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Learning How To Build Websites

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So I'm after your advice, oh wise HPCers..... If a person was to set about learning how to build websites, what's the most useful thing to learn how to do? HTML?

How much time do you reckon is needed (I realise this is a bit of a "how long is a length of string" question, but approximations would be useful)

Also, would it be expensive? Could I just get some books and software & teach myself?

Any top tips?

cheers for any advice!

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It depends what you want to do...you can go down a code your own route (XHTML & CSS), but there are tools out there that do it all for you...I've developed one using wix.com. It's all drag & drop...Its simple to put together a fairly smart looking site.

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Just to add to what Dave said, it really depends on what you want to learn it for, if it's for a personal site then use the templating engines out there. If it's for a career then just learning html won't be enough although that's where I'd probably start. Check out some of the free web template sites which will have loads of examples of html and css. Going further will require some programming knowledge.

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Cheers for replies. I want to learn to build my own website plus help other small businesses with theirs.

Happy to learn programming as have done in the past. Any suggestions of template websites to investigate?

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I'd go for Wordpress - huge numbers of templates, including content management systems, supported by most hosting companies, you can tailor them if you know some HTML, CSS, etc. Massive number of plug-ins and widgets. As others say, there's really no need to build a web site from scratch these days.

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If you are looking at chucking together your own web site, then the Wordpress route above may be good advice.

If you want to learn to become a fully fledged web developer, then the tutorials at W3C are excellent. Learn HTML, XHTML, CSS, then Javascript. Use their examples to learn, rather than obsessing about knowing every single feature.

If you want to go further you can then add PHP to your skills, which is the current lingua franca of server-side scripting. Even if you go on to something like Python. ASP.NET or Ruby on Rails your PHP knowledge will be handy. Beware geek snobs telling you their language is better, start with the well established stuff.

This board runs on PHP, for instance.

All these are free (although it is handy to buy web hosting so you can test online, about £30 a year) - time is down to how technically savvy you already are. I was producing commercial stuff within a month but I've been tinkering with computers since I was 12.

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Well I run about 60 sites for people, and I designed them all. I ain't the best, but I'm pretty good. I do very well because I provide proper service. That good, old-fashioned thing that youngsters seem to overlook.

My advice:

Get a great web host (TSO) because there's very good money to be had for hosting client's sites.

Learn HTML and CSS, and perhaps learn how to modify PHP at a basic level.

Get to grips with Joomla (I don't like Wordpress)

Design your site in Photoshop and then make a Joomla template from your design.

Understand Google and the huge value of SEO optimisation. (Keywords, page titles, alt tags, header tag use, and BACKLINK building etc...)

I'm happy to expand on this is you want to PM me.

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I'll second the use of Joomla, it's a good content management system that is simple enough, while allowing you to tinker once you know a bit more and again, it runs in PHP. If you want to get more complicated, there is Drupal.

However, I find CMS systems rapidly become a hassle once a client's needs get more complicated. If people want a simple site they can edit themselves after a bit of training (for which you can charge nicely) then Joomla is great.

(waits for PERL nerds to drop in and sneer)

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Threads like this, why this is such a good place to 'hang out'.

It's always more rewarding understanding the code (HTML, CSS) side of things rather than relying on programmes that do it for you.

Learn from other sites. Right click, 'View source...' see how it's done, and learn from the experts here. You should also check the results across different browsers (IE, still the most popular, Chrome, Firefox, Safari).

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I'll second the use of Joomla, it's a good content management system that is simple enough, while allowing you to tinker once you know a bit more and again, it runs in PHP. If you want to get more complicated, there is Drupal.

However, I find CMS systems rapidly become a hassle once a client's needs get more complicated. If people want a simple site they can edit themselves after a bit of training (for which you can charge nicely) then Joomla is great.

(waits for PERL nerds to drop in and sneer)

In the past, I've found Joomla a bit a hassle to use & a bit flakey...I would like to try Wordpress...I've heard good things about it...

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Just to expand on Tinkers post, in IE press F12 to access the developer tools which gives you a very cool interface for all the HTML, CSS and client side scripting the site uses, you can add or deactivate styles which will tell you immediately exactly what that rule is doing to the sites appearance and many more features. Other browsers have these too but I have to say I'm unfamiliar with them at this time.

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Remember that viewing a page's source is only showing the final code stamped out by dynamic scripts beavering away behind the scenes. You can of course look at any cool website and see how things were done, even copying and pasting HTML/CSS if you want to then do a site 'inspired' by it (ahem). The Firebug extension for Firefox allows you to look even deeper into the functioning and layout of sites, ditto the Dragonfly system in Opera.

Regarding Joomla being flakey, it can be... there are over 7500 files in a standard installation and one of them being lost or incorrect can hang a site. I've done complex web sites from scratch using less than 100 files.

Whatever system you use, remember it is just a tool, not an end in itself. I can't bear language snobs.

BTW, I just looked at this site's source for a page. My god, it's awful.

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Remember that viewing a page's source is only showing the final code stamped out by dynamic scripts beavering away behind the scenes. You can of course look at any cool website and see how things were done, even copying and pasting HTML/CSS if you want to then do a site 'inspired' by it (ahem). The Firebug extension for Firefox allows you to look even deeper into the functioning and layout of sites, ditto the Dragonfly system in Opera.

Regarding Joomla being flakey, it can be... there are over 7500 files in a standard installation and one of them being lost or incorrect can hang a site. I've done complex web sites from scratch using less than 100 files.

Whatever system you use, remember it is just a tool, not an end in itself. I can't bear language snobs.

BTW, I just looked at this site's source for a page. My god, it's awful.

Joomla isn't very user-friendly either, and can get a bit complicated....I've written a course/Joomla user guide and I tried to teach "average joe's" in trying to use it...it can be difficult for them to grasp...

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It depends what you want to do...you can go down a code your own route (XHTML & CSS), but there are tools out there that do it all for you...I've developed one using wix.com. It's all drag & drop...Its simple to put together a fairly smart looking site.

I have done myself a site using wix and am a technophobe but it isnt too bad!

One thing I didnt / dont like though is that it takes ages for the site to become visible to search engines and you have to start the while SEO thing again from scratch.

I now have control of my site though and can change things at the drop of a hat

swings and reoundabouts I guess

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As a full time web developer I wouldn't touch any of the 'drag and drop' solutions out there because I enjoy absolute control over the site I build but I definitely see the value for general web interests such as a personal blog etc.

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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