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Best Web Authoring Application?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the beyond-text-editors dept.

Software 140

NotHereOrThere asks: "I want to setup a small business web site and I'm trying to choose a web authoring application. I'm a software developer, so technical complexity doesn't scare me, but I've never developed for the web other than some very simple HTML pages. My main requirements are ease of use and presentation quality. What do Slashdot readers recommend? Any recommendations for a hosting service?"

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Any recommendations for a hosting service? (1)

unleashedgamers (855464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844274)

http://www.strikehosting.com/ [strikehosting.com] http://www.surpasshosting.com/ [surpasshosting.com] http://www.1and1.com/ [1and1.com] Are all good webhosts

Re:Any recommendations for a hosting service? (1)

ArmonR (884032) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844597)

I've been using HasWeb for the past year, its served my needs and never had any noticable downtime! Defintly would recommend it! (www.hasweb.com

Re:Any recommendations for a hosting service? (1)

unleashedgamers (855464) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844935)

HasWeb is a company of hostdime, hostdime is the same company as surpass. (Does this make sence?)

Types of hosting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12845026)


Once you know what type of web hosting [how2home.com] you want it's easy to find hosting company.

But before you decide do hit http://www.webhostingtalk.com [webhostingtalk.com] and read reviews and customer feedback about your choice.

Good luck

Re:Any recommendations for a hosting service? (1)

dolphinling (720774) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845383)

I've gone with DreamHost [dreamhost.com] * and I absolutely love it. 120GB/month for only $8**, with PHP, MYSQL, easy installs of wordpress and various other things I don't use, email, Jabber, etc.

Unless you absolutely need to pay under $8 a month, I've looked around quite a bit and it seems to be the cheapest and also one of the best out there.

*(disclaimer: link gets me money if you sign up with it :-)

** Can you say "overkill"? I use about 100MB of that, so I split with a friend and we each pay $4 a month.

Re:Any recommendations for a hosting service? (1)

F1_error (249202) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845695)

I'll second DreamHost. I've used them for years and have just loved it. Support is good, and the price is as well.

WebGUI (2, Informative)

Pahroza (24427) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844288)

Check out WebGUI [plainblack.com] .

It's open source, configurable, easy to maintain, and easy to learn.

Recommendations: (4, Insightful)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844301)

Are you willing to hand-code your pages? I recommend you do - it's the only way to ensure that your site is absolutely standards-compliant (get the Web Developer extension for Firefox. It's a big help). I use Notepad++ (http://sourceforge.net/projects/notepad-plus [sourceforge.net] ) because I feel it's a nice, simple, effective editor.

As for hosts, I highly, highly recommend Resiware (http://hosting.resiware.com/ [resiware.com] Their prices can't be beat and their hosting is rock solid amazing. See the link in my sig for the lil site we have hosted with them now.

Re:Recommendations: (1)

oiarbovnb (728906) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844404)

ummm...you don't have a sig!

Re:Recommendations: (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844463)

Errr...the link in my header. The videogamemaps.net thingy. :)

Re:Recommendations: (2, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844521)

Bah. I'm a huge fan of Dreamweaver.

Version MX 2004 allows you to log in to a server with ssh, and from there you have all the files and folders in a tree display on the side, and double clicking them opens them in a tab for you.

Syntax highlighting for just about everything... I mainly do PHP and it will drop down suggestions for special veriables like $_SYSTEM, as well as put a floating helper telling me what inputs a function name I just typed needs. Sure it's not free, but it's the best thing out there IMO.

Re:Recommendations: (3, Informative)

zbuffered (125292) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844655)

I only know a few professional web developers, but they all use Dreamweaver. I took over one of their projects, so I started using it myself. I have to say, it's probably the most complete web development app out there. I've been using it for a year and have only scratched the surface of it's capabilities. It presents itself with a simple interface to begin with, and gets as complicated as you like. It's also got the best CSS editor I've ever used.

If someone knows of a better CSS editor (and by better I mean easier for newbies; I teach a class on web design to beginners), let me know!

Re:Recommendations: (1)

solafide (845228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846280)

DW is great allaround, but for CSS, I recommend TopStyle Lite. bradsoft.com. Great coloring and suggeting, and integrated preview.

DW is great for the occasional coder, but I prefer Homesite+ or Topstyle Pro for hardcore coding. TP is good for CSS too. Of course, for Linux, I like Kate. It's the only one though that doesn't have autosuggest of tags.

If you don't care about standards, MS's Script WEditor is great. Go from Word, show toolbars with We b in the name, and click the colored infinity symbol. Great program for IE development. Also has JS autosuggesting

Re:Recommendations: (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#12847357)

you might want to try quanta plus, it comes with kde on most distro's, i think that has auto tag suggestion

Re:Recommendations: (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846319)

I took over one of their projects, so I started using it myself.
It's a good thing that you started to use the product, because you'd hate it if you had to edit by hand the pages it 'creates'. My advice...

Get your self a dual lcd setup (two 17" screens and a dual video card will cost just over $500). A good CSS book like 'CSS the definitive Guide' and your choice of text editors. Code on on screen and reload in a web browser on the other. If you are doing anything besides strait HTML/JavaScript/CSS code, I'd highly suggest using Eclipse, (RAD is even better if you don't mind paying IBM for it).

