 2013
In reply to mike123:

That depends on exactly what you relied on DW for. If you simply used it as an editor together with the view mode then any decent text editor will do since your browser is the view mode - I use Sublime Text 2(http://www.sublimetext.com/) which is very configurable. There are FTP plugins, as well as ones for source control; html code generation; code checking and a whole host of others.

If you used things like code (javascript) generation for stuff like rollovers then it may still be your best bet. There are better ways of doing stuff like rollovers than with Javascript BTW.

It does depend on how much of the Adobe ecosystem you use/rely on. Editing tools and the like are very much a personal preference (just do a search for "emacs vs Vi" for example) and if you've invested a lot of time and effort in learning one particular tool then moving to another may not be worth it. I've used a lot of editors, some I get on with, others I've never really figured them out. With something like ST2, I can make changes, check the changes in to my source control (Git); and upload it to the live site without leaving the keyboard. I do have to leave the program and head to a browser to test the changes of course.


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