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What should I use to web design

Discussion in 'Web Development & Web Hosting' started by michael78, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Hi guys I'm wanting to do a bit of web designing again but haven't done any for about 4-5 years. I know much has changed. What technologies should I be looking into using.

    For example is XHTML taking over from HTML and are things like CSS used a lot as I've read mixed things about using CSS. The other technology I'm looking into is PHP and MYSQL.

    My question in a nutshell is what are the main languages that make up a modern website? I don't want to waste my time using a language that is going out the door.

    Cheers in advance

    Michael
     
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  2. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

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    i think CSS is the main player now...
     
  3. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    First - XHTML is merely a tightening up of HTML. And CSS (used properly) is very definitely 'in'.

    For example, it used to be the norm to use tables just to create a layout. You should be using CSS for that now.

    As to what to use for extensions - it rather depends on what you are trying to do.

    Be warned though that PHP has some security problems, and it is very easy to create an insecure site with it.

    Harry.
     
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  4. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I've reviewed a ton of books on web design (check here to see the most recent and don't forget to click the link at the bottom to see them all) and it seems like the three main browser-side techologies are XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

    On the server-side (if you want people visiting your site to be able to interact with you), PHP and MySQL seem to be the common solutions. A tool I've been looking into lately is XAMPP which goes LAMPP one better and is a snap to install on either Windows or Linux platforms. This throws the Apache web server and Perl into the mix.

    I designed my site using the languages I named in the first paragraph above and wrote it either with BlueFish or a plain text editor (depending on where I was and what tools were available at the time).

    I recommend using the XHTML standard because even though current web browsers will display ordinary HTML, that will be changing as time goes by.

    CSS makes formatting and styling web pages so much easier. You don't have to style each page individually and it saves a huge amount of time. Avoid using tables for anything except displaying tabular data. It is passe' as a formatting method.

    JavaScript has gotten a bad name but I think it's highly underrated. I don't use it extensively, but if I want some simple buttons, a clock, or some other useful features on my site, JavaScript is the way to go.

    I probably answered your question with way more detail than what you had in mind. Hope some of this helped.
     
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  5. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Cheers for the replies so far guys. I'm suprised that PHP is insecure I thought it was the next big thing in web development. I'm basically looking down the line at the moment and want to start to web design for myself at first and then I want to take that further and take over the running and design of the intranet at work but want to really get an idea on areas I should be looking into learning and not waste my time on old design ideas and technologies.
     
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  6. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    PHP has been around for ages. It isn't the only way to connect a back-office system to a web page, but it is one of the most popular.

    The reason for that popularity is that it is comprehensive and powerful. The downside of that power is that it is easy to shoot yourself in the foot if you aren't expert!

    As an example - there is a well known forum system based on PHP called phpBB. You will see it a lot on the 'net. The people behind it are not newbies by any stretch of the imagination, but they are *continualy* having to patch it because of security problems. Because of this forum owners who are more 'net savvy tend not to use it - for example CF and TU use a different set of software. But even CF has been broken into. And TU had to tighten up after some people discovered how to automate registering.

    Harry.
     
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  7. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

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    Lest we forget Flash :eek:
     
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  8. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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  9. zieeeem

    zieeeem New Member

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    AJAX is also worth looking into, some really neat things have been done with it.

    The list could go on and on however, I'm not sure how much web programming your familiar with but if you havn't coded for 4-5 years then maybe a touch-up on XHTML would be a good idea and then start getting some CSS learn't. I feel once your pretty comfortable with thoose two diciplines you can move onto things like PHP/Perl/AJAX or whatever.

    Just my opinion. :)
     
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  10. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Great link. I was going to post the original URL on The Register for this one - you effectively beat me to it!

    Harry.
     
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  11. Dan Ballance

    Dan Ballance Bit Poster

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    hi there,

    i am at the point where my understanding of xhtml and css is now pretty good and i have been learning a little php/mysql coding. most of this i have learnt from installing and customising various open source cms.

    but then i read on the w3 pages that xml/xslt is the future and that i should be using that to generate xhtml pages... hmph... starting to get pretty confused now...

    ...and then i have just taken a trip over to ajax land and been learning about using javascript in a dhtml fashion to reduce traffic between the browser and the server and increase site reaction times (aka google)... but then i don't like the problems with cross platfrom/browser support for client-side scripting languages and the way the various browsers seem unable to implement standards...

    so then i'm back to php for server-side scripting and slow reaction times, especially for complex content like forums and cms...

    ...but then i do like the open source php community and the building blocks they make available for free... i'm not sure i have the time to code a joomla! or phpbb by myself! lol

    does anyone know if there are any open source cms projects that are based around xml/xhtml and w3 specifications? i have been having a terrible time trying to get php-based cms to validate properly, and i'm starting to feel my google rank is lower than it could be if i was using cleaner code that was xhtml strict compliant (but of course i could be wrong)

    heeeeeeeeeeeeelp !!

    so what do i do please..? is there a good bet for the future? is there a win/win solution?

    lots of questions i know, but any advice greatly appreciated, thanks in advance,

    dan :-)
     
  12. Dan Ballance

    Dan Ballance Bit Poster

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    for instance, i just posted this thread into the w3 validator and it failed xhtml 1.0 transitional on 302 accounts, ouch !

    seems to me the php community is in a real mess with xhtml validation...

    ...any thoughts ?

    dan :)
     
  13. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    Personally, I'd use asp.net if i were you, as this seems to be the way most companies tend to be going.

    And the best thing, is that you can get MS Visual Web Developer 2005 Express for free Here
     
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  14. Dan Ballance

    Dan Ballance Bit Poster

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    thanks very much, you the dude ! :biggrin

    i'll give this a look :twisted:
     
  15. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Depends who 'most companies' are. :biggrin

    The main drawback in some eyes is that ASP is somewhat M$ proprietary, so you have to follow if they change direction. The main win for the open-source stuff is that it generaly works across platforms.

    Harry.
     
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  16. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Do ASP and PHP basically do the same type of thing???
     
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  17. michael78

    michael78 Terabyte Poster

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    Fergal, is MS Visual Web used to create .ASP and .NET or is it a program like say Dreamweaver? Probably a stupid question.
     
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  18. Dan Ballance

    Dan Ballance Bit Poster

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    this is true, i love the open source philosophy and community...

    ...i've just started doing some reading about 'ruby on rails'... can anyone tell me any more about what this is and whether it might be worth adopting?

    the main reason i have had my doubts about open source cms and the like (ie joomla, drupal, smf, phpbb etc) is the whole project seems to need re-writting to reach xhtml strict compliance.

    for these reasons, i'm starting to think about developing my own code which i would develop in a re-usable fashion, but this is a big project to undertake and i want to use a technology which is as future proof as possible.

    any further ideas or suggestions greatly appreciated,

    dan :biggrin
     
  19. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

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    its actually a part of the Visual Studio suite, which covers VB, ASP, C# and even J i believe, there are WYSYWYG elements to it, like for placing buttons, but for the most part its coding.
     
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  20. Dan Ballance

    Dan Ballance Bit Poster

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    my current understanding that the asp of the past was very similar to php, in that they were both server-side scripting languages which delivered html code to the browser and were capable of interfacing with databses hosted on the server, but - things seemed to have changed somewhat with asp.net 2.0

    i think, from what i have been reading, that asp.net actually compiles the code into aspx pages and so forth - increasing speed. but this also changes the name of the game somewhat, as far as i can see, in that you become heavily depedent on the m$ suite and its flashy tools and compiler. gone then would be the days of ftping into your server from anywhere with an http or ftp service, downloading a php file and making a quick edit in notepad, when needs must. i assume, that in order to make any kind of edit to your site you would need to be in m$ visual developer and then recompile code - or have i got this wrong? please do correct me someone if i have, cos i'm trying to get my head around this stuff.

    my first gut reaction is to back off. it seems like a typical m$ bloat-ware approach and although i will certainly aquaint myself with asp.net (seeing as there is a free edition), i am now looking at 'ruby on lines' to see if that might suit me better. i'm thinking i might learn more by firing up a linux box again and installing my own apache server...

    what a maze!! ??

    who ever said the IT world was in disarry lol ;-)
     

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