Graphic Designers often use Dreamweaver quite effectively for intial design, but Web Developers know that 2nd or 3rd generation WUSIWUG code gets really nasty.

re: Dreamweaver ... lots missing (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846506)

DW is OK but it's really frustrating as it has alot of things missing. Number 1 has to be a reasonable rendering engine. I design standards compliant XHTML / CSS with quite a bit of PHP. Even allowing for the PHP none of the pages look at all like any current rendering engine ... this is the latest version (MX2004)!

It doesn't even have PHP syntax checking! Every other text editor does code highlighting. I need bracket highlighting and syntax checking ... like JEdit or PHP Editor. DW often screws up on the PHP in html situation too and (like alot in Win) relies too much on file names ... so no PHP highlighting in .html files!

I've turned to JEdit more recently (as I prefer a Linux environment and it's portable). It's a little slow but has cool features via plugins. XML and PHP syntax checking (on-the-fly!). XSLT features. A comprehensive search and replace; programmability via very basic scripting allowing (eg) wrapping tags around multiple lines (but you can do that with the column highlighting!); ...

Basically, other than the "WYSIWYG" which is massively borked, JEdit has nearly everything I find useful in DW.

JEdit could learn from the ftp interface for DW and the locking and commenting features

The CSS sucks a big one ... I use the web-editor extension in Firefox. That's how DW should work!

If there's an app like DW that does what it's supposed to and produces standards compliant XHTML with CSS using divs (not tables) for non-tabular layout that can add-in some cross-browser hacks and has a code-locking feature like DW (for collaborative dev) LET ME KNOW!

[I come from using pico on Unix and notepad on Win95 when I started out ...]

Re:Recommendations: (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845861)

DW is such a piece of crap. The CSS support is appalling.

Who the hell wants to see: .class1 {font-size:8pt} .class2 {font-size:8pt} .class3 {font-size:8pt} .class4 {font-size:8pt;color:red} .class5 {font-size:8pt;background-color:Navy;}

in their code. The text editor in DW is okay, but if all you need is a text editor, install Homesite + off the CD instead. Better editor with a much lighter footprint. DW can consume as much ram as Photoshop at times.

Re:Recommendations: (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845885)

Also, give Zend PHP Studio a try. I love it. Find it way better than DW, and there's Linux support for it, seeing as it's written in Java. It supports editing over ftp like DW does. The function insight is better than DW's IMO.

Re:Recommendations: (3, Interesting)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846281)

Bah. I'm a huge fan of Dreamweaver.

I know some good people swear by it, but the thing that makes me crazy about apps like Dreamweaver and GoLive is that a lot of alleged designers use them as an excuse to remain ignorant of the underlying technology.

When I asked one designer to clean up her voluminous and chaotic markup and to fix the browser-related issues I had noticed, she told me that she was "a web designer, not a web programmer", and that she didn't really understand HTML and CSS so well. I rolled my eyes so hard I had to get an doctor to unstick them for me.

My tip for designer wannabes out there: use the fancy tools like Dreamweaver to speed along things you already know how to do manually. Clothing designers understand fabric and can sew. Print designers understand typography and the arcane details of n-color presses. Web designers do not get special permission to be clueless. Indeed, given how quickly web technologies evolve compared to other media, they have a special obligation to keep on top of the tech.

Re:Recommendations: (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846799)

Ok, I should have mentioned that I don't use the Dreamweaver WYSIWYG stuff at all... I actually just use it as a fancy text editor...

In text editor form, it's really quite nice. Tabs your pages, uploads related files all at once, ssh login support, etc etc. The WYSIWYG stuff is definatly not the selling point for me, but it's good enough for beginners to get their feet wet at least, and compare their graphical creations to the source to figure out how stuff works (it's how I learned anyways).

Re:Recommendations: (4, Interesting)

captnitro (160231) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844528)

I was going to mod you up, but I'll comment.

I say: if you're going for standards compliance, at this point, you almost *have* to hand-code your pages. If you're running Windows, go for TopStyle [bradsoft.com] . It includes HTML Tidy integration and a number of other features.

The problem is, if you're doing more than simple HTML -- and you plan to keep it updated by hand -- these days, Dreamweaver and similar products just boil down to fancy text editors.
Their CSS features are far slower than simply hand-coding the tags, unlike if you were doing this in 1996, where bold and italic and colors would cut it. Dreamweaver, for example, seems to have a horrid understanding of CSS and XHTML, that is to say, you can hand-code, or you can use its "features", but don't plan on both, it's a headache.

I use to use Fireworks for a lot of "automated" web graphics, now I hand-code everything and use Fireworks for the design elements, but no table-based graphics. Web authoring has become so, well, complex -- it's not just HTML any more -- that no product made for the Old Web really cuts it any more than notepad. I'd die to have a program like Fireworks that would export my raw graphics as properly coded CSS, that compiled layers into divs properly, and that -- say I used a rounded corner with 75% transparency -- would write out the CSS3 tags for corners and opacity and have the code degrade properly for browsers that don't support it. Unfortunately, this requires more of a web-document compiler than generator, something more intelligent, that just doesn't exist right now. But someday.

Re:Recommendations: tidy?? (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846758)

Lot's of apps include tidy integration, I think this is in Quanta and Bluefish and it's certainly in JEdit (my current choice).

