Websites

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theresalwaysanother
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Websites

Postby theresalwaysanother » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

Hey, I probably will sound like a complete n00b, but I'll ask anyway.
How do I set up my own website? And what do I need? And generally, help?
I do have a tiny, teensy weensy bit of HTML/Javascript knowledge, so want to make my own pages etc. I also want to use it to learn PHP etc.
But yeah, I'm really lost when it comes to knowing what I need to buy etc, so please someone take pity on me...

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Xanthir
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Re: Websites

Postby Xanthir » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:20 am UTC

First, you need a host.

You can go buy hosting from someone else, or you can host your site yourself. Buying hosting is easy and fairly cheap, and there are a number of reliable, trustworthy companies (I've heard good things about Dreamhost). There are also a *ton* of scuzzy worthless companies, so be careful and look for reviews before you buy.

Hosting yourself is pretty easy. You'll want to install Apache. There are plenty of good tutorials on the web about this, just google for it. As long as your computer is on and connected to the internet and the Apache server is turned on (installation will typically put it in your startup list), people will be able to get to your website.

Now, you have to make some content. Having 'a bit' of HTML knowledge is actually a bad thing. ^_^ Teach yourself properly - I like HTMLDog. You have to learn and internalize just what HTML is used for (imposing structure and semantics on your content) and what is is NOT used for (imposing style and appearance on your content). The latter task is taken up by a language called CSS, which you can also learn from HTMLDog.

HTML is oh-so-simple, seriously. There's nothing to it. The only thing that requires a bit of practice is learning to recognize the semantics in your content so you can give it the proper tags. For example, virtually *all* navigation lists are just that - LISTS. So, pop the links into a <ul> element. CSS can take care of making it look right. If you *ever* find yourself trying to use a table for presenting something other than tabular data, kick yourself in the face and do it right. Table-based designs went out of style in '03 or so (when ie started actually supporting CSS to some degree), but you still see unskilled designers rocking them like it's 1997. Coding your html *properly* will make your site easier to write and maintain, easier for search engines to understand (and thus rank better), and easier for disabled people to access your site (with technology such as screen readers). Most of the internet is HORRIFYING when viewed through a screen reader, because so many sites are just tables nested within tables nested within tables. The readers can't parse what the content *means*, so they can't help the person listening to them. Don't care about blind people? Yes you do! Always remember, your most important blind reader is the Googlebot.

CSS is a good bit more complicated, but you learn it in pieces as you need it. If you can get a good grasp of how the position and float properties work, you understand the most difficult part of CSS.

Finally, *always* design your site in a standards-compliant browser first. Firefox is generally the best - it has the fewest rendering bugs of any browser on the market. After you get your site looking how you like, you can then apply tweaks to make IE treat it correctly. Believe me, this is *far* easier than doing it the other way round and catering to ie's bugs first. Whatever you do, don't use CSS hacks - conditional comments (google them) are a much better, safer, and more easily maintainable way to deliver special CSS rules just to IE. Again, there are *lots* of bad designers on the web who dont' know how this works.
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akashra
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Re: Websites

Postby akashra » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:48 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:Firefox is generally the best - it has the fewest rendering bugs of any browser on the market.

People say this, but "fewest" doesn't necessarily mean "most minor".

Firefox (well really the W3C) has this BS definition of how the 'padding' property affects the CSS box model. Sadly this means any box element you design will be sized in a way you don't truly intend. Microsoft got this one right, no matter what the 'standards' say.

As far as hosting goes, I don't recommend doing it yourself. Just pay someone else to handle it, it's not worth the headache. Only thing I can say is make sure you keep regular backups. Anyone who's had a site hosted long enough will have a story of a web host just disappearing off the face of the planet, be it for a few hours or permanently.
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Dropzone
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Re: Websites

Postby Dropzone » Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:26 am UTC

akashra wrote:
Xanthir wrote:Firefox is generally the best - it has the fewest rendering bugs of any browser on the market.

People say this, but "fewest" doesn't necessarily mean "most minor".

Firefox (well really the W3C) has this BS definition of how the 'padding' property affects the CSS box model. [...]

Not to mention its complete failure to implement "display: inline-block;" - it seems that Opera's currently the only major browser whose stable version implements that correctly. It's implemented in Firefox 3, but that's still in beta; IE 7 doesn't implement it, but you can work around that because its implementation of "inline" seems to behave like "inline-block" is supposed to behave... don't you just love web page coding? Oh, and of course I recently ran across a bizarre positioning bug in Firefox that doesn't exist in either of the other two major browsers... :x

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Re: Websites

Postby EvanED » Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:52 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:Hosting yourself is pretty easy.

... if you have a static IP or can work around not having one, and you aren't behind a NAT or firewall you can't control, and you don't mind very possibly violating the TOS of your ISP, and don't mind making your computer a bigger target for hackers, and, if you want a domain name, know how to register one and point it at your IP.

Edit: and, if your site gets popular, don't mind it eating up bandwidth, processor time, disk accesses, and memory from your computer. And don't mind leaving it on 24/7 if you actually want it accessible that much. And don't mind it going away if there's a power outage.

Firefox is generally the best - it has the fewest rendering bugs of any browser on the market.

My impression was that distinction probably belongs more to Opera.
Last edited by EvanED on Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:14 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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b.i.o
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Re: Websites

Postby b.i.o » Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:00 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:Hosting yourself is pretty easy.


And almost certain to violate the ToS of your ISP if you're not on a commercial connection...

theresalwaysanother
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Re: Websites

Postby theresalwaysanother » Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:06 am UTC

Well, I do want to code the pages myself, so I'm guessing that requires hosting it myself, right?
But getting the domain name, and some form of hosting - thats it? Anything else I need?

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Re: Websites

Postby EvanED » Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:13 am UTC

theresalwaysanother wrote:Well, I do want to code the pages myself, so I'm guessing that requires hosting it myself, right?

Nope. You'd be able to upload it to your host.

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Amnesiasoft
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Re: Websites

Postby Amnesiasoft » Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:21 am UTC

Since you will probably want to pay someone to host it, Dreamhost has been recommended, but I found 1&1 is a pretty good host too.

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pieaholicx
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Re: Websites

Postby pieaholicx » Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:07 pm UTC

akashra wrote:Firefox (well really the W3C) has this BS definition of how the 'padding' property affects the CSS box model. Sadly this means any box element you design will be sized in a way you don't truly intend. Microsoft got this one right, no matter what the 'standards' say.

Wait a minute here, are you saying that the W3C is wrong in their definition, and that everybody should conform to Microsoft's standard (which, by the way, they're a W3C member), even if they're not using any Microsoft technology? I mean sure, there are some bugs in FF, but there are also large ones in IE too, so saying it's "better" for having different problems isn't exactly smart.
Let's take any continuation of this to Religious Wars, please. The OP needs basic info on creating a website.

As for hosts, MediaTemple can be a bit pricey, but they're an excellent host. For something cheap, I recommend WebHostingBuzz. They're cheap, and well, you kind of feel it, but for somebody who's just starting it's good.

Don't write in red.
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Xanthir
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Re: Websites

Postby Xanthir » Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:01 am UTC

EvanED wrote:
Firefox is generally the best - it has the fewest rendering bugs of any browser on the market.

My impression was that distinction probably belongs more to Opera.

Hmm. I apologize. My statement was informed by the list at Position Is Everything. It has several more bugs for Opera than FF. However, I note that the Opera Bug listed was in version 7, whereas Opera's current stable release is 9.26.

So, I take that back. As a minor point in my defense, however, the things that FF2 lacks are *also* generally lacked by IE as well, so at least you won't go too wrong trying to base parts of your design on the inline-block display property, frex. In essence, it does everything that IE does, except correctly (and a little bit more). Opera will lead your web design astray by making you want to adopt code that less than 2% of the browsing public can benefit from. ^_^ Forward the revolution, though!

I would be happy to take this discussion to Religious Wars, though, along with discussion on the box-model properties (which are indeed controversial and up for discussion, which is why I'm currently in the process of joining the CSS3 working group).

theresalwaysanother wrote:Well, I do want to code the pages myself, so I'm guessing that requires hosting it myself, right?
But getting the domain name, and some form of hosting - thats it? Anything else I need?

As EvanED said, you code your own pages no matter what (or use an editting tool, but that's cheating and makes you a horrible, horrible person). Whether you own the box the pages are hosted on or not is irrelevant for that point.

I personally found it very enlightening when I finally realized just what webpages *were*. When I type in a web address, I'm sending a *function call* to the webserver, which does some computation and then shoots back a result at me (which my browser then parses and displays). An html document is a static function. You define it, and it just runs through its predefined computation and displays a page. CGI scripts are more dynamic functions from a more powerful language (take your pick...). They can construct more complex, dynamic results.

This sort of thing is what makes it make *sense* for you to, say, call a .php script as the src of an image. The php script can *select* what image to return, or even construct it on the fly, and then just stream the data in appropriately when your browser asks for it. Or you could just have an image, in which case the webserver simply streams the image data at you. A jpeg file is essentially the same thing as the php script, it just doesn't have any variables or control flow - it always returns a predefined result when the webserver runs it.
Last edited by Hammer on Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:07 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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pieaholicx
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Re: Websites

Postby pieaholicx » Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:49 am UTC

pieaholicx wrote:Don't write in red.
TheTankengine

What? I didn't write anything in red. :?
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Xanthir
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Re: Websites

Postby Xanthir » Sat Feb 23, 2008 4:55 am UTC

You could do with the reminder. ^_^
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Re: Websites

Postby tendays » Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:59 pm UTC

pieaholicx wrote:
pieaholicx wrote:Don't write in red.
TheTankengine

What? I didn't write anything in red. :?

My guess is that a mod wrote that religious war thing with the red modpen in your post, but then Tank thought it was you who did that, made it black and put that warning...
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Re: Websites

Postby Hammer » Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:13 am UTC

tendays wrote:My guess is that a mod wrote that religious war thing with the red modpen in your post, but then Tank thought it was you who did that, made it black and put that warning...

Yeah, that was my red pen, TankEngine. :)
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Re: Websites

Postby enk » Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:29 am UTC

Yeah Tank, this isn't even your modding grounds! :P
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e946
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Re: Websites

Postby e946 » Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:37 am UTC

What's the site for?

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b.i.o
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Re: Websites

Postby b.i.o » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:41 am UTC

enk wrote:Yeah Tank, this isn't even your modding grounds! :P


Tank is a Prelate...the whole fora is his modding grounds.


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