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Old 02-10-2019, 09:29 PM   #1
groucho
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Default Web site tools?

I haven't built a web site in ages, but a nonprofit that I work with is desparate for help. Not planning or wanting to use every possible glitzy feature, just robust code that won't complain about browsers, and will be ADA compliant, etc., as much as practical. And interrogate devices, to post pages formatted for tablets & smartphones.


It has been a long time since hand coding or Pagemill (!) and while I want to run link-checkers and make maintenance easy, I'd actually rather not even use CSS but simply code pages simply and run an SNR across them if I want global changes.


Feasible? Or fossil?


Recommendations for software (budget!) and a good book to get started?

Last edited by groucho; 02-10-2019 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:41 AM   #2
Steve Rindsberg
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CSS can be a bit of a learning curve, and I'm FAR from really knowing what I'm doing with it, but I'd still suggest using CSS. Editing one little file can make massive changes across an entire site, and once it's set up right, it makes it way simpler to code your site consistently across multiple pages. There. My tuppence.

TopStyle is no longer under development since 2016. but is a nice tool, and inexpensive.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TopStyle
https://www.htmlvalidator.com/topstyle/

   
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:49 AM   #3
Bo Aakerstrom
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"...I'd actually rather not even use CSS..."

So, you want a website that looks like it was "designed" at the very beginning of the world wide web? Not really good for usability.

CSS is not a part of the code, but rather a document (preferably an external one) that enables styling a HTML document. Which means you can still write simple code.

Using @media-queries in CSS enables you to serve the same pages to all devices, formatted appropriately for big and small screens alike.

Some styling is useful for assisting visitors in finding and reading the information on the site.

I'm not at home right now, so I can find you some useful resources and post these later.

If they have hosting that allows them to use databases you could take a look at Concrete 5. A simple and useful CMS alternative to WordPress.

   
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:48 AM   #4
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Bo-
I don't want a 1990 web site, but what I would be managing is not a very fancy site. No animated texts dancing around, no embedded videos, no ordering and shipping and scripts to figure out the complications of all that.
I very fully understand the purpose for CSS. Having a master file is no different from the way that I used printer files or keyboard files or other "master" files back when XyWrite was the way to set type without a spare hundred thousand in typesetting equipment.
But I don't WANT TO use CSS, because I already know that I can write one set of master pages, and then use them as boilerplate. And I have, previously, maintained a site that was hundreds of pages deep, by simply running a search-n-replace tool across the site to tell it "Find all Helvetica, make it Zapf Chancery" "Find all blue text, make it navy" whatever I wanted to do. Does it take a moment longer than modifying a CSS master? Sure. It also ensures that every page can stand alone without dependencies to other pages, which can make them easier to read (at code level) and more robust.
There's a method to the madness.

I don't see any need for databases, the pages are mainly informational. And I'm used to hearing of WordPress as mainly a blogging site. Are you saying their tools can be used anywhere? I'm not building from scratch, I'm looking at maintaining and updating what is, where it is.

Steve-
As mentioned, I understand the purpose of CSS and other "master" dependencies. Hey, remember what fun PostScript coding was, when pages were NOT totally standalone, and there could be "stuff" that was reaching out and touching every page in a file?
If I need CSS, I'll get into it. If I don't (and I really don't expect to) then I'll stick to careful hand-crafting, and stay dumb and happy(er). (G)
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:22 PM   #5
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If you are happy to work the way you do, that's fine, but I must admit I am a little befuddled (although it doesn't take much to cause that to happen at times).

Just a note: CSS is not a master file, in the case of an external CSS file it simply removes all the code relating to how a web page looks from the HTML code and places it in a separate document, which all pages that reference are styled by. As a by product it makes the HTML code much easier to read and edit and you can still code your boilerplate HTML.

Out of curiosity, if you are not using CSS, how are you styling your pages? As in telling your site to change colour on text for instance.

As regards WordPress: I'm not a big fan as such (that's why I made the suggestion I made), but it is widely used for all kinds of websites from simple personal to complex commercial ones.

If you are editing existing code perhaps all you need is a text editor, in which case Atom or Microsoft Visual Studio Code (not to be confused with Microsoft Visual Studio - an entirely different beast) could be a good fit.

I use Atom for most things webby, there are a plethora of plugins that makes life easier.

   
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:32 PM   #6
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"CSS is not a master file,"
It is, in the sense that we would use that term here in the States. It sets master parameters that other pages fetch--and conform to. The other pages are "slaves" obeying the master instructions. Configuration file, INI file, different names in different applications but it is still the "master" that is setting the styles that (literally) cascade down from it.
If I wanted blue text, I'd use a color call and set the color to blue or red, whatever. If I'm working from boilerplate or with style sheets, it isn't hard to just have that inserted on the page and drop new text next to it. HTML, after all, is just tagged text--the same as WordPerfect 4.2 files, in essence. Could be, because I was used to manually tagging all the text for Atex on Linotype systems, that I'm just used to manually inserting the calls for point size, leading, oblique...whatever attributes I want.
Again--this is just maintenance for a small site. The mainly need things like having a calender of events updated, and to do that I only need to type over the old events, replacing them with the new ones without affecting whatever tags my be attached. Yes, I have ASCII/hex/text editors still around that can do that.
I once caused a roomful of mainframe techs to scurry back to a corner and cross themselves when I forced an old HP laser printer to do what I told it to do--by using EDLIN at the DOS level. But, it did the job.

Once upon a time, we had to imagine "This line will be Baskerville Bold 48 on 52, and the next line will be..." and either use the X-Acto knife or send out for new type (and lose 24 hours) if we got it wrong. HTML? Coding? Nah. I'm not planning to maintain a Boeing Dreamliner illustrated repair manual, just a dozen pages of fairly static information.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:10 PM   #7
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>> because I already know that I can write one set of master pages

You might want to take a look at the program I wrote and use to maintain most of my sites. It was originally meant to create and maintain FAQ sites, so it starts with a template (master page, if you will) for the main index page, and another template for the "Answer" pages. The program itself generates very little HTML; instead it substitutes content (from external files that it can edit or that you can create with a text editor) into "placeholders" in the templates. The templates can be pretty much anything you like; just HTML that the program pours answers into. The templates can include inline CSS, refer to external CSS or use anything else that HTML permits to handle the styling.

Quick description here:
http://www.rdpslides.com/friday/index.html

Tutorial here:
http://www.rdpslides.com/friday/tutorial/

The free demo will create up to, IIRC, 25 pages. If interested ping me on my first name at-inna-circle my first name my last name all run together dot com. I'll hook you up with a more recent version than is available on the site.

   
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:46 AM   #8
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Thanks, Steve. I will be following up--slowly.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by groucho View Post
Thanks, Steve. I will be following up--slowly.
;-)

   
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