With JEdit I get suggestions from tidy everytime I save a file.

Re:Recommendations: tidy?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12847559)

Yeah, but this was the only one I could remember.. :) I use it so much now I can't think of anything in any other product..

Re:Recommendations: (1)

jaredcat (223478) | more than 9 years ago | (#12847816)

Hey it sounds like you really know what you're talking about. If you do freelance, please email me at jyaffe@jyaffeconsulting.com for some information on a XHTML compliance project. Normally I wouldn't post this as a comment, but you turned off e-mail in your slashdot user profile.

Thanks, Jared

Re:Recommendations: (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845187)

But are there any good applications for helping you do this. For programmers there are plenty of great applications that will help you manage your code, while still letting you hand code yourself. Do this really exist for the web? Seems like there would be a market for them.

Re:Recommendations: (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845941)

BBEdit sounds like what you're looking for.

Resiware (1)

angle_slam (623817) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846491)

The offer on Resiware's site seemed to good to be true (unlimited storage and bandwidth for $12/month). So I googled them and came up with this page [twopercentco.com] noting that they got out of the hosting business. Do you know anything about that?

web authoring system (1)

Kaamoss (872616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844351)

I'd suggest using php and an sql database alongside xml/css. Professional, relativly low bandwidth, and sexy/lightweight. But that's just me. If you felt a bit sadomasochistic I suppose you could use IIS and asp.NET because if it's not .NET you're nto conforming to the microsoft group think and that's baaad very bad. All kiding aside, I've used asp and I hate it but perhaps it has practical applications, I've just yet to see them. Find what works for what you need and go with that regardless of what's "cool" or "buzzword complient" these days.

Re:web authoring system (2, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844654)

You want him to write his own web authoring system in PHP and store his files in a database instead of on disk?

Re:web authoring system (1)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845224)

"IIS and asp.NET because if it's not .NET you're nto conforming to the microsoft group think"

I'm sure that was just an uneducated low-blow/joke, but really ASP.NET and C# are very nice to work with and can easily be run on *nix with Mono.

Applications (2, Insightful)

LouCifer (771618) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844373)

I use HomeSite [macromedia.com] and have since its inception from Bradbury. Great software.

If you prefer something prettier, you can try Dreamweaver [macromedia.com] .

I believe there are trials of both available.

Re:Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12844436)

As a bonus, Dreamweaver uses HomeSite as its editor. DW is damn nice.

Re:Applications (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846874)

After selling HomeSite the author carried on developing it, and the imporved version is now sold as TopStyle.

NVU (2, Interesting)

forsetti (158019) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844412)

I've just started using NVU 1.0PR, and so far, I really like it. It is extremely simple, and generates very good (HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 compliant) code. It won't do anything too fancy for you, but supports templates, javascript events, and external style sheets. I'd suggest giving it a whirl.

Re:NVU (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844559)

If you hand format the source whitespace, switch to graphical view, and then go back to the source does it still undo all your hand formatting?? I was about to shoot someone when it did that to me, so I havn't used it in a while.

Re:NVU (1)

forsetti (158019) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845041)

There is a Radio Button now, labeled "Retain Original Source Formatting" ...

Re:NVU (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844614)

My take on Nvu [slashdot.org] ...

Re:NVU (1)

forsetti (158019) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845077)

Well, I can't figure out how to reply to your blog entry ... but, it sounds like you need to use CSS, instead of painting formats. Yeah, you have a pile of old, crufty, non-CSS stuff ... but if you get the conversion pain out the way once, future updates will be easy .....

vim (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844414)

Seriously, I know of no fancy graphical editor that can turn out a decent XHTML web page with style sheet. My usual test is to try to create a simple page with a heading, a few paragraphs, and a bulleted list, styled to taste. You'd be amazed how many supposed web editors fail that test--can't produce a heading, can't put together a complete HEAD element, can't apply CSS to lists, and so on.

So, get a content management system, and build your XHTML and CSS by hand. If you want, you can then use a web-based XHTML editor for editing the content that goes into the CMS.

Re:vim (1)

ignorant_newbie (104175) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845396)

thank you. Why are people always trying to use some fancy wysiwyg crap? My wife teaches dreamweaver classes to her fellow employees at apple, but wont let them use anything but the editor.

it's not like (x)?html isn't human readable guys

Re:vim (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846497)

Why are people always trying to use some fancy wysiwyg crap?

Because lots of ordinary people want to maintain web sites, and for ordinary people XHTML and CSS are a bit beyond them.

I wouldn't have recommended hand-coding with vim for an ordinary person, but the guy specifically said he's a programmer, so...

Why not an OSS CMS? (4, Interesting)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844522)


Why not try an Open Source Content Management System like Plone [plone.org] or Mambo [mamboserver.com] ? Being a technical guy you will probably find that the only way to produce a good looking site is to do it by hand, learning the intricacies of HTML/CSS and latest graphics tricks, and that's a lot more work than meets the eye. That's why those things are nice - they give you a more or less professional look to start with.

Oh, and for hosting I recommend OpenHosting [openhosting.com] , of course!

Re:Why not an OSS CMS? (2, Interesting)

KingBahamut (615285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844698)

You make a good point.

Mambo is a good LAMP solution.

Plone require Zope, but once you get past that, a very good solution as well. Actually for that matter, I think AngelineCMS has the Plone Look and Feel, and its a LAMP CMS. But for that matter, just do a Wiki, like MediaWiki the project that runs WikiPedia.

Re:Why not an OSS CMS? (1)

afd8856 (700296) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844860)

I find Zope a lot easier to install then mysql+php. And zope offers so much more with than lamp... but it's kind of apples to orranges.

Re:Why not an OSS CMS? (2, Insightful)

js7a (579872) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844818)

Beginners might be better off making html in notepad or an HTML editor like the one that comes bundled with Mozilla than a big system.

But I don't object to making them read the manual of such programs while they are thinking about which one to buy.

Re:Why not an OSS CMS? (1)

digidave (259925) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845053)

At the risk of turning this into a CMS flamefest, you should check out Drupal (http://drupal.org/ [drupal.org] ). Not only is it a top-of-the-line Open Source CMS, but customizing it and creating your own modules is more straight-forward and more powerful than with Mambo. Mambo gives you a better package out of the box, though, as long as you're trying to build a site that it comes pre-configured to handle.

Drupal is the base for spreadfirefox.com as well as many other sites. It's a great base from which to build many things.

And while we're on the subject, no discussion about OSS CMS is complete without mentioning Typo3 (http://www.typo3.com/ [typo3.com] ). It's extremely powerful and entirely too complex for most people. If you want ultimate flexibility and are willing to work, Typo3 is probably the best solution around. Just be prepared to spend a couple months learning how to make it do what you want.

Choices some good , some not so good. (3, Informative)

KingBahamut (615285) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844529)

Re:Choices some good , some not so good. (1)

myenigmaself (602643) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845499)

Is eclipse a good IDE for web development? I thought it was tailored for Java, and I don't think this guy is doing Enterprise level JB or anything like that. Please enlighten me!

Re:Choices some good , some not so good. (1)

syynnapse (781681) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846458)

Eclipse is really a basic kernal that runs various plugins on top. The java IDE is just the one that comes with it. You can find a buttload of eclipse plugins if you look, for every type of coding you could want to do.
I've used it in the past for java coding, and have been looking into using it for php, although I haven't gotten around to getting it set up. Just like any other high level app, eclipse can be difficult to set up.

Do your work outside of a box (2, Interesting)

Enrico Pulatzo (536675) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844587)

The first thing you should probably do is pickup a copy of The Non-Designer's Design Book [amazon.com] . It'll give you a great head start on typography and the use of space and save you some considerable face later.

After that, what I usually do is take a piece of paper and draw out your initial ideas and from there, use a trial version of Dreamweaver to codify your design. Then save it as a template and purchase a copy of Macromedia's Contribute to make pages and keep them up-to-date.

If coding by hand's more your style (it is for me), I'd still highly recommend using Contribute to keep your pages up-to-date. It's easy to use and (more importantly) is hard to royally screw up things with.

For inspiration, look at sites you like, but realize that flashy isn't necessarily the best user experience.

Good Luck.

best tool I've ever used for web development (3, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844605)

vim (syntax on, syntax html)

Re:best tool I've ever used for web development (0, Flamebait)

override11 (516715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844946)

Ghey Ghey. You dont sound elite when someone invariably sais 'Vim' or 'Use Notepad', you just sound like an elitist ass. Dreamweaver is great, lately I find myself using Eclipse IDE with the CFEclipse plugin, and I am loving it. With the proper plugins it does any language you want with code suggest, color coding, shrinking comments or code sections (I LOVE this part, and missed it from Homesite), and it runs nice on any machine I have loaded it on (did I mention its free?) The only downside to Eclipse vs Dreamweaver is that Eclipse doesnt integrate as well into a FTP, SSH, or RDS server like dreamweaver can. Otherwise, Eclipse can do all that AND a bag of potato chips!

Re:best tool I've ever used for web development (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845052)

Less coffee, dude!

Re:best tool I've ever used for web development (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12845720)

Ghey Ghey. You dont sound elite

Thank you for summing up your personality so concisely, I didn't have to read any further than your first few words before understanding you are an idiot with nothing to say.

Re:best tool I've ever used for web development (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845899)

Posted by an AC. At least I have the balls to post what I really think instead of karma whoring it up. And I really do get sick of the same "I'm kewl because I answer either 'Linux, Notepad, or Vim'" to every darn question. You should read the rest of my post, maybe you would learn something.

I've got two words for you... (1, Insightful)

musselm (209468) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844607)

Notepad.

"Build with Notepad" is so 1996 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12844875)

Just goes to show that some people aren't smart enough to realize that vim and emacs run on Windows.

It depends... (2, Informative)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844630)

If your using Windows or OS X, I would recommend Macromedia Dreamweaver MX. You can download a 30 day trial here [macromedia.com] . Also available in trial form is Studio MX which has Dreamweaver, Flash, and a suite of other Macromedia products.

Another route if you are running Windows 2000 or XP Professional is to download Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express 2005 beta 2, available for free download [microsoft.com] . MS VWDE2005 is bundled with Microsoft SQL Server Express, which is a free, stripped down version of MS SQLServer. This route may be a better idea if you are going to be building a website built on asp and SQL Server hosted on a Windows Server. Visual Web Developer Express will run on XP Home, but SQL Server Express will not. It has built in support for an Oracle DB, but not for MySQL.

