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Friday, 20 March 2009 17:12

How to design a website

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There are many ways to do it but the best ways are as follows.

If you have XP Pro or Vista Business or Premium Version then you can develop right on your home PC.
If IIS is not installed go to Control Panel / Add Remove Programs / Windows Programs and Check IIS to install.

IIS is a Windows Web Server and it comes with some versions of Windows.
This is not the full version that Web Servers use as it has limits such as it allows only one web site.

If it's running you can access your web on your PC as http://localhost

You can add a folder to your web folders which under Windows is named Inetpub.
The default public root is Inetpub/wwwroot and this can be changed to your folder under Inetpub.
Go to Start - Settings - Control Panel - Administrative Tools - Internet Information Services
There click on Web Sites and right click on default Web Site and choose properties.
In the Web Site Properties window click on the home directory tab and change the directory to the one you created. Next be sure parent paths is checked. Click on the configuration button and choose the options tab. Check enable parent paths.
Parent paths allow you to reference items in IIS by using ../../my-image.gif

You can install PHP and Perl by going to the websites and downloading the install apps.
For PHP go to: http://us3.php.net/downloads.php

For Perl go to: http://www.activestate.com/activeperl/
If you are going to design from scratch or use a template then use a tool such as Dreamweaver or Expression. These are WYSIWYG editor / designer tools put out by Adobe / Microsoft. I recommend Dreamweaver over Microsoft's Expression as I really do not like any programming tools from Microsoft as I feel they are either misguided in concept or buggy. A perfect example of a misguided tool was Front Page which was a very bad idea.
My viewpoint is you try to make something that makes it easier for the programmer but never try to program for the programmer. The Elite seem to think the average Joe can not be capable to write his own code and try to force their way upon them.
Trial and error is how you learn which is my viewpoint and this I believe is what makes one a better programmer.
With either of these products you can quickly create or edit your pages and add your graphics. You can add Flash videos, Sound and anything else you like as they are both quite good inserting the code needed for any Media required.
This allows you to design the site at the comfort of your home / office with no additional cost of a temporary website account or IP address.
Many hosts do not allow using /~account-name which then would require a temporary hosting account with an IP address or a temporary sub domain from your host to access a development hosting account via a web browser.
If your hosting company does allow using the tilde account name ( /`account-name ) you could develop your site that way but you will need to not set the name servers on your domain so it will not allow visitors to see your site in development.
Using your PC is better and will save you money in that is avoids problems with the public root such as when you use the IP/~account-name the root will be the IP address where as on your PC the root will be http://localhost. This can cause slight problems with graphics or scripts when the resource is referenced such as /images/myimage.gif.
The first forward slash tells the server the place to go is the public root of the account. But that can be a problem if you either set your development to a sub folder of your PC's Inetpub folder or are using your hosting account as IP/~account-name.
If you leave off the first forward slash and put -  images/myimage.gif  - it will work only if the page is in the same directory as the image directory is in. If the page is in say a directory called vacation-homes but the images are above this directory what will happen is no image will display. The reason is the server will look in the current directory for a directory named images and will not find vacation-homes/images.
Also by using your PC you can set the name servers on your domain and create a coming soon page, which is a bit nicer rather than having the domain sending people to the default Domain Registrar page.

If you don't mind spending the extra money then go with a temporary hosting account as this will avoid problems that come up with things behaving different on different web servers. You will either need an account with a dedicated IP or a Sub Domain from the Hosting company. A dedicated IP allows you to access the site using the IP address. The only problems you will run into, which should be very few to none, is if you have to use the absolute url anywhere. A relative URL is best to use in all cases and should work in all cases.

Too often I have seen page errors on Shopping sites because they did not use a relative URL. When you switch to the secure https then a absolute url starting with http will cause an error.

So choosing the best development method can save you time which is also saving you money.

Once done you can either use Dreamweaver / Expression to upload the website to your Web Hosting account to go live or you can FTP the pages / images and such if you wish to manage it your self.

Hope this helps you finding the best way to design your website.
 
Read 6658 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 April 2013 16:26

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