Any good web development tools?

From Visual Basic to GNU C, this is the place to talk programming.

Moderators: SecretSquirrel, just brew it!

Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:29 am

Hello, I'm in a tough spot...

I am a video game dev, and the only programmer. We have a 2 year old website that badly needs updating since we just entered open alpha testing.

www.jollygrim.com

I currently have my hands tied just adding features to the game, I don't really want to spend time on this. I probably have to, so I want to spend as little time as possible.

The website is written using dreamweaver, and hosted on godaddy economy hosting.

I can't seem to get the dreamweaver project to work for me, and trying to learn this program is daunting. I do have some experience with CSS and html...

Part of the problem is that most of the website is written in php and I have no idea how to edit that. I suspect stuff might be stored in a sql server or something.

I'm looking to start from scratch, what program would you suggest to give me streamlined website creation. Ideally drag-and-drop action, with minimum hand coding.

I only need static html pages for the most part, with plugins from other websites as well (probably javascript i guess).

Lastly, I would like to optimize the loading of the page since it obviously doesn't load very elegantly. Someone accused godaddy of the problem, but it may be the coding or the image formats.

Thanks a bunch for any help! Meanwhile, I am reconstructing the website minus the php using the final source code... fun!
ShadowTiger
Gerbil First Class
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Sun Aug 21, 2011 6:51 am

Don't anything develop from scratch, it's a tremendous waste of time (and a security vulnerability). Use a well-regarded CMS like Drupal or Django or whatever (check what your hosting provider supports) and use its tools to add static webpages, forums etc. I'm mostly familiar with drupal here, which is excellent. It offers hundreds of themes on its site, as well as modules for every conceivable feature (from OpenID login to captchas etc).

One word of advice: as long as you don't have a dedicated webmaster, don't go overboard with customization or web development. It will eat up tons of your time that you should dedicate to your core product and will make security upgrades much more difficult to perform (speaking from personal experience). The closer you are to a vanilla install, the easier it will be to upgrade when the time comes (and it will come when you least expect it).

Finally, whatever CMS you install, make sure you subscribe to its release RSS. You don't want to fall back on security releases, ever.
BlackStar
Gerbil
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 3:38 am

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:31 pm

Thank you for the tip... *sigh*
ShadowTiger
Gerbil First Class
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:14 pm

I understand that you would like a different answer, but since you're a game programmer, consider that the equivalent of your question is: "I have a program here in C++ that I can't make heads or tails of, I downloaded Visual Studio but not getting anywhere, are there any easier alternatives to making my game" :). If Dreamweaver is too daunting then you should heed BlackStar's advice, and get Joomla/Django/whatever, find an nice theme and plugins, and go to town.

It's not that we couldn't guide you through it and learning some HTML/CSS, it's just that by the way you described it, you have a "fire-and-forget" task. You'd like to have it set up with minimal pain and attention, so a prepackaged thing should work out better for you.
There is a fixed amount of intelligence on the planet, and the population keeps growing :(
morphine
Gerbil Khan
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 9988
Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2002 8:51 pm
Location: Portugal (that's next to Spain)

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:39 pm

ShadowTiger, I do this professionally. Here's my advice, in two parts. First is Best Results, because you want to sell your product and marketing is the way to get you there. Second is Do-It-Yourself.

First: For best results, hire a consultant to do it for you. Doesn't have to be expensive, and if they are worth their salt they will at least do the following (although some of the stuff is very easy to do yourself):

- Make it look decently awesome. It's for a game, so it needs to look AWESOME.
- Make it SEO friendly, so people can find it quick in search engines. The consultant should also do a basic keyword analysis for you to help rank better.
- Make it Socially Connected - The consultant should also help set up Facebook pages, a Twitter account, and others depending on where your likely customers are.
- Make it with a Content Management System (CMS) that YOU can use. Most importantly the consultant should provide you with a reasonable walkthrough of any customizations he/she may have made, as well as walk you through the basic workflow of the CMS.
- Connect it with Multimedia - Link the CMS with Flickr and YouTube accounts to get your game demos & screenshots more accessible to your users, and most importantly so you don't have to host those types of files yourself. YouTube and Flickr obviously have sophisticated content delivery networks that will make your content accessible worldwide very quickly - at no charge.
- Host it cheap. The website is a brochure, not the game itself, so your traffic is likely to be low. Unless it really is that awesome :)

The Do-It-Yourself approach:

First you'll need to find a host. Don't host it yourself - that's too many extra things to have to learn to set up / maintain. You can find decent hosts for as little as $6 / month that will handle everything you need. Make sure the host supports PHP and MySQL, as you will need those for your CMS. Some recommended hosts are: MediaTemple, BlueHost... anyone else feel free to chime in. I personally use and prefer MediaTemple but there's plenty out there that works fine.

Absolutely use a Content Management System (CMS). My recommendations are either WordPress or Drupal. Both are excellent and equally extensible. I would recommend trying WordPress first because its management interface is a bit more intuitive, especially for new users.