Before choosing a host, decide what language you are going to script in. If you are going to use asp and/or .net you will need a Windows host. Most hosts will only offer php on linux servers.

Drupal (2, Informative)

tomcio.s (455520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844661)

http://durpal.org/ [durpal.org]

very vibrant community, many plugins, breeze to deploy and maintain.

I currently run my site on it. The initial setup and deployment took a little bit less than an hour.

http: // neversayforever [dot] homeip [dot] net /

Re:Drupal (1)

override11 (516715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845147)

wow, looks like your comment has slashdotted em! Maybe time to find a new host =(

Re:Drupal (3, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845487)

Um, his link has a typo. This [drupal.org] will work better.

Re:Drupal (1, Redundant)

shibbydude (622591) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845585)

Dud, you got your link wrong. http://drupal.org [drupal.org] .

Re:Drupal (1)

Godeke (32895) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846515)

I'm going to agree with this one... Drupal with a couple of modules added (I personally use "node privacy byrole" and "wiki", both of which I modified by a line or two to get exactly what I wanted) makes for a very flexible and nice environment. I can add public content, private content (by customer) and I can use an import format that is appropriate for each entry independently. Over time I plan on a bit more customization, but this has been the most usable CMS I have tried.

My Reccomendations (3, Insightful)

infernalC (51228) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844690)

Hosting - canaca.ca
- SSH, FTP, PHP, ASP, IMAP/POP/SMTP, 10 gigs bw, cheap

Editing - emacs, tidy
- no more powerful editor out there
- you already said you weren't scared;
we'll see if you should be :-)
- use tidy to clean your markup

Language
- Do all you new pages in XHMTL 1.0 Strict and
style them with CSS2.
- Server-side script in PHP.
- Avoid client-side scripts.

Browser
- Get Firefox.
- Test in IE and Firefox.
- VALIDATE!!! validator.w3.org

- my 2 cents

Re:My Reccomendations (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844898)

I would avoid PHP for server sides scripts. Python is a much nicer language. Ruby on Rails gets a lot of good press from programmers I tend to trust. (I have never used Ruby) PHP is just painful. It works and has support for some of the things you need, but it falls down quick if you want a nice language.

Personal opinion, of course, but I have come to hate PHP. I think you will too, so I recommend you stay away, or at least evaluate the alternatives first.

Re:My Reccomendations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12847856)

I would avoid PHP for server sides scripts. Python is a much nicer language.

This is a newbie we are talking about. They'll be at the mercy of whatever hosting company they go with, they won't be setting up their own server. Practically all hosting companies provide PHP. Most of them don't provide Python, let alone anything to ease the pain like mod_python. The same goes for Ruby.

PHP is just painful. It works and has support for some of the things you need, but it falls down quick if you want a nice language.

Again, this is a newbie, not a language connoisseur. He won't be building big things with this, he'll be slapping together a few simple pages. The most he'll probably use is include().

Personal opinion, of course, but I have come to hate PHP.

So much so that you will lead a newbie away from what is almost certainly the most appropriate choice.

I'm moving away from PHP and towards Python. I agree that it's a much nicer language. But PHP is far better for newbie web developers.

Re:My Reccomendations (1)

larien (5608) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845036)

I'm not going to enter an editor flamewar; I use vi, but gvim is nicer. The main thing is to find one which supports syntax highlighting, it'll help you find that tag you left open which is breaking your page...

Client side scripts aren't bad provided their loss doesn't hamper the site. For instance, input validation prior to submission to the server saves time and your bandwidth, even though you should be checking at the server as well.

As for browsers, validate in Opera, Safari and Konqueror if you can. Depending on your audience, lynx and mobile browser are worth a quick once-over as well.

Re:My Reccomendations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12847906)

As for browsers, validate in Opera, Safari and Konqueror if you can.

That's not validation. That's browser checking. Validation is checking the syntax of your code. You can have valid code that won't work in any browser and invalid code that will work in every browser.

A newbie needs to use valid code because, apart from the normal reasons to validate, they don't know what are important errors and what are "safe" errors. So the best option is to write 100% valid code.

On top of this, they need to check in browsers they care about. Most people should care about Internet Explorer 5.x, 6.0 on Windows, Internet Explorer 5.2.x on Mac, Firefox 1.0+, Mozilla 1.0+, Netscape 6.0+, Opera 7.0+, Safari 1.0+ and a text mode browser like Lynx. This will show up practically all "real-world" errors above and beyond syntax errors.

Don't forget the different screen resolutions and text sizes - and don't assume people maximise their browser and don't use any sidebars.

Don't assume checking in one version of Internet Explorer is enough. The rendering engine is completely different between Windows and Mac, and various bugs crop up that can ruin a website that appear in 6.0 that don't appear in 5.x and vice-versa. Internet Explorer is crippled, you need to give it extra care.

Re:My Reccomendations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12845256)

I would suggest you do NOT pick canaca.ca

Before moving my (kind of busy) website to their shared hosting I asked them if my stats are too much for that plan. They assured me everything would be alright. It was not. My site was suspended after only couple of weeks for "too much resource use"

I've also read horor stories about them on webhostingtalk.com (forum with lots of reviews)

Linux web authoring app? Quanta! (2, Interesting)

Shazow (263582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844835)

For some strange reason, everybody thus far decided to suggest numerous windows applications.

Well, I use Quanta Plus (http://quanta.kdewebdev.org/ [kdewebdev.org] ).

It's an excellent environment once you get it configured the way you like it. It has four MDI modes (like GIMP's every-window-for-itself, or all in one window, and different styles, etc), it has a colour picker (which sooo many web authoring apps lack), it supports dozens and dozens of syntaxes (scripting, programming, markup, etc.) and it's excellent in terms of project organization.

It's made for KDE, though. So you might have to get a few dependencies here and there (- understatement if you don't run KDE). But I feel it's worth it (albeit I DO run KDE).

I use is solely for source editing, but it also has a visual editor. I don't know how competent the visual editor is, but the source editor is excellent. It has autocomplete and all that jazz.

I never really got into vi and emacs and all that, but I think this is much better for the task at hand.

- shazow

Re:Linux web authoring app? Bluefish (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846617)

Don't forget bluefish too ... http://bluefish.openoffice.nl/ [openoffice.nl]

Re:Linux web authoring app? Bluefish (1)

Shazow (263582) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846834)

Ooo looks neat, I'll check it out (Quanta is a bit heavy).

Thanks.

- shazow

Cat got your tongue? (something important seems t (2, Informative)

vbrtrmn (62760) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844869)

Since you don't know, DON'T USE FRONTPAGE!!!

I've been using Dreamweaver since version 1.0, excellent program. I actually don't use it anymore, I hand code everything, with UltraEdit.

Web Development: Macromedia Dreamweaver
Content Management: Macromedia Contribute
XML/XSLT: XML Spy
CSS: TopStyle Pro
General Programming: UltraEdit
Language: PHP
Database: MySQL
Server: Linux/Apache

Re: Cat got your tongue? (something important seem (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12845324)

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>
<META NAME="GENERATOR" CONTENT="Microsoft FrontPage 4.0">>
<META NAME="ProgId" CONTENT="FrontPage.Editor.Document">
Response to vbrtrmn
</TITLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY BGCOLOR="#FFFFFF" TEXT="BLACK" LINK="BLUE" VLINK="RED">
<DIV CLASS="slashdotresponse">
<DIV CLASS="quote">
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp;
<FONT NAME="Arial" SIZE="12pt">
<I>
<FONT NAME="Arial" SIZE="12pt">
Since you don't know, DON'T USE FRONTPAGE!!!
</I>
</FONT>
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp;
</DIV>
</DIV>
<DIV>
<DIV>
<DIV>
</DIV>
</DIV>
</DIV>
<DIV CLASS="quote">
<FONT NAME="Arial" SIZE="12pt">
<P CLASS="response">
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp;
Why not?
& nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp;
</P<
</FONT>
</DIV>
<DIV>
<DIV>
<DIV>
</DIV>
</DIV>
</DIV>
</BODY>
</HTML>

Dreamweaver + Interakt (1)

alta (1263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844880)

Everyone has their preference... IDE's, Languages, platforms. Mine's no better than anyone else's but I like it, and I think others will to.

I use Dreamweaver, then I immediatly installed Impakt (interakt.ro.)

It's not free by any stretch, but it lets me create PHP websites in record time. Spend your time tweaking your styles and layouts, not calculating tr's/td's by hand.

It uses ADODB, so the PHP that it generates can be used on just about any database. But to get you started, MySQL, Oracle, MSSQL, Postgres...

Coding by hand is perfect for learning from scratch.

Convert already (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844889)

IANPWD (I am not a professional web developer), but I see no reason not to use Emacs. For everything. Start out by making it your start-up shell, and go from there.

Re:Convert already (0, Flamebait)

applef00 (574694) | more than 9 years ago | (#12847119)

I see a really good reason not to use it: It's overly complicated and incredibly bloated.

Geeklog (2, Informative)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 9 years ago | (#12844913)

You might want to use some CMS - take a look at opensourcecms.org, where you can try out some.

My favorite is geeklog, which has medium complexity, and it is easy to develop your own plugins for it. It has a good user management interface, and you can do almost anything with the built in static page plugin (a misnomer, for the pages are just as dynamic as the rest), like running php scripts for instance. Also, geeklog is written with security as a priority (even though you need register globals on). An example for a geeklog site is groklaw.net - a pretty good reference, no?

My own tftpanel.hu [tftpanel.hu] runs on geeklog, as well as another site [unideb.hu] I maintain. Hosting requirements are pretty good for geeklog: mysql (if you have access to only one database, that's fine) and php support, plus works on windows as well.

There are lots of CMS out there, ranging from pivot (simple) to typo3 (overkill) - so you might look at them at opensourcecms.org before you decide.

Re:Geeklog (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 9 years ago | (#12848066)

I was looking forward to trying the site you mentioned, but unfortunately I was redirected several times and ended up at OpenCMS's site. This is a bit frustrating, as I've been trying to choose a CMS for my own site, but have no idea what criteria I should be using to evaluate them.

Does anyone have suggestions?

Thumbs down to DreamWeaver MX (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12844996)

Several other posters have suggested Dreamweaver as the best. I'd like to counter that.

