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design workflow. is this common?

 
Greenhorn
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on a side note, i have a web design question

so i have a firm grasp of HTML5 (old tech still?). CSS, working on CSS3. I am learning javascript, jquery and some PHP. A question: My workflow is as follows, i want to know if it's bad.... i make the base webpage inside of an editor program, ie texpad ++, and then review its output online and then write in any javascript or additional CSS for interaction, movements, etc. I have several "templates" of websites I've made for people like a cooking website, educational site, massage clinic, etc. For a new project I usually just copy and paste snippets of the old code into the new project I am working on, say a construction company. Obviously displayed text and images would be different.

Is this a common practice workflow or bad??

Sorry if wrong place, but i see coderanch has no place for web design
know any good current sites that have active users? Getting serious into this now and need to expand my contacts list

thank you so much
 
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I split this post off to a new topic.

I'll say this sort of copy-paste-programming is actually pretty common. I used to have a co-worker who said "Real programmers only have one program, they just keep modifying it." That's a little extreme, but as you acquire years of code base, you find yourself doing it more and more.

A couple of warnings though. First, only use your own code. Copying and pasting code that you find on the web is a bad idea because you don't have a good understanding of how it works or why it was written that way. This will lead to maintenance and debugging nightmares later on.

Second, as you do this, ask yourself if this code you're reusing could be put into a reusable object instead of copying and pasting it into yet another class or JavaScript file. This re-usability is not going to be as common for a front end designer. It's geared more toward back-end work, but I mention it because you asked about good practices.
 
primnull jones
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ok cool, thanks.

Could you suggest some web design, html, and or css places online forums to post? I don't want to get banned on here for posting web design questions on a coding forum
my questions are piling up, the more that i learn, ha

thank you and i've learned a lot here already
 
Marshal
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You're certainly not going to get banned for asking questions. Whether you'll get those questions answered to your satisfaction is another matter.
 
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Have you looked at content management systems (CMS) for websites e.g. Wordpress? A CMS provides a standard set of browser-based tools for implementing the flow and content of your website, often based on PHP and a database such as MySQL, together with some kind of templating system that allows you to design your own look-and-feel to suit your needs or those of your client. The actual content - articles, blog posts etc - is posted by the users via browser-based editors, which is much easier than editing HTML etc simply to add a new blog entry.

Many CMS platforms also offer a plugin mechanism, often with thousands of freely available (if not always reliable) plugins to provide extra functionality e.g. picture galleries, discussion forums, Paypal integration and much more, and there is also an admin interface that allows site administrators to do things like add/remove users with varying privileges, manage plugins, swap templates (themes) etc. Basically, you can spend more time designing your website and building content, and less time typing angle brackets. Many small web design businesses seem to rely on one or two CMS packages and then design custom CMS themes for their clients, which makes it much easier for them to support many clients on the same technology stack.

There are lots of CMS packages, including many open source options, but I think Wordpress is quite a good place to start if you're new to this, as it offers a lot of functionality, it's been around for quite a while so there are lots of excellent learning materials, free plugins and themes, and it's easy to get started with. It's written in PHP, with the themes in HTML/CSS/JavaScript/PHP, and there is good documentation on how to start writing your own themes e.g. here's a quick overview of how Wordpress themes work. This might give you a good opportunity to take your web design work in a different direction and explore the open source code of the CMS at the same time. Not all of this code will be good quality, but it should help you to get a feel for how these things work in practice. A CMS is inevitably less flexible than a roll-your-own approach, but it will often help you to deliver far more powerful functionality far more quickly than if you had to do it yourself.

But, as JKR says, be careful what you run on your machine and what you deliver to your client, and don't forget to check licence conditions for open source components you might be using in a commercial context. Keep your security software up to date (and there are security plugins for your CMS too), only download code from reputable sources and check for stuff that looks fishy. Wordpress itself is very widely used and can be secured via suitable plugins and the same measures that apply to any websites, but it has known vulnerabilities (like most popular software) so you need to keep your installation, themes and plugins etc up to date. Many web hosting providers will advise you on how to set up and secure your website and provide tools to help with this, although you'll probably still have to manage them yourself. If you're going to be managing websites for other people, there are also subscription services, such as Sucuri which offer to monitor your website for security problems, although I haven't used these so I can't recommend this one way or the other. As with anything else, caveat emptor rules apply, so do your research before signing up for anything, obviously.
 
primnull jones
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not sure why i want to mess around with cms

working on my own personal portfolio website at the moment
i've run my own ftp and domain before so this is familiar territory

my plan is to have about a dozen websites of business, services, etc stuff that's in the real world. That would be my "portfolio." How does that sound?

would you have other works? I'm thinking of adding some art relavent to web design, as i've done a ton of graphic art. I also have skills in Java programming, 3d modeling, etc but my website would be just web design work. looking for your opinion there
 
chris webster
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primnull jones wrote:not sure why i want to mess around with cms...


A CMS can help you deliver a lot more functionality a lot more quickly, without having to re-invent a lot of well-known wheels yourself, e.g. if you can deploy a flexible and powerful CMS-based site quickly then customise it with a bespoke theme for your client. It can also make it much easier to modify the site if your client wants new content or new functionality (within the range of functionality provided by the CMS, of course). Plenty of smaller web-design businesses seem to work in this way. CMS theme templates can also be a source of (modest) income if you decide to create a range of well-designed and configurable themes to sell to people directly.

But it depends on your goals and the needs of your clients, of course.
 
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