Friday, December 21, 2007

Developing The New Site

Once I found Rapidweaver and had the sense that it could do what was needed, it was time to learn the software.

Requirements included:

1) ability to upload changed without reuploading the whole website and hundreds of pictures - no problem in Rapidweaver
2) blog software - Rapidweaver has this built in but in my searches I found a Rapidweaver plug-in called RapidBlog. This allows me to integrate my current blog and it's over 750 entries, but within my website and best of all, with my website colours and design. This has worked extremely well and also gave me inline comments.
3) I needed to have clean looking albums with a painless way to move from image to image - Rapidweaver has solved 80% of that battle for me but I'm keeping my eye out for a way to move from image to image from the keyboard and for the position of next not to move as you go from the first image.
4) I needed some help to come up with ideas for a webdesign - and Rapidweaver's templates are ideal for that purpose. Some are more customizable than others - Camino has been particularly good with extensive control over size, shape, and colour.

One of the really useful tools in learning to use Rapidweaver was the videos by ScreencastsOnline which explained Rapidweaver and also some of the plugins.

It didn't take long to flesh out a basic website. I found it helpful to go to my outliner and create an outline of all the webpages and their subpages and so on. Once I saw the layout, I could quickly create the pages.

Rapidweaver has a number of different possible pages from text and images to blog to album to file sharing and contact forms - PHP without knowing a thing about it.

I did have to change my server to one that could cope with PHP and found Siteground recommmended and in fact highly useful and easy to work with. Uploading Rapidweaver to Siteground has been absolutely painless.

I found some other plug-ins for Rapidweaver helpful. Accordion was cute but not useful if there is a lot of text, Blocks is extremely useful, turning Rapidweaver into almost a full WYSIWYG web design programme. It allows precise placing of text, images, links and so on, with full font and size control. Collage made for convenient thumbnails for the various album categories.

I'm still a complete novice and there's huge scope to learn HTML and PHP to do really incredible things, but the point is that I have been able to do everything I have without a single line of code in any language.


Mark Bridgers said...

Sorry, but I find this color scheme hard to read. Especially the red links, but even the light text on the green background looks jumpy to me.

Alan Rew said...

I too find the current colour scheme is not as easy to read as either your old site or other web sites that use white- or light-coloured text (e.g. Luminous Landscape). Maybe it would be easier if there was more contrast between the text and background. I also find the muddy green background makes me feel slightly ill, not sure why!

Given the choice of reading articles on the old-style site and the new one, I'm sorry to say that I find the old one much easier to read.



Match Grun said...

I believe your link is broken:
Should it be: