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Where to start on website development?

  1. Jun 11, 2007 #1
    Hey guys, how's it going? Well right now I kind of have to make a website for me and my mother. We both have these expensive dogs that aren't common around here, the mother just got pregnant, and we want to sell them on a website.

    I told my mother that I could make a website for the dogs. This would be easier since anyone could check the dogs out and buy them. I do have a little background in web site development, however it's been so long.

    My first website was created when I was only 13 years old (and that's been 8 years ago.) It was for a clan for a computer game. In all actuallity, it's not a bad website and it was fully functional. However to be honest, I didn't completely orginate all of the coding. I would see how other websites did this and make my own alterations on the coding, which in the end it looked nothing like the site. By the way, I never plagarized an entire site, I wouldn't dare do that. Also, I got my icons and graphics from a font generating website and certain things like form generators and java scripts from a website that gave free coding for novice web developers.

    Anyways, as you can see I have no REAL knowledge of website development. I have CoffeeCup HTML (or something like that) that can help me create a website. However, I kind of wish I could learn the ropes by myself and not rely on other sources like I did in the past. Where is a good starting point? Pretty much all that this website will need is a home page, contact information, pictures of the mother and father dogs, eventually pictures of the babies, and an online payment option. Now actually I do know how to link webpages, use FTP's, upload pictures etc. However this may not be my last website, and I wouldn't mind just knowing for future purposes.

    Also if you guys could help, besides basic website building, there's two aspects that I am going to worry about. First is the online payment. I want to give the customers the ability to pay online via credit card/paypal. However I will not restrict to soley online payments. I will also offer checks via the mail and I doubt I will go further than that. What my concern is first: How do I go about online payments? I noticed that paypal can set you up and charge x amount of cents/dollar. How do you go about using strictly credit card or bank authorization? Also on this same subject, how would I make the website to where if someone buys/reserves one of the puppies, how could I halt payments/reservations for the dog just purchased to prevent 100 people paying for the dog and only one getting it?

    The last concern is web security. I hear a lot of horror stories about how easy it is to hack websites. Where can I learn about this? Will my website run off my computer as a server, or would it be best to run it off a service that provides this? I definitely do not want people hacking and spamming, stealing vital personal information, or find a way into my personal computer and formatting it. Any tips here?

    Thanks to anyone who can help me with this!!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2007 #2

    -Job-

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    Your best bet is to use a web host, like godaddy.com, because it will be cheaper and you will have more site uptime. You should only run a site off one of your local machines if you need to load some special server software or maybe for learning, because otherwise there is really no benefit.

    I would let PayPal handle the payments because you can blame them if something goes wrong. I wouldn't worry too much about hacking. Hackers usually scan for common software with known vulnerabilities (like forum or blog software), and it sounds like you're going for static or an only slightly dynamic site.

    I would start with HTML and CSS, and learn how to do it manually, they're easy once you get the hang of it. w3schools is a useful reference site for this stuff.

    Once you are confortable with HTML you can start to look into javascript and some server-side languages like PHP or ASP, which aren't essential to build a site, but which you'll want to know for doing some more advanced projects.

    For the puppy reserving feature you mentioned you will need to use a server-side language and some form of data storage, like a database, xml or even a plain text file, which you manipulate with the server-side language.

    If you're just starting then borrowing available scripts is actually a good way to learn. But if you want to know things inside out you need to do some reading.
     
  4. Jun 13, 2007 #3

    mezarashi

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    From my own experiences with web development, I can tell you that it pretty much won't be worth the time developing that website the way you did some 10 years ago. Why? We've already entered the age of Web 2.0.

    What does this mean for you? It means that posting your information on site's that are already available such as eBay or craigslist is going to get you much better publicity. If you want more than just an ad, maybe you want to express yourself more on dogs. There are tons of blog sites out there that you can use, all of which are highly customizable with little to no knowledge of HTML or CSS even required.

    Moving on, if you really are going to go the way of developing your own site, unless this is an academic endeavor, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. There is plenty a plenty, did I mention plenty of free code out there that you can readily use. Want a forum? Get simplemachines.org. Want a blogger? Get Wordpress.org. You can skin and mod them to your liking it's possible for people to not even recognize them (there are many other scripts I haven't mentioned, try: www.hotscripts.com's PHP section). Static pages are a thing of the past? When was the last time you visited a static page? All sites in this new web age are generated "on-the-fly" using scripts and databases. That's another idea.

    Lastly, you should get your site hosted by a professional web host. They will keep your server up-to-date with the latest versions of Apache, PHP, mySQL, and or whatever else that is needed to run the site, so that you don't need to worry about security exploits. Just worry that your code is working and secure.

    Of course, before you make any conclusions, I have to negate what I've said so far if you are out to learn about web programming. In that case, the recommendation above explains the steps that you'll need to take. A very good tool to use with regard to your learning would be Adobe Macromedia Dreamweaver. They have a 30 day free trial. Good luck, and get ready to spend alot of quality time hacking away at code ;)
     
  5. Jun 13, 2007 #4

    DaveC426913

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    Why do you want to build a whole website? Why not use any of the available online shops?
     
  6. Jun 14, 2007 #5
    Well obviously I could log onto my ebay account and throw them on there and in less than a week they will all be sold. Yet I am not the kind of person who chooses convienence over self dedication. I would rather learn the ropes, and do everything myself, than ebay getting a cut out of these puppies they did not raise.

    That's the thing. Ebay does not deserve a penny of mine. Obviously if I used their website they would, however why not make more profit (though only slightly more) by making my own website?

    I did not think this would become a debate, lol. Apparently I'll have to list all of the reasons why. Another reason is that I know a small business that is wanting a website in a few months, my father just opened an LLC company, and my mother makes homemade jewerly. I'm looking at a lot of oppurtunity here to help some people out, and probably myself too. If I can learn how to do this, I could easily make discount websites for family, friends, etc.

    Lastly, it's about myself. I want to make a Starcraft II website for fans. I wouldn't mind a blog website. I could go on with ideas. I want personal knowledge, just to know. Just so if I wanted to post something on the internet, I won't rely on myspace for "friends" blogs, you tube to show videos I want, ebay to sell things, message boards to show my concerns about certain things, etc. Why do we have a service for everything we could do ourselves? If there was a machine that would whipe your arse, would you buy it? Plus, I'm not worried about how many people visit my personal sites one day. Hence "personal."

    I forsee a lot of studying, and trial and error, but I think I can easily learn this stuff. Thanks for the support and information though. I will check it out when I get home from work :)
     
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