What Webpage development tools do you use?

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Peartree

Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Global Mod
I *think* this has been discussed on TRF once upon a time but its too far gone in my memory to even remember good keywords to search for.

Anyway, I know a bunch of you are *major* computer/internet ultra-users. While I know enough to be dangerous, I don't rise to that level. Our church is finally getting to the place where we have volunteers who are willing and able to design and build useful webpages. I have some basic stuff I built last year for a demonstration project (using MS Word because it was free and easy) and we have a really, really outdated version that is still online so we're not *exactly* starting from scratch but pretty much so.

Since we're here, what software can you recommend for webpage development?

We own MS Frontpage, but I really don't like it (too hard, too fat, memory hog, etc.). I would like to find something that would help our novice designers build something that looks nice but doesn't take years to be proficient.

Oh, and it would be really nice if it was cheap or even free.

Any help would be appreciated.

FWIW, we already have a domain, email, a high speed connection (finally), webhosting and lots of memory.

troj

Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
First off, I'd recommend against every posting anything saved as HTML from an MS Office document. MS Office produces some of the most hideous, hard to deal with HTML I've ever seen in my life.

I really and truly hate FrontPage (a friend brings it up just to tweak me, because he knows how I'll react), but I have to ask... What version do you own? If it's a relatively current one, and you already own it, unless you want a lot of flexibility, I'd suggest sticking with what you own.

That cat's meow of web page software is DreamWeaver. But it's got a pretty hefty price tag, and learning curve, to go along with it.

My guess is you're dependent on volunteers to not only learn the software, but to maintain it long term. With that in mind, unless you have some definite web geeks stepping up, you're best served by keeping it simple. Thus the initial inclination to tell you to stick with FrontPage.

Just avoid anything that requires the FrontPage Server Extensions; I think newer versions have pretty much done away with those nasty little buggers, anyway.

A friend uses an older version of Macromedia (now Adobe) Contribute, and he's been very happy with it. It's not as full-featured as DreamWeaver, but it's also much, much easier to master and work with. It also also doesn't produce hideous, overblown HTML.

Pem Tech

Well-Known Member
"That cat's meow of web page software is DreamWeaver."

I second that emotion....
Dreamweaver will do everything you need, and then some, and it can be "had" on some download sites.
*cough*

InFlight

Well-Known Member
John,

Take a look at this webpage editor kompozer, It's open source and is rather easy to use.

.

skycopp

Well-Known Member
http://www.wysiwygwebbuilder.com/ I think its about 40 bucks.

I use this. It is not free but I found it very easy to use. I did a few of the tutorials and within a few minutes was doing my own websites.

maxpower

Well-Known Member
If you are building a website and want to actually maintain it, I highly recommend a CMS.

Creating static web pages is easy and there are great tools out there (like Dreamweaver and some free ones) but as you start expanding your site and wanting to make updates, a CMS is going to be a whole lot easier to maintain. For the popular CMS' there are a lot of plugins, modules, components, themes, etc... to expand the functionality.

I particularly like Joomla and recommend it to anyone I know that is wanting to create a website.

Someone above mentioned getting a little help to get started and that is not a bad idea.

There are also web hosting packages out there that will have Joomla built in to make it easier to get started.

m85476585

Well-Known Member
That's what I use. Basically just a fancy text editor.

A CMS is probably your best bet. I installed Joomla, but I haven't find any good themes (I think they call them templates) yet, and I am really bad at design, so I don't think I could make my own. I'm better at backend stuff especially PHP.

I've read good things about Drupal (another CMS), but I think it is targeted at more advanced users. I haven't tried it yet, but I will once I get a chance.

Member
I would like to find something that would help our novice designers build something that looks nice but doesn't take years to be proficient.

Oh, and it would be really nice if it was cheap or even free.

NO ... and I have just the thing for you. It's called WebPlus and is put out by a company called Serif.
http://www.freeserifsoftware.com/software/WebPlus/default.asp

When I first started my website about 8 years ago the only programs that I could find were html based and very hard to learn not to mention expensive.
I bought books and everything to help learn it, but in the end just gave up and let my site sit there.

Then about 5-6 years ago I found Serif, the great thing is that they have FREE versions and you don't have to know html. I started with their Free WebPlus 6 and have since moved up through the different versions to their newest version WebPlus X2 (retail $79.99). However I wait for special promotions before upgrading and have never spent over$40.00 for a program.
http://www.serif.com/webplus/

They also have other great programs that are free or versions that you can buy. Their customer service is very good, it's England based but the call is toll free.

Anyway, give them a look .... their free/cheap and easy to use.

Loretta

RoyAtl

Well-Known Member
First off, I'd recommend against every posting anything saved as HTML from an MS Office document. MS Office produces some of the most hideous, hard to deal with HTML I've ever seen in my life.

I really and truly hate FrontPage (a friend brings it up just to tweak me, because he knows how I'll react), but I have to ask... What version do you own? If it's a relatively current one, and you already own it, unless you want a lot of flexibility, I'd suggest sticking with what you own.

That cat's meow of web page software is DreamWeaver. But it's got a pretty hefty price tag, and learning curve, to go along with it.

What do I use? I hand-code everything. But I'm a geek.....

-Kevin

Ditto on NEVER, EVER, EVER using Word to build pages.

Frontpage is not so bad, but it hasn't really been current for years. Expression Web has been available for at least three years, and upgrades from Frontpage for only $99. Usually Best Buy has it near where Vista, XP, and Office are sold (in the same sort of box). It is definitely wise to avoid Frontpage Extensions. Peartree Cyborg Rocketeer Staff member Administrator Global Mod Thanks everyone for your input (and welcome Loretta!), I'll have some more thinking to do and some things to talk about with our designers to see which way we want to go. Another option (but again, this also costs money) is to use the E-zekiel tools/hosting. (http://www.e-zekiel.com/templates/System/default.asp?id=1381)They have a special pricing deal with our national church so we can get it for as little as$15-20 per month or so. It seems as if this combines a lot of development tools along with CMS.

I know that some of this is quite affordable but budgets are tight and my gut says that folk are more likely to approve a one-time cost over committing to a monthly fee (although that could be sold if it was a good deal AND was easy and useful). I don't want to look cheap or do this badly but it is understandably difficult to convince people of its necessity when many of them don't even have computers in their homes. Some of our folk were surprised to find our that some weeks more people "attend" our church by email than actually sat in church. My thinking is, if we want to attract younger people and convince them that we have something to offer, well, we have to have something to offer. Finding balance between these two worlds is difficult and that's why I'd like to find a way to get started inexpensively and grow into it as we show the church that what we're doing has value.

Sorry about the long speech and again, thanks for all your help.

troj

Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
My thinking is, if we want to attract younger people and convince them that we have something to offer, well, we have to have something to offer. Finding balance between these two worlds is difficult and that's why I'd like to find a way to get started inexpensively and grow into it as we show the church that what we're doing has value.
Those younger people, to be honest, are where I'd suggest looking for help with the web stuff. The reality is, you're more likely to find tech-savvy folks there who enjoy "playing" with web stuff and who would get a kick out of helping put together and maintaining a website there than amongst the rest of your congregation.

-Kevin

sunward

TRF Supporter
I am using dreamweaver and although it is better than frontpage, not much. And it is a little buggy.

If you are going to do a static webpage, then you can use one of the packages suggested.

If it is going to be a site you build on, then I suggest Joomla. My son is using it for his site and he is happy with it. There is a bit of a learning curve though. So I suggest you practice on another site until you get comfortable with it. And most important, plan, plan, and plan the layout before you start.

Makes life so much easier.

dixontj93060

Well-Known Member
My son and I use Coffee Cup.

I *think* this has been discussed on TRF once upon a time but its too far gone in my memory to even remember good keywords to search for.

Anyway, I know a bunch of you are *major* computer/internet ultra-users. While I know enough to be dangerous, I don't rise to that level. Our church is finally getting to the place where we have volunteers who are willing and able to design and build useful webpages. I have some basic stuff I built last year for a demonstration project (using MS Word because it was free and easy) and we have a really, really outdated version that is still online so we're not *exactly* starting from scratch but pretty much so.

Since we're here, what software can you recommend for webpage development?

We own MS Frontpage, but I really don't like it (too hard, too fat, memory hog, etc.). I would like to find something that would help our novice designers build something that looks nice but doesn't take years to be proficient.

Oh, and it would be really nice if it was cheap or even free.

Any help would be appreciated.

FWIW, we already have a domain, email, a high speed connection (finally), webhosting and lots of memory.

n5wd

Well-Known Member
...what software can you recommend for webpage development?
We teach our students to begin with notepad to learn the basics of HTML, then move 'em over to Dreamweaver about the time some of them are beginning to learn the limitations of straight HTML. Dreamweaver can be intimidating, because it's so powerful, but I've got some tutorials that'll teach you the basics of Dreamweaver in just a couple of hours. It's definitely the industry standard and has more support than any other development package, so I'd say to get Dreamweaver.

If I were setting up a new website for your church, we'd need a web-savvy high school or college kiddoh who's willing to take on the job (we've placed a couple of our kids that need to work off community service hours for tickets with non-profits that need web design work - it's a win-win!) and let your contributors provide the info in whatever form they're comfortable with, with the webmaster doing the conversions and the actual web work. Once you've got the templates up, and a CMS like Joomla is a great program for this, it's more a matter of maintenance than designing new pages.

Your CMS will also have to deal with media files (audio and audio/video) so you're also going to need the services of an A/V editor. Might as well start looking there, as well.

troj

Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
If I were setting up a new website for your church, we'd need a web-savvy high school or college kiddoh who's willing to take on the job (we've placed a couple of our kids that need to work off community service hours for tickets with non-profits that need web design work - it's a win-win!) and let your contributors provide the info in whatever form they're comfortable with, with the webmaster doing the conversions and the actual web work.
I really like your community service idea!

Face it -- sometimes kids just make bad decisions that land them in trouble, and if you can find one with the right skill set who's willing to put forth a little bit of effort, this is a great thing all around! A definite win-win!

Plus, it solves one of the biggest issues in the IT world -- getting that initial experience. This lands a kid who's otherwise a bit behind due to a little trouble in a leading position, due to having taken advantage of an opportunity to do real work for someone.

-Kevin

Well-Known Member
I would recommend Joomla for a church web site. It is fairly easy to use and looks professional. Check out their website: http://www.joomla.org/

r0ger

New Member
In the field of open source (free) website infrastructre software (CMS- content management system) WordPress is the 800 lb gorilla.

You can literally have a basic blog-type website set up in 5 minutes. Couple this with hundreds of freely available templates and plugins and great community support and documentation and WordPress really is the way to go.

For beginners, I think WordPress is much easier to get started with than Joomla and with new WordPress based projects like BuddyPress- you can have a full-scale social networking site in a box for zero dollars and a couple of hours of set up that anyone passingly familiar with webservers can do.

n5wd

Well-Known Member
I really like your community service idea!

Face it -- sometimes kids just make bad decisions that land them in trouble, and if you can find one with the right skill set who's willing to put forth a little bit of effort, this is a great thing all around! A definite win-win!
Yep, we're talking about basically good kids who did something stupid and understand that it's not the end of the world, as long as they pay the piper (though sometimes, they just wanna write a check instead of paying with their time! I think that makes more of an impression upon them than the fines and court costs!).

Then, there are some of the kids who wouldn't get our recommendation for such a position....

Staff member