Saturday, 14 September 2013

Wordpress - a quick look

It is obvious that Wordpress is a very successful CMS (Content Managed System) and used by masses of people, therefore well past the time I should have a serious look at it.

It is very flexible, and has lots of features both free and small cost, developed around the world. However I am not convinced it is what I want. To develop quick sites I believe this can be done much easier with Weebly or Google Sites. To develop more sophisticated sites then I prefer to use native HTML5, CSS3, PHP and Jquery.

When developing more complicated sites I often find that you are trying all types of tricks to manipulate the CMS tool to do what you want, and you may just as well build it yourself. I also prefer to understand what my site does and not just understand the output.

So for the near future I will continue to use mainly HTML5 etc and Weebly.

Update

After writing this post I spent another couple of weeks giving WordPress a go, but in the end I was spending so much time trying to get it to do what I wanted when I could achieve same result in just a few minutes with native CSS and HTML. 

So I have archived site. 

Friday, 12 April 2013

Hybrid Web Development

Hybrid Web Development

I go in circles trying to decide whether to use WCMS (definition below) or native code (HTML, CSS and JavaScript). I prefer using native code but worry that large sites would become unmaintainable unless I use tools such as PHP so that common code can be held in single files, but this adds more complexity.
Content Manages Sites I have used include Weebly and Google Sites. Both quite easy and powerful but then I worry about being at the mercy of a third party who could change or cease to provide the service but I do like the ease of having a web presence without having to deal with or pay an ISP (Internet Services Provider).

Hybrid approach

I like to combine the two approaches, using the CMS to provide menu which is then easily maintainable and provide internet services, but the bulk of the page is built in native HTML and CSS which can then be transferred to another environment if necessary.

CSS & JavaScript

When using a CMS site it is important to consider how much control you have over CSS and whether JavaScript and hence Jquery is supported. If so then you have a lot more control and capability to write the pages as you want.

Web Content Management System (WCMS)

I have lifted this definition from Wikipedia.
A web content management system (WCMS)is a software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage website content with relative ease. A robust WCMS provides the foundation for collaboration, offering users the ability to manage documents and output for multiple author editing and participation. Most systems use a content repository or a database to store page content, metadata, and other information assets that might be needed by the system.

Back To Basics

I have decided to explore this approach in detail whilst developing Back To Basics web site using Weebly and record my progress on this blog.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Using Weebly with multiple writers developers

I have used Weebly for several years to create web sites but always been the only developer. However now a small team of us are going to work together to create a site and we needed a method to share photos that we may use on this site.

I did this by creating a second Weebly site just to act as a photo library, with large, medium and small versions of the photos.  These photos can then be included in the main site by referencing their URL. This video shows how to do this with various browsers.

Although written specifically for the team the method can easily be adopted by other groups.



Nerd flash 

Did you notice seamless switch from Mac to Internet Explorer on XP and back again. I had all browsers set up one behind the other plus IE running in Virtual Box XP machine, QuickTime screencast recorded the XP guest machine just fine. 

Recorded on iMac 21.5", Mountain Lion.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Using Google Viewer to display PDF Files in your Web Site

Using Google Viewer to display PDF Files in your Web Site

I have been developing a site that contains several large PDF files. I wanted to have a quality version of the file for downloading and a lower quality for online viewing. The online version is a lower quality so that delay is minimised.
In doing this I discovered a few things.
  • You can use Acrobat X to produce reduced size version that will start display the first page without waiting for the whole file to be made ready.
  • All the browsers handle this file differently, and some not at all

I am using Weebly to build the site, and the Pro version has a feature to display PDF files using the viewer Scribd. THis is OK but appears to be Adobe Flash based, and it does not work on IOS (iPhone, iPad) platform. Therefore I looked for another approach. I noticed in testing the Google Chrome browser is that it uses its own Google Docs Viewer. This facility can be used in your own web sites.
This is the page being developed within Weebly Pro.
google-viewer-2012-10-otp-dev

I want the Alternative Viewer called by the ONLINE QUICK button to use the Google viewer.

First you need to upload the PDF to Weebly. To do this I use the standard Weebly features to create a button and link this button to my PDF.


google-viewer-2012-10-button-link

The file I uploaded is named in the File on Your Website. Copy this filename. Publish this site using standard Weebly methods and navigate to the page.
google-viewer-2012-10-link-box

Clicking on the button will open PDF file as shown below (this may look different depending on browser). The online filename is given in the browser navigation box. Copy this name.

google-viewer-2012-10-pdf-standard

You now need to open another tab in your browser and go to docs.google.com/viewer where you paste the address of the PDF in the first box. Click on Generate Link
google-viewer-satup

You should now see the following screen. There are options to embed the code into a HTML page, but the option I use is Paste this link into email or IM: Copy the link.
google-viewer-2012-10-setup

Return to Weebly development page edit the button so that it now links to the address we copied previously.
google-viewer-2012-10-link-box

Again, using standard Weebly controls publish the site and visit the page. Now when you click on the QUICK ONLINE button you should see the following Google Viewer version of the PDF, which in my case opens in a new tab.
google-viewer-2012-10-pdf-google

Real Example

If you want to see this in action then please visit The Orange Tree Press site. This company sells high quality greetings cards, mainly of a religious nature.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Google Sites Horizontal Menu means more space

Jury still out to whether to use Google Sites or Weebly for quick web development plus hosting.

Just discovered that I can use horizontal menu when making web pages with Google Sites. Also you can turn off sidebar which means a lot more space can be used by your content. See my Photography site where I have reworked it using the above.

However I do worry that Google Sites is getting harder to find on Google Pages. Currently the only way I can find it is to go to G-Drive and then it appears in the more.. Tab.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

DIY Weebly Menu Bar

I am exploring Weebly in fine detail and one of the things I wanted to do was add a link button. Now I know that site navigation is well catered for by Weebly in its templates. However occassionaly I want to have a navigation link button embedded in the article or as an extra menu bar at the end of the page.

To see how I did this visit Web-Dev

 

 

Monday, 7 November 2011

Typing HTML on iPad

Typing HTML on iPad

 
Unless you are using an iPad HTML development app such as WPD (Web Page Developer) which has enhanced keyboard typing HTML tags on iPad on screen keypad is a pane. Multiple keystrokes just to reveal the < symbol and then after entering say p for paragraph then repeat multiple key strokes to add >. All this to be repeated at the end of paragraph with additional / character!  I then stumbled across a tip for the new IOS 5 operating system that simply solves this and at no cost.

Keyboard Shortcuts  

 
     
  1. On iPad go to Settings and select General

  2. Select Keyboard and then Shortcuts and add your own  
  3.  
  4. Return to any program and then when you next type in the keywords you have the standard option of hitting space bar to expand text.
  5.    
 
Note:  Make sure you use an abbreviation that typically will not be used, e.g. htp for <p> and not just p. 
 
To do similar on Mac then I recomend the free App Dash