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Thread: Dull sites...

  1. #1
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    Hiya. Nice forum, just what I was looking for to improve my web design skills.

    I'm currently maintaining two .com's. (www.jonmerkel.com and www.veracitypictures.com) I am not Jon Merkel FYI, he's my friend. I do his website for free because I'm a nice guy. Veracity Pictures is a movie production company that we've made.

    Now, enough bs. As far as my web skillz go, I'm stuck back in the late 90's. I can't seem to get with the program anymore and I stick to traditional values such as frames and such. My eye for color isn't what it should be nor is my taste for style. I can create semi-good art in Photoshop 7 but it's only semi. Veracity's site isn't up yet, obviously, but the other one has been up for some time now. It's been acclaimed by his friends and such but his father finds it dull and with too much negative space.

    Let me point out that I am not very good with Flash or anything web based. I basically meddle around with things and tweak them until my fancy is slaked. That interface on Jon Merkel.com is from Flash Kit that I modified to my liking and Jon's. The font is BN Year 2000 and unfortunately it makes his name look like Jon Mehel which angers his father. I'm stumped for ideas on how to make the site look more spiffy and eye-appealing but something along the lines of www.fountainheadent.com would be nice. It has a very bright, clean look to it that I'd like to mimic but not plagerize.

    Veracity is aimed to be a dark site and the opposite of Jon Merkel Digital Productions. It's to be dark but still technologically fashionable with something like a grid in the background? Basically, I know what I like and what I don't. I have ideas in my head that I simply don't know how to portray and it's affecting me drastically.

    Coming this summer is a job opportunity from my uncle to do his company's website, that is real business. I'd like to have some more understanding of the elements of design and maybe even some of the languages affiliated with web design. As far as PHP, ASF, CGI, I am pretty clueless so a definitive list of what they are and their functions would be very appreciated. Thanks.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member thuffner's Avatar
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    I think one of the most underrated webdesign tools is SSI (server side includes). It looks like the site you mentioned (www.fountainheadent.com) uses it, and is basically at the base of its navigation. I don't think you should use frames in your website, unless they are dynamically and creatively set up. IMHO, frames are (to use one of your terms) 'stuck in the late 90s'

    SSI just adds simple but clever navigation to a site. Also, I love how easy it is to manipulate the content in an SSI powered site. Here is a site with a little explanation of SSI:
    http://www.webcom.com/~webcom/help/inc/include.shtml

    Good luck!
    BondMovies.com - "Nobody Does It Better."

  4. #3
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    I'm not too sure I understand what SSI is, thuffner. Does your site have it? If it does, where? I'm trying to go for the Fountain Head Entertainment look or the www.armadilloaerospace.com look, both the same webmaster. They look very clean as I've said before and simple. How are those sites done? Are they any language besides HTML? Was it done in a generator like Frontpage or Dreamweaver? (Which reminds me.)

    Which is better, Frontpage or Dreamweaver? What are some of the pros and cons of each?

  5. #4
    Senior Member splufdaddy's Avatar
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    I think it's pretty much unanimous that Dreamweaver is the better program, Frontpage's code is far too bloated.

    As for server side includes, SSI is an easy way to change one file and have the change reflected throughout the site. You create your nav, and write the code in a file called nav.php for example (if you're using PHP to do this). Then, on all of your pages on your site where you want the nav included, you type "include nav.php" (in proper syntax). This way, when you want to change your navigation, you change the nav.php file and the changes are reflected throughout your site instantly.

    You can use this technique in a variatey of languages. SHTML, PHP, ASP, and I'm sure there are others. Each language has it's own syntax, but it's easy to learn. SHTML is supported by virtually all servers, but PHP or ASP has to be installed on the server you're hosting your pages on. Let us know what capabilities your server has, and we can point you in the right direction on using SSI instead of frames for your navigation.

  6. #5
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    Originally posted by splufdaddy
    I think it's pretty much unanimous that Dreamweaver is the better program, Frontpage's code is far too bloated.

    As for server side includes, SSI is an easy way to change one file and have the change reflected throughout the site. You create your nav, and write the code in a file called nav.php for example (if you're using PHP to do this). Then, on all of your pages on your site where you want the nav included, you type "include nav.php" (in proper syntax). This way, when you want to change your navigation, you change the nav.php file and the changes are reflected throughout your site instantly.

    You can use this technique in a variatey of languages. SHTML, PHP, ASP, and I'm sure there are others. Each language has it's own syntax, but it's easy to learn. SHTML is supported by virtually all servers, but PHP or ASP has to be installed on the server you're hosting your pages on. Let us know what capabilities your server has, and we can point you in the right direction on using SSI instead of frames for your navigation.
    Oh, now I see some use for PHP, that's pretty neat! I'll have to learn some PHP and toy with SSI. I've taken 2 years of C++ and I followed that okay and now I'm seeing a reflection of it in other programs.

    Here is what my hosting has: (Ripplehost.com)
    100mb Disk Space
    1000mb of bandwidth per month.
    5 subdomains
    5 ftp accounts
    5 mysql databases
    5 e-mail accounts.

    Auto Responders
    Mail forwarding
    Web based e-mail.
    Mail blockers
    Web based statistics
    Password protected directories
    Front page extensions 2002
    CGI Support
    PHP Support
    MySQL Support
    Server Side Includes
    PhpMyAdmin

    I got all that for $4.99 and I think that's a helluva good deal even being a newb at web sites.

    Earlier tonight I was trying to mimic Fountainhead Entertainment's site but it turned out all ragged and such. (Sigh) I'm still very stumped for creative ideas on how to lay the site out as well as the art to put on the site.

  7. #6
    Senior Member splufdaddy's Avatar
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    Here's the syntax to call another php file:
    Code:
    <?php require '/absolute/path/to/file.php'; ?>
    As for the design, remember that less is more sometimes. Simple lines, with a nice graphic or two can go a long way. If you can't bang out a graphical masterpiece, use nice colors, nice pictures and make it easy and pleasing to look at.

    As far as the colors go, I can give you one more tip: The Online Color Scheme Generator is a neat little tool to play around with to help you pick out colors for your site, or find other colors that match one you've chosen. Enjoy


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