[svlug] questions on web site development

Vincent Flesouras find.me at xalg.im
Sun Nov 30 11:30:29 PST 2014

Hi Scott,
I am a Drupal developer.
I've worked at a web agency, freelance, subcontract and now I work at SLAC
National Accelerator Laboratory as their Sr. Drupal Architect.

I've created and manage a lot of websites. During my freelance years, I met
with a lot of clients that had many of the same concerns you do. I will
tell you that doing it all yourself for the first time is invaluable in
terms of experience gained. In fact, I love it when clients take a stab at
creating their own site. If they coded it from the ground up and had to
muddle through design, development and deployment they have a deeper
appreciation of what it is I do, and why it isn't cheap.

When you're starting out there is no magic button. There are sites like Wix
that allow you to rapidly construct parts of pre-developed blocks.
Customizing those and getting it all working to your satisfaction is
difficult at best. I recommend you play around so you'll realize that isn't
the way to go.

Dreamweaver is a good starting place to get your feet wet with HTML and
CSS. But, if you want any kind of dynamic content, or wish to use databases
to store content, you'll rapidly discover the limitations of WYSIWYG tools.
Albeit, static HTML hosting is incredibly cheap. Follow some of the
thousands of tutorials on the web:
https://helpx.adobe.com/dreamweaver/how-to/first-website-part1.html  play
around with several different IDE's and languages.

A step up from Dreamweaver is Wordpress. It requires some chops in terms of
installation and first time setup, but that is mitigated by hosting
providers that often times have it installed already or use Cpanel to
install it.

Then, there is my bread and butter, Drupal. It's a fantastic Open Source
CMS that is flexible and extendable to the point of being a detriment to

One of the things I have learned is that clients don't care what language
is used to make their website, for most of them it's all magic anyway. What
they want is to quickly update content  to communicate something; Be it
news, new products, emergency notices. The nuts and bolts don't matter to
the uninitiated. In terms of stability, upgrade paths and the ability to
effect change I have my biases, but all of them require digging in and
learning a whole lot about the innards of servers, programming languages
such as javascript, PHP and .NET. and how the internet works in general.

Your first decision is weather or not you want to be a client or do it
yourself.  You're on a Linux user group, so I imagine you're not foreign to
command lines and trying things out. But if you're simply wanting to get it
done, then I'd find a developer that is hungry but honest. Not an easy task
in SV, but they exist everywhere.

Regardless of what you choose, I recommend at least getting your feet wet
with some of the open source IDE's and doing some of the initial
introduction tutorials like http://www.codecademy.com/en/tracks/htmlcss

On Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 12:51 PM, Scott DuBois <sdubois at linux.com> wrote:

> On 11/25/2014 09:37 AM, Kevin Rossi wrote:
> > List,
> > I want to get a website developed (small -- 3-5 static pages and a few
> > frames of dynamic contents and contact information for my business). I
> > have the domain name, but I have no idea how to proceed or subcontract.
> > Here are my list of issues.
> I get the impression you have a (mild) interest in doing this yourself
> but might consider having someone do it for you too. Two _very_ distinct
> differences here. Learning to do it yourself is a good thing but takes
> time, patience and practice. Having someone do it for you can open it's
> own "can of worms" as in they may build it then not maintain it. Then
> you have to find someone to make changes etc..
> >
> > I got the domain name registered with godaddy, through google. Now, how
> > do I develop a web site? I tried google apps (site builder?) but
> > realized that it is only for the company intranet. May be my
> > understanding is wrong, but how do I proceed?
> Lots of different ways; Templates, Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla,
> Dreamweaver, KompoZer, Raptor, Site Builder from the hosting company, etc..
> http://www.opensourcealternative.org/alternatives/web-development/open-source-alternative-to-dreamweaver/
> Did you only register the domain or did you also sign up for full hosting?
> >
> > If I want to subcontract, how do I make sure about the credential of the
> > company before I hand over the admin login/password combo? Is that even
> > necessary if I get a tar file of all contents? Is someone in the list
> > has a referral? My budget is a little tight, does anyone know the
> ballpark?
> Ask around. This can be hit and miss as building is "fairly" easy once
> the basics are learned so sustaining income doing it isn't easy. Many
> devs will get busy doing other things which can lead to the issue of
> maintenance.
> Legit people don't care about the code since it's all yours anyway.
> >
> > Well, if this mail does not make much sense, that indeed shows how much
> > web technology I know. Please ask questions so that I can do some
> > research and find out what I want and how to get it done...
> >
> It makes sense as I've heard this same thing many times before. Someone
> wants web work done, they want control of the process, but they don't
> know how to take the first step and they're nervous about having someone
> else do it for them. Been there...
> When I started out I had Dreamweaver installed but didn't know how to
> connect the FTP service or do all the backend stuff to move my work to
> the host; it was awful. My friend who set me up would rarely (if ever)
> answer his phone or my emails so I get left with all this stuff for a
> website and no way of knowing what to do or how to work it. That was in
> 2006.
> While it may seem like a lot of work, I always suggest people learn how
> to build and manage their own site unless you can really afford a
> reliable dev who will handle all the details for you. Even then, you
> should at lest understand the "basics" so that if your dev bails or
> "disappears" for some reason you have an idea of what needs to be done
> when you look for someone else or attempt your own patch work.
> --
> Scott DuBois BSIT
> President EBLUG
> Freenode: Roguehorse
> _______________________________________________
> svlug mailing list
> svlug at lists.svlug.org
> http://lists.svlug.org/lists/listinfo/svlug
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