Installing the CMS is fairly simple - many web hosts have a "one-click" install that makes it really easy. Once the CMS is installed, try it out - learn the ropes and things you can do. Then start looking at theming and plugins. You will need plugins for things like Google Analytics, Social Buttons (Facebook Like, Share, etc.), and some video / image support such as YouTube and Flickr.

The key with Themes is finding the template you'd like to start with (that you think looks closest to what you want the final site or at least layout to be), and then customize it from there. Wordpress offers the ability to modify your theme files (HTML, CSS, and PHP) directly from the admin side. Wordpress also has a fantastic guide with easy-to-understand documentation and API. Drupal likewise makes theming easy, but takes a slightly different approach with the installation etc.

Either way, the DIY approach I suggest should hopefully minimize - even potentially eliminate - any coding you might need to do, assuming you find the 'perfect' theme.

Hope this helps.

P.S. By the way, BlackStar & Morphine - Django is a framework, not a CMS. Django is to Python as Rails is to Ruby. CakePHP is a framework too, written on PHP. You could easily build a CMS on Django, much easier than writing one yourself in Python.
JdL
286DX > Pentium Pro 200 > Athlon 1000 @ 1.4 GHz > Athlon 64 2.2 GHz > Athlon XP 3200+ > Core 2 Duo 3300 @ 4.0 GHz > Core 2 Quad 6600 G0 @ 3.2 > Core i7 3770 @ stock
JdL
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 999
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2002 11:45 am
Location: United States of America

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:41 pm

Very good suggestions here, but if you just want something quick check out wix.com. I was impressed with their offerings and ease of use. Good luck!
ryko
Gerbil Team Leader
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: new york

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:54 am

DW is a WYSIWYG editor, but by glancing at the code, the original author didn't use DW the way you think they used it. It was probably used strictly as an editor (code, not split or design). If you feel confident in your abilities and want to start from scratch (greater customization, don't need to learn another system, I expect), then get Firefox + the Firebug addon. Use this tool to inspect the DOM elements in your original website and go from there. Keep things simple and build up. If you're planning to use features like DnD or ajax calls, use a JS library like JQuery because they are cross-browser compliant and well thought out.
halfline
Gerbil
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 5:15 pm

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:56 am

JdL wrote:Absolutely use a Content Management System (CMS). My recommendations are either WordPress or Drupal. Both are excellent and equally extensible. I would recommend trying WordPress first because its management interface is a bit more intuitive, especially for new users.

And what is your opposition towards Joomla? or mojoPortal?

Also what about "paid" CMS options like SiteFinity, Kentico CMS?
thegleek
Darth Gerbil
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 7367
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 11:06 am
Location: Detroit, MI

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:27 am

thegleek wrote:
JdL wrote:Absolutely use a Content Management System (CMS). My recommendations are either WordPress or Drupal. Both are excellent and equally extensible. I would recommend trying WordPress first because its management interface is a bit more intuitive, especially for new users.

And what is your opposition towards Joomla? or mojoPortal?

Also what about "paid" CMS options like SiteFinity, Kentico CMS?


Where, in my post, did I say that I was "opposed" to anything?? I said I PREFER / RECOMMEND said systems because out of most of the available systems out there, WordPress and Drupal:

- Are easy to theme & customize, with thorough and up-to-date documentation
- Have the largest, most robust plugin / mod development communities, with many plugins having entire teams devoted to developing and maintaining them.
- Scale the best. Wordpress and Drupal are both used in some of the top publishing sites in the world, and have had significant development gone into making them scale.
- Have some of the most intuitive, easy-to-use interfaces while still giving full "technical" control of the site

Paid services (and by the way I would prefer http://expressionengine.com/ above most others) are just another CMS, only instead of supporting / patching / maintaining etc. yourself, you're letting somebody else do it.

At the end of the day, you have to choose what's best for you. If you try something else out and like it better and you feel it meets your needs, go for it.
JdL
286DX > Pentium Pro 200 > Athlon 1000 @ 1.4 GHz > Athlon 64 2.2 GHz > Athlon XP 3200+ > Core 2 Duo 3300 @ 4.0 GHz > Core 2 Quad 6600 G0 @ 3.2 > Core i7 3770 @ stock
JdL
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 999
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2002 11:45 am
Location: United States of America

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:57 am

ShadowTiger, ignore all that. Just go here.
Laptop: HP Pavilion 17-e016dx. AMD A8-5550M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 8550G integrated video, 17.3" display, 1600*900 (HD+) resolution, SD card reader, Windows 8.1 (DL Classic Shell)
riviera74
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 864
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:14 am
Location: FM, FL, USA

Re: Any good web development tools?

Postposted on Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:21 pm

I wanted to check back in now that my new website is up.

Its super simple html and css. We exported from photoshop and then I went in and connected all of the images to links.

Theres a few cross-browser compatibility issues, but whose fault is that really? LOL

Thanks for your advice!
ShadowTiger
Gerbil First Class
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 2:39 pm


Return to Developer's Den

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests