Enhancing a Web Site

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BobH
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Location: Temple - Deep in the Heart of Texas

Enhancing a Web Site

Post by BobH »

About 10 years ago, I sat down and plowed through a number of sources on web page design and HTML/CSS/PHP. The result was the creation of a web page. The problem with the page was that it was not interactive, eg, users could not enter data except in the forum that was included. Users could join the forum and they could submit photos to the gallery, but these were not very user friendly. It got so little use that I shut it down.

I would like to revisit the issue of my design. I would like to create a database of names and addresses and allow the users whose information that is in it to update it. I will probably add other bits of data for user maintenance as well. I will impose several controls on the process including passwords and email notification of changes. The problem is that - at this point - I don't know enough about databases and certainly not enough about tying them to web page forms and entries to do this.

The web page is for my high school classmates. I think I can control who accesses the page for any purpose other than viewing the information by using class lists, registration, passwords, and email feedback. It will not be a huge web page and it will not have a lot of traffic. I do want to make it user friendly. I am aware that there are templates available for this sort of page, but I prefer to do it myself in order to learn as much as I can and because I want to control content, access, presentation, security, updates, etc. I plan to use SSL. I already have a domain name and a server host set up.

If I'm successful with this, I plan to create another web page for my rather large - and growing list - of relatives. My design concept at the moment is to start it for the descendants of my parents to include family history. If that works OK, I will open the page up for those who share a common ancestry with our first colonial ancestor who came to Virginia in 1634. That will open it up to a rather larger population.

One thing I would like to do this time around, is to build a test bed on my computer so that I could actually host it much like my web server host will in order to test it thoroughly before making changes to the 'live' page. I'm guessing that I will need to set up some kind of web server on my local system and set up a means to access it, but I have no idea.

I would very much appreciate any pointers on how to tie a database into my web page design. I have no knowledge or expertise in this area. I have NO IDEA what tools are available mush less which would be best for my use. I will enjoy the hunt for new skills; so please suggest books, online articles, web pages, tutorials, and any other resources you have found useful.

TIA
:cheers: :chocciebar: :thankyou:
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stuck
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Location: up North (but it's not that grim)

Re: Enhancing a Web Site

Post by stuck »

BobH wrote:I am aware that there are templates available for this sort of page...I already have a domain name and a server host set up...
A laudable aim but one of the most important lessons I learnt a very long time ago about solving problems is to not reinvent the wheel. If someone else has a solution, use it :grin:

To that end consider hosting your own Wordpress site. It's easy to set up and all the difficult stuff like password control / access rights etc. are done for you, leaving you to get on with ensuring the content is presented the way you want it. There are loads and loads of Wordpress resources out there so it's a reasonable assumption that there must be something already available that meets your needs.

In the recent past I've tinkered with a gallery system called Zenphoto, which (apparently, I've not tried) can be integrated with Wordpress.

Then there are services like FreeFourms, where you can create your own Lounge (Freefourms.org uses the same phpBB software as Eileens Lounge). I tinkered with that one a while back and set up a forum where my boys and I could talk to each other. No my wife did not understand as everyone was still living at home when we did this :laugh:

Finally and at the risk of shocking you to the core, there is always Facebook :flee: In that environment you can create a group that is NOT open to the public.

Just my :2cents:

Ken

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Rudi
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Joined: 17 Mar 2010, 17:33
Location: Cape Town

Re: Enhancing a Web Site

Post by Rudi »

Hi Bob,

I agree with Stuck on many of his points, however, if you have a blank web page in front of you and you just prefer to use your own creative skills to put something together without having to wade through 100's of pre-designed templates that others have put together....then try Weebly, (see Weebly wikipedia here). It provides you the necessary "tools" or content elements (like text, photos, maps, and videos) can be added to your website by simply dragging & dropping them into place. Text is edited just like in a word processor. Building your website is done in real time, right from within your web browser. There's absolutely nothing to install and no upgrades to worry about.)

I have never used it myself, but it seems pretty simple and allows you to set up a webpage according to your own custom design, needs, wants, etc without being tied down to a pre-setup template as is offered in Blog sites etc...

Cheers
Regards,
Rudi

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