Sunday, December 02, 2007

Website Development

Well, it's been an interesting time and a significant learning curve. Turns out you can't have your cake and eat it. Having read the book on Dreamweaver and explored several software variations from WebDesign to Rapidweaver to Freeway and a couple of others here are my observations.

1) WYSIWYG is all very well, if you know exactly what you want and are willing to spend a very long time getting there (or don't have a sophisticated site to develop).

2) Template/theme type software like Rapidweaver frustrates because you can't do exactly what you want. On the other hand, it has extremely powerful features that with a few clicks can develop an entire blog system complete with comments and photo albums and contact forms complete with PHP code to go without any knowledge on your part. Not only that, it comes with dozens of themes and more are available for purchase, many better looking than anything I could come up with and all available at the click of a button - changing your entire website to match.

3) You have to stop and think, is a website about being clever and artistic, or is it about cleanly and effectively presenting your images and text? If the answer is the former then WYSIWYG is the way to go, but if the latter, then template driven is better and of the various options, Rapidweaver is looking by far the best choice that I have discovered.


So, with the above in mind, I have chosen to accept some limitations of Rapidweaver and get a functional good looking site up within reasonable time, even if it isn't exactly what I might have wanted.

You can view the site (most of the time) as I develop it at MyFirstWebsite.

There will be problems with it - I have already discovered a few with the version I just uploaded - some links I forgot to set, some grraphics I don't like, text that is too small, and I'm not satisfied with the sharpness of the displayed images - looks like I would be best using Photoshop to create right sized images and do no resizing within Rapidweaver. Also, some of the images are black and white toned while others are not - I think I'm going to have to decide on one or the other. As it stands, the bluish gray background doesn't go well with the toned images but I might change the background rather than the toning. Stay tuned for further developments.

And a quick reminder, Rapidweaver is Mac only.

7 comments:

chuck kimmerle said...

George,

The link is not working. You need to add a slash at the end of the adress to signify that "firstwebsite" is a folder and not an HTML page.

http://www.georgebarr.com/firstwebsite/

Looks good so far. Very professional.

Chuck

Ed Z said...

Looks like rapidweaver with the Camilo theme right? very nice - I did one of my sites with the same theme, its a great look (http://www.edzarts.com)

George Barr said...

Ed is right, Camilo. You should check out his site to see what good artwork, careful choice of colours and an interesting font for his name have added together to make a very attractive website. Enjoyed looking at some of his artwork too.

Ed Z said...

Thanks George! That design is about the 4th or 5th iteration of the site after tweaking the layout/colors repeatedly :-)

I also "integrated" my blogger blog into it by simply going into the blogger control panel and simply linking the rapidweaver stylesheets to it in the header (using < link rel... > etc...) and it essentially "skins" blogger to match the rapidweaver site.

that way when you click on "blog" in the sidebar, you are actually navigating away from the page to the blogger blog, but it still visually looks consistent, so it appears to be all the same site to the user (at least that was the goal)

And yeah, I love rapidweaver too, it makes things sooo much easier. There's even a hack to integrate it with wordpress, so you can have a rapidweaver site and wordpress blog all in one (although it is not perfect, and breaks some wordpress stuff)

George Barr said...

Ed: tell me more about installing blogger within Rapidweaver - sure would be simpler to continue my present blogger and all 500 entries.

What was that code you needed?

Thanks,

George

Anonymous said...

George:
The URL for immaging resource is missing a dot. Replace what you have with-->
http://www.imaging-resource.com/
<--
Cheers!

Viridian said...
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