I'm primarity a C++ application developer who one in a while is tasked with making a website (or rather the frontend to a application I'm developing). Having zero graphic design skills, I tried Dreamweaver.

At first I loved it for its WYSIWYG capabilty; the code it produces is relatively clean. For a while it was great. Then I started doing more complex CSS stuff, like floating divs, etc. That's where Dreamweaver falls apart.

The WYSIWYG part of Dreamweaver can't cope with floating divs, and other complex constructs. The WYSIWYG rendering became a complete mess. The code was still OK, but really, the whole point of using Dreamweaver is the WYSIWYG abilities. So Dreamweaver is reduced to an average editor and IDE. Ho hum.

So now, I've returned to the traditional text editor + preview in mozilla, and I'm faster now than I was in dreamweaver.

I guess what I'm saying is that I outgrew Dreamweaver, and alot sooner than I expected. SO before plunking down the cash for dreamweaver, download the trial and make sure it can handle everything you intend throw at it.

xoops all the way (1)

jho1 (891921) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845015)

Im in favor of XOOPS content manager, IMO its alot easier then Nuke and Mambo. As for hosting i recommend http://www.ecwhost.com/ [ecwhost.com] which gives you free SQL/PHP hosting for subdomains and for private domains, its just a small small fee. I am currently using them to host my website along side with XOOPS. More importantly the themes are gorgeous, although not as nice as Mambo.

How About Ruby On Rails?-)) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12845107)

Ducks!-))

How about two? (2, Informative)

wolf31o2 (778801) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845195)

Windows: Dreamweaver

Linux: Bluefish

Personally, I'm not one for WYSIWYG editors, but I've heard good things about Dreamweaver, and was impressed with it the once or twice I took it up and used it. The first time I used Bluefish, I fell in love with it. It is a fairly simple interface, and can help you once you start to learn what you're doing, without being braindead and making asinine assumptions for you, which is definitely appreciated.

VI / Emacs only way to go (1)

josh_freeman (114671) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845239)

Really, you can't do web development without one of the two. GUI's will only slow you down in the long run, the code will be crap, and you will spend hours and hours debugging some piddly error introduced by a WYSIWIG editor that threw some crap in because it thought it was a good idea.

Re:VI / Emacs only way to go (1)

Aumaden (598628) | more than 9 years ago | (#12847238)

I half agree with you. I generally use NVu, Emacs and TopStyle Pro [www.bradburysoftware] (running under wine with the help of winetools). A couple of posters have mentioned Bluefish, so that's compiling right now (Gentoo).

Generally, I'll use NVu to rough out a page, then switch to TopStyle to work out how I want the CSS to work, do the bulk of the coding in Emacs, then back to TopStyle to polish up the CSS. So far, I haven't found an equal to TopStyle for CSS. Especially the immediate feedback. NVu's CSS is painfully modal by comparision. I've done CSS in Emacs, but it's a lot more work (Change, save, refresh browser, change, save, refresh). Yuck.

I do have to agree with your comment on WYSIWYG's adding stuff that doesn't belong. NVu seems particularly fond of break tags (<BR>) and non breaking spaces (&nbsp;).

Quanta Plus (2, Insightful)

jregel (39009) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845404)

I have developed a fairly small PHP/MySQL driven site using Quanta under KDE. As an HTML editor it is extremely polished. The ability to publish a project to a website works very well enabling me to synchronise my local copy with the web server.

It doesn't have any problems maintaining source formatting either, and will assist in the generation of XHTML compliant code.

The developers are working on making Quanta Plus a Dreamweaver killer and at the moment, I think it's one of the best Linux applications going.

CMS: Mambo (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845449)

What you need is a CMS! Mambo [mamboserver.com] is very easy to install, easy to learn and does all you need.

My Two Cents (1)

Universal Nerd (579391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845505)

I'm currently using Nvu [nvu.com] and HTML Tidy [sourceforge.net] to build my sites.

I'm tired of using non-standard tags and I'm also tired of making webpages with VI so I've started using Nvu. It's a true WYSIWYG editor but since it's not production-grade yet I run the pages through HTML Tidy to clean up the excessive tags and markups that might get left behind in Nvu.

It has a few nice tools and since it's Gecko-based it renders in Firefox exactly like it does in the editor.

For my javascript and php work I try really hard to use KWrite, it looks just like Notepad++ and is pretty neat, and vi ('cause I'm an CLI old-fart).

UML/VPS recommendations? (1)

dalutong (260603) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845533)

I am looking for an affordable and reliable Virtual Private Server/User Mode Linux host. I am using jvds.com currently, but have found that when I'm abroad their site is slow. Even when I'm in the states it's slow.

Any recommendations?

Thanks!

Frontpage w/ InfoStructure (1)

steveargonman (183377) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845652)

You could use InfoStructure (http://www.mind.net/ [mind.net] and use FrontPage! :)

vim+web dev extensions for firefox (1)

hammeredpeon (572012) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845710)

is probably the best way to ensure standards compliance and get what you really want.

as for hosting, i use www.dailyrazor.net and they're really good. their support is amazing, people will respond to your emails at all hours of the night and on weekends, and they go the extra mile to figure out problems (even if they're not their own - they helped me find a problem with hibernate). my site(s) are all hosted from them, you can see them at www.terrbear.org.

good luck!

AVOID MANAGED.COM (1)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845806)

Whatever you do, no matter what, AVOID MANAGED.COM.

I've never had such downtime, or such aweful support than my couple months using managed.com

Durring my time there, our leased server was down more than up, we got ignored for days on end, and lost all the data we had on the server. No chance ever for backups, since the machien was never up.

If ylou need further proof, google it up. I am not alone in my pain.

Pay someone (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845868)

First off I'm assuming this is for an externally visible business web-site and not some intranet thing or personal site (if it is then ignore this post).

Seriously it's better to pay someone to do this. I'm a developer too and I have even done serious web-site development in the past. It is tempting to do it yourself. However, it's so much easier and nicer just to pay someone else that actually spends a lot of time caring about what a site should look like, using modern design, and testing on all platforms.

Sites done by people like yourself generally are not very good. They're usually not real bad, but not as professional as they could be. It's not that you can't do a great job, it's just that it takes a lot of time to get it right and you have no experience. Your web-site may be the first thing people see concerning your business, it needs to look professional. Modern web-sites are a lot more complex than they used to be, especially when you get into CSS and similar which is the thing to do nowadays.

A couple thousand bucks is probably even cheaper than your time working on it anyway.

money or no? (1)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 9 years ago | (#12845894)

If you're going to be doing web app development you'll want an IDE that supports your chosen technology... like Eclipse [eclipse.org] or something.

If you're doing more or less HTML/JavaScript and some light PHP/JSP/ASP/CF/whatever it depends on how much money you want to spend.

If you don't want to spend any money check these out [sourceforge.net] .

If you want to spend money I recommend Dreamweaver [macromedia.com] if you don't want to know what's going on or HomeSite [macromedia.com] if you do want to know what's going on.

GoLive (1)

ratsg (544275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846124)

I haven't seen anyone mention this one yet, but I have used GoLive on MacOS and MacOS X for several years with good luck.

http://www.adobe.com/products/golive/main.html [adobe.com]

Choices... (2, Informative)

paploo (238300) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846201)

I prefer to write all my CSS and HTML by hand when I can. I always get clean, managable code that does exactly what I want. The only problem is that as a site grows bigger and more complex, some of the commercial offerings help you to manage the intricate connections and automate the link validation for you. It is also nice to have WYSIWYG editing on occasion, usually when I can't remember how to do something I haven't done in awhile.

For straight-up hand editing I use SubEthaEdit, which is a really clever Mac OS X editor. It has a realtime updating web window that uses WebKit, so that you can see the results of your edits.

For general site management, and as a result, for a lot of my editing, I end up using GoLive. This is mostly for historical reasons: I had been using GoLive since long before Adobe bought it. Actually, the first Adobe offering of it was super buggy (never trust the first version of an acquired product, the devs usually don't know what they are doing). The latest versions seem to be stable though.

However, that all being said, most people I know seem to use DreamWeaver. I haven't bothered locating a copy to futz with since way back when, when what was to become GoLive was better, so I can't really say anything on comparisons, but I'd certainly look into DreamWeaver if I were you, since it seems to be the favorite among web devs.

Re:Choices... (1)

acidblue (716452) | more than 9 years ago | (#12847332)

Wow, ya know, I have had SubEthaEdit for about 2 years now, and I never realized that the latest had the WebKit integration. That is freakin' sweet for CSS editing and experimenting.

I wish someone could write a client for Windows so I could collaborate with those people at work. This is such a great tool for pair-programming.

Emacs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12846209)

not XEmacs either, (sorry jwz). The latest Emacs for Linux has a great new sgml-mode that does XHTML. Also I use css-mode and javascript-mode.

nothing beats the new XHTML mode.

If you get the win32 version, get the sgml stuff from the latest version.

Sure it doesn't have tab-completion, but if you still need that, then, well... really...

My opinion (2, Insightful)

SocialEngineer (673690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12846296)

As a person who has been doing web dev contracts for about a year or so now, I would suggest you hand-code all your websites in a simple text editor (w/ code highlighting - in Windows I use Notepad2, in Linux I use Nedit).

I taught a 13 year old how to code websites by hand. We got through basic HTML in a few weeks, and he wasn't having any serious problems. He was able to use tables and organize his layout in a clean and efficient manner - We didn't have time to tackle CSS and standards compliance, but if a 13 year old can hand code websites, surely an adult programmer can hand code standards-compliant websites. It isn't that tough.

My process is simple: Come up with a layout concept in Photoshop, code the layout structure (using HTML 4.01 Strict w/ CSS), extract images from the photoshop concept, and then put in content (CMS-based or otherwise).

There are numerous CMSs out there to ease updating and managing of the template, but it is my belief that in order to get the most efficient and secure CMS, you need to code it specifically for your own needs. The more features you have/greater the complexity, the higher the risk of error/compromise.

(note: To those of you who checked my website using the W3C validator, you will notice it isn't standards-compliant.. I'm overhauling the network right now, so hush :P)

MAMBO! (1)

diamondmagic (877411) | more than 9 years ago | (#12847561)

For an easy-to-use site, you want a content managment system. Hands down, mambo, found at http://www.mamboserver.com/ [mamboserver.com] is the best and most flexable CMS around.
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