Web Design Software/Site?

I have a website which was professionally created, then turned over to me to make updates and such. There's no content management system, I've been editing the actual HTML in WordPad.

I've started making a few minor structural changes as well. Unfortunately my HTML knowledge is ten years old, and I can't even spell CSS, so what I've been changing is primarily based on reverse engineering the current code.

Are there any good software packages out there I can use to load up the current site and make more significant changes without having to get too deep into learning CSS and such? Dreamweaver used to be the big name back when I last messed with HTML, not sure if that's still the way to go or if that's overkill for what I'm looking to do.

Alternately, if there are any good modular website builders that I can port my current content into, that might work as well.

Aptana is a solid choice. Dreamweaver is still an option, too.

Mozilla Seamonkey is a more modern version of the old Netscape suite, which happens to include a WYSIWYG editor for HTML. On a mac you could also be use something like Rapidweaver or iWeb. You might also want to play around with free trial of some web-based thing like Squarespace to see if you can port your stuff there.

If you go that route, I'd recommend Sublime Text 2 over Notepad++ any day of the week. (Even Wednesday)

Since he's dealing with HTML, I think he's more looking to use a WYSIWYG.

Is that correct, Teneman?

I love that this site doesn't support IE Guess I'll have to check it when I get home.

psoplayer wrote:
Mozilla Seamonkey is a more modern version of the old Netscape suite, which happens to include a WYSIWYG editor for HTML.

Kompozer is the modern version of this.

trueheart78 wrote:
Since he's dealing with HTML, I think he's more looking to use a WYSIWYG.

Is that correct, Teneman?

WYSIWYG would be nice, yeah. Although I broke down and had my developer code a new navigation system for the site, so once that's done I'll be back to just doing basic HTML modifications again. As long as I don't need to worry about the navigation or the CSS, even Wordpad/Notepad works for me. I may try some of the Notepad variants just to see how they look.

psoplayer wrote:

If you go that route, I'd recommend Sublime Text 2 over Notepad++ any day of the week. (Even Wednesday)

Agreed. If I weren't on Vim, I would be using Sublime. IMO it's the only text editor worth using for anyone that doesn't want to dive into one of the hardcore UNIX editors like Vim or Emacs.

WYSIWYG is another matter, of course, and frankly I don't think there are really any solutions there that aren't painfully bad. Doing CSS properly means having more contextual knowledge of the document than a tool is capable of inferring (eg. it can't know ahead of time that you intend to have a certain cluster of style rules apply to other bits of the document that aren't written yet. It can't really understand the Cascading part of Cascading Style Sheets).

*Legion* wrote:
It can't really understand the Cascading part of Cascading Style Sheets).

It's not alone, I can't understand it either

That's why I cut my losses and called in the professional to be honest. I've got too many other things to work on, like figuring out my server issue, to go back and learn CSS. I'd enjoy doing so if I had the time, I just don't I'm afraid.

So I'll probably pick up Sublime (just checked it out) for use in editing the general HTML portions of my pages (adding new events, etc.), and leave the more complicated stuff to the pros.

Why are you not just using WordPress?

Developer finished the new navigation system last night.

I put together a few new pages using Sublime (MUCH easier than Wordpad!) and uploaded those today. The new system allowed me to add a whole page for the calendar, solving that problem too.

Thanks for the help guys.

Ok, we're knocking off the web issues one at a time.

Top on the list now is the photo gallery. It stinks. And isn't designed in a way I can easily modify/swap images.

Any ideas for a plug in or something that will let me embed a photo gallery into the existing page? I can use Picasa or Flickr, and make both of them work. They both look very amateurish though, leaving things like my account name or stream name or social media plug ins on the gallery.

I'm looking for something that provides a clean gallery and/or slideshow. Ideally something that will put out a block of HTML or other code that I can just copy and paste right into the existing website.

Thanks for the help.

Perfect, thanks trueheart. I'll give those a look!

I'm partial to Fancybox which does slideshow doesn't do automatic slideshow advancing, supports video by iframe, has plenty of options, and the old version (1.x) is free and has filled all my needs. There's a newer version (which I haven't used) which is CC-BY-NC or $19 for a single commercial site.

So you've got a list of images, would like thumbs on the page, but also have the ability to show a larger size, as well as tab through and potentially a slideshow option, correct?

Sounds like a lightbox setup to me:

My favorite is the last one.

Well I finally got back to this. Picked up a copy of jQuery Thumbnail Gallery with Lightbox, as it seemed to be best suited for creating the thumbnail based gallery I was after, as well as simplest. Found out as I was putting it in that my developer is apparently already using Lightbox 2. Oh well.

I played around with jQuery for quite a bit. I managed to create a copy of my current photo page with an "Inner Slideshow", without breaking anything else on my test site. So that's a victory of sorts. It's not a thumbnail grid like I'd planned, but single thumb slideshows will work as well. Might even be better, as I can create separate thumbs for different types of images.

Only problem now is for the life of me I can't get the slideshow to sit where I want it to on the page. I know it's a problem with the CSS somewhere. I know this because without the appropriate CSS file the thumbnail sits right where I want it, but isn't a slideshow. Once I add the appropriate CSS file the thumbnail becomes a slideshow, but moves around on the page. Now I suppose I need to teach myself some CSS.

No real question here, just venting a bit.

Feel free to vent away.

Did you use the jQuery Thumbnail Gallery with Lightbox, or did you end up using Lightbox 2?

Teneman wrote:
Only problem now is for the life of me I can't get the slideshow to sit where I want it to on the page. I know it's a problem with the CSS somewhere. I know this because without the appropriate CSS file the thumbnail sits right where I want it, but isn't a slideshow. Once I add the appropriate CSS file the thumbnail becomes a slideshow, but moves around on the page. Now I suppose I need to teach myself some CSS.

Firebug extension for Firefox (and presumably Chrome as well) is your friend if you don't have it already. "Inspect element in Firebug" context menu option and the css that governs the display of any given element shows up on the bottom right. Also it's live-editable to preview things you're thinking of changes...it's more finicky when trying to do stuff with ":hover" selectors and stuff that changes on javascript event, but still useful in most cases.

I'm using jQuery Thumbnail Gallery with Lightbox, although I've still got Lightbox 2 on a different page. I'm assuming that doesn't cause any conflict.

And thanks for the Firebug tip, I'll give that a shot. I'm probably not going to be able to get back to debugging for a few days now as other priorities have come up, but hopefully this weekend I'll be able to iron it out.