Website for a charity

  User-CB94CED6-F3AA-42E7-8A286564F5DCBC14 08:47 04 Nov 2006

I am an amateur web designer and have offered to upgrade a website for a local charity. The existing site is frontpage and bursting at the seams.

They are prepared to purchase some dev software e.g. studio 8 so that's one way to go perhaps with an open source CSS template. I think, due to the size of the site and its future expansion requirements that it will need a CMS arrangement trouble is this is a learning exercise for me and want to avoid direct coding of PHP etc. The design of the DB will be a big enough task!

My thoughts are:

1. is there another way to go about this - like just get a hosting with the software supplied to develope pages that way. But I do not think I will get CMS this way?

2. Looking at wysiwyg CMS (e.g. joomla) they seem to build with tables and I want xhtml (strict) and CSS with lots of accessibility conformance. Is this the way to go?

3. Or start of with Dreamweaver (using Contribute and Flashpaper as part of the package) and a good template?

Oh, yes another requirement is that staff can make save updates to content.

Any advice appreciated.

  RicScott 10:49 04 Nov 2006

Use the CSS and XHTML for the main layout and then just use the tables for search results etc..keep it lighter, rather than full of tables..
You can actually place php content within the CSS boxes.
just opt for the <?PHP echo $pageheader; ?>
option etc. That's what I'm doing on my latest project..I'd link it but it's still in testing stage..

If you build the database in MySql, just download an app like PHPrunner or PHP maker and that will build the CMS for you to match your DB..

  HighTower 15:52 21 Nov 2006

If you are getting a copy of Dreamweaver why not see what Web Assist have to offer. Haven't used Site Assist before but it may be useful to you.

Not particularly cheap but maybe worth a look.

click here

  PurplePenny 23:18 29 Nov 2006

... it can't be a very demanding site

I know some professional web developers of long standing and great expertise who would disagree with you there.

"Wordpress for a content driven site" - it's for blogs not entire web sites. It looks pretty ridiculous to have "Posted by [name] under [category] No comments" on every page of a web site!

  PurplePenny 23:31 29 Nov 2006

Have you looked at MySource Matrix from Squiz?
click here

The underlying CMS is (apparently) standards compliant and accessible (though I can't find their statement to that effect anymore... I'm sure they used to have one).

Of course the problem with any CMS is that no matter how compliant the CMS itself is the resultant site is only as good as the people adding to the content: they can make it non-compliant. For instance I've seen an entire paragraph coded as a heading just to get the format that the member of staff wanted!

The answer is that as well as training staff (volunteers?) in how to use the CMS you also have to tell them how to use it in a standards compliant and accessible way!

  HighTower 23:52 29 Nov 2006

"Of course the problem with any CMS is that no matter how compliant the CMS itself is the resultant site is only as good as the people adding to the content: they can make it non-compliant."

I've written many database driven content managed sites for various customers. Give them all a couple of months and look at what they do to it, with their 12 fonts, 7 colours and 800Kb jpegs!

  matto 11:42 30 Nov 2006

Am I being stalked by Forum Member and Purple Penny?

Firstly, I'm not offering commercial services in my post, but I'm showing my credentials as I contribute - that's only fair? It's also something I think contributors SHOULD do - why else should we listen to their advice? I'm happy to answer other questions off-board - I think that is only fair too?

Penny - I think you should take another look at Wordpress. There is no reasons why it cannot be used as a robust Content Management System. It was designed originally for blogs but has grown into a pretty full-featured platform.

For the record, if you don't want to see 'Posted by...', there's a little 'PHP trick' you can do - open up the index template and replace the appropriate line.

Seriously though, cantthinkofanickname posted a request for ideas. He described himself as an 'amateur web designer'. Re-read the post - it sounds like a robust site management tool would be perfect for users who won't get to use dev software to its full potential. That's exactly where something like Wordpress comes in. The poster can migrate existing content to a Wordpress install in a matter of hours, customise the CMS to fit the design of the existing site and then just set up accounts in the admin system.

In my opinion, based on the poster's request, that is the way to go.

Matto (contributing, not just commenting)

I have read your replies, Thanks. I feel I ought to give Wordpress a try. I am keen that I can convert my final html, css and js to operate under this cms. However I am not keen on learning PHP as I am trying to be a 'modular' builder.

1. presumably, I need a site now that will support PHP files (which I assume Wordpress generates?) and that it will allow Wordpress to run (or is its output just PHP files?

2. Is there any compatibility with Dreamweaver?

3. Where is the best forum for Wordpress?

  PurplePenny 22:48 30 Nov 2006

It still looks like a blog! I wouldn't do business with a company whose web site looks like a blog.

Why use Wordpress when there are plenty of CMSs out there?

Yes I see what PP says about it blog looking. But I assume that the page is constructed with DIVs and therefore one could put them (position:relative;) anywhere. Which leads me to ask . .

1. Can one get at the template code?
2. Only one css file (why not includes)?
3. supports SSIs?

I suppose what I'm asking is what are the limitations over a hand or wysywig tool created page(s). Where can I read the Cons as I assume the Wordpress site is full of Cons?

OK, where is a definitive list of these including open source and wysywig types? I still think I'm heading for PHP learning!

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