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  1. Driving traffic to site by having content on site    Forum: Website Promotion Forum
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  1. #1
    cath120's Avatar
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    Which technologies for optimum site?

    Hi Webbies

    I know some HTML and a little Flash and CSS and have put together a simple site www.davidhurn.co.uk using Dreamweaver. But now I'm confused as to what technologies are the most helpful for the optimum website.

    If you look at Warren Prasek's portfolio on http://www.wprasek.com/web_design/index.htm you will see that for most of his sites he has used DHTML/CSS/FLASH/ASP//PHP. I don't know if any are all Flash sites but if they are doesn't that mean they won't have optimum search engine capacity? On one of his earlier sites 'Pure Mystic' he outlines the technologies used: HTML-4 table layout with CSS formatting and DHTML elements. Flash 5 and MX interactive applications. PHP/MySQL backend integration for seach results.

    So my question is: What technologies as a fledgling website designer/developer should I conctrate on learning and in what order, to enable myself to put together the optimum, in appearance and capacity, website? (Eg: PHP, ASP, Javascript, Flash, CSS, etc)

    Regards

    Catherine

  2. #2
    vinyl-junkie's Avatar
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    Re: Which technologies for optimum site?

    I guess your site must be down or something, because I wasn't able to see it.

    Here are my thoughts in no particular order or importance. At the very minimum, you should know HTML and CSS. In particular, you should know how to style your web pages so that the content (HTML) is separated from presentation (CSS). From there, it all depends on the type of content your site has as to which other technologies you might want to use or learn.

    For example, if you have a navigation menu structure that isn't too big but you need two or three menu levels, you might want to use DHTML to code it. On the other hand, if you have a large and complicated menu, you might want to code it using a server side language such as PHP and have a "bread crumbs" style of menu, along with a database. These forums have that kind of navigation menu.

    Another thing to consider is whether you have a lot of dynamic content on your site or whether it's mostly static pages. Dynamic content is best managed with a server side language like PHP or ASP.NET and a database. Static pages work well with just plain old HTML.

    Each technology you might consider is good for a particular type of task. Decide what kind of content you site will have, then choose the tools that will best help you develop and maintain it.
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    cath120's Avatar
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    Re: Which technologies for optimum site?

    Hi vinyl-junkie - Thank you for your excellent advice. Could I just ask you to clarify what you mean by 'bread crumbs menu' though I know you've already given these forums as an example?
    Best regards - Catherine

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    cath120's Avatar
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    Re: Which technologies for optimum site?

    Also had another reply saying:
    DHTML & CSS-They go hand-in-hand really. Try to put as much of the "styling" code into a separate CSS document so you can update that once and the entire site will instantly reflect your changes. Great for keeping things standardized and consistent.
    FLASH - Flash is great for some things like animation, ads, "widgets" with advanced functionality & interaction etc, but do NOT make your entire site in Flash. Just insert flash elements as necessary - it's stil not very search engine friendly and if not carefully designed, the filesize can balloon very quickly. Not everyone is on super-fast broadband yet. -Plus don't get lazy with your usability design (ease of navigation and legibility of content etc). Lots of flash designers make that mistake, throwing in every fancy visual effect they can, at the expense of the end user experience. No matter how impressive the graphics & animation are, visitors won't bother if it takes too long to load, or they have to sit through time-consuming animations and transitions, or the menu/navigation system is hard to use. - You can start out with some basic actionscript (Flash's internal code language) which is very similar to Javascript in many ways, so this is good practice for your next task...
    JAVASCRIPT-Takes more time to learn, as it's closer to programming and you can have bugs in your code which stop everything from working, and can take a while to identify and fix. Start with really basic functions and try to understand how the standard dreamweaver functions work. Try modifying them a bit to see the effect it has. Then gradually you can start putting in your own little bits of code. - The most important rule is KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. Break code down into little sub-functions and keep it modular so it's easy to fix/amend later on. Plus it's essential to comment your code thoroughly so anyone else can figure out how it all works.
    PHP- After all that you might look at PHP. This is again a lot like Javascript, but it's much more work to make a page - to start with - though very powerful on bigger sites, to dynamically provide information and change all pages on a site in one go.
    Then MYSQL if you feel up to it.
    Last edited by cath120; 03-20-2007 at 09:07 PM.

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    cath120's Avatar
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    Re: Which technologies for optimum site?

    And also:
    With your site's incomplete doctype, table layout and multiple errors (http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=ht...dhurn.co.uk%2F), I would suggest that before you get into fancy technologies, learn current html coding practices and css. Followed that you can look at Javascript and php.

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    Re: Which technologies for optimum site?

    And also:
    IE is the least standards compliant browser and should be the last one you test in. Test your page in standard compliant browsers such as Firefox, Opera, and Safari first and then patch it for IE7 and IE6 if necessary.

    Write semantic HTML and set out the layout and appearance for various media using stylesheets (CSS). Once you understand that properly then move on to Javascript and once you have a proper understanding of that then look at PHP and/or Flash. Both PHP and Actionscript (used by Flash) are similar enough to Javascript that your understanding of Javascript will help you learn the others.

    Approximately 8 - 10% of web site visitors will be using a browser that either doesn't have Javascript or where they have deliberately turned it off. As Flash requires that they install a plug-in the percentage of visitors without Flash is probably much higher.

  7. #7
    vinyl-junkie's Avatar
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    Re: Which technologies for optimum site?

    Sounds like you got a lot of good advice from a variety of sources. Thanks for sharing those responses with us.

    To answer your question about what a breadcrumbs navigation menu is, this is a menu with a marked path to help you understand where you are within the site and how to get back to where you came from. For example, the end of the navigation trail for this thread is the thread itself, which is marked by its subject line, "Which technologies for optimum site?" One level higher in the navigation menu is General Discussion, the name of the forum this thread is found in. The other two menu levels it shows are Webmasters Lounge and Webmaster Forums. Another forum thread from somewhere else might show a completely different path. The complete path is marked at the top of the screen:

    Webmaster Forums > Webmasters Lounge > General Discussion > Which technologies for optimum site?

    Just an FYI - A breadcrumbs navigation menu is named after the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, about two children who used bread crumbs to mark their path through a forest so they could find their way home.
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    cath120's Avatar
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    Re: Which technologies for optimum site?

    Thank you vynul junkie. CC



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