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#1 2013-03-03 20:34:06

antiv0rtex
#! Die Hard
From: Earth
Registered: 2012-10-05
Posts: 574

I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

WARNING: LENGTHY BRAIN-DUMP FOLLOWS.

I have been building websites with WordPress since 2008 or so, mainly for my personal enjoyment and learning. A few of them have been paid jobs, but for the most part I have just built sites for the sake of learning how to make WP do thing A, B or C.

I am now in a position where I could probably get some more paid jobs building websites quite easily, but I'm not sure WordPress is the best tool to do the job. I am quite competent at using it, but a significant portion of what I can do relies on others' work - e.g. themes, plugins, etc. The fact that all of these could conceivably be abandoned by its developer(s) and leave someone with a website in which some critical part is no longer functional makes me worried.

The question that I am wondering about here is, should I continue to use WordPress as a framework for websites that I am building, or would it be better to switch to some other system, perhaps non-CMS based (e.g. individual HTML+CSS pages or something)? I'm not good at any of that sort of coding, but I think I could learn if need me.

Thoughts?

Last edited by antiv0rtex (2013-03-03 20:34:50)

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Be excellent to each other!

#2 2013-03-03 21:01:30

brontosaurusrex
#! Red Menace
Registered: 2012-06-15
Posts: 1,146

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

The fact that all of these could conceivably be abandoned by its developer(s) and leave someone with a website in which some critical part is no longer functional makes me worried.

- The theme is no longer funtional when html/css will be in version 9 (so it should work for the next 10 years or so?)
- The plugins are no longer functional when the core wp outgrows them or perhaps when the php version outgrows them, but they should stay alive for a year or two, no? (You can't and you shouldn't promise your clients an active page that will work forever unless you get moneys to mantain it... (personally i have "abandoned" some quite serious projects when the yearly contract expired, they just didn't want to hear about maintenance money...))

to conclude: get the maintenance into your costs or build static pages, geany will do just fine i imagine. html+css is really easy (if you can handle wordpress it should be a breeze.)

p.s. If you are serious about it then perhaps think about it from admin, dev, designer type of perspective, pick one personality and stick to it.

Last edited by brontosaurusrex (2013-03-03 21:04:43)

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#3 2013-03-03 21:13:10

el_koraco
#!/loony/bun
From: inside Ed
Registered: 2011-07-25
Posts: 4,749

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

R3nCi wrote:

The question that I am wondering about here is, should I continue to use WordPress as a framework for websites that I am building, or would it be better to switch to some other system, perhaps non-CMS based (e.g. individual HTML+CSS pages or something)? I'm not good at any of that sort of coding, but I think I could learn if need me.

Thoughts?

You should stay with CMS as long as you want to have sites that are in the least bit complex. It's not just HTML and CSS, you would also have to learn at least PHP, and then stuff like Javascript, JQuery, SQL and so on. Pure HTML+CSS are for static pages. Though it's a good thing to learn I guess.

I mean, I'm saying this from a perspective of a guy who maintains two WP websites with low traffic, but I would kill myself if I were to execute online shopping and registration manually.

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#4 2013-03-03 22:30:14

hq
#! Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2011-11-30
Posts: 52
Website

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

Stick with wordpress and invest in some theme framework for design. I use Headway, but there are others like Catalyst, or Genesis+Dynamik. Canvas from Woo is pretty simple (but requires more coding to get more complicated things done).

Try going for themes and plugins that have a onetime upfront payment model.

If you have more sites, you can use use wpremote.com (easier) or infinitewp.com (requires server install) to manage them (backups, updates and upgrades etc.

The above mentioned themes already have SEO functionality (except canvas) so no plugins required.

Security: better security (plugin)

I manage about 15 websites

I hope that helps


Dell Studio 1555

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#5 2013-03-03 23:55:20

zalew
#! Junkie
From: Warsaw, .PL
Registered: 2012-03-28
Posts: 374

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

you want to be a designer or programmer?

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#6 2013-03-04 07:28:37

intoCB
Scatweasel
Registered: 2012-10-25
Posts: 1,906

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

Currently in the same phase as Debian 7, Drupal 8 will leverage a PHP framework for the first time (Symfony 2), so it might be worth exploring both Drupal and Symfony together, and PHP too if you don't already have that. Symfony has clear, downloadable documentation. Drupal has extensive online documentation.

This will build on your existing skills and round out your knowledge.

Drupal isn't better than WordPress, it's a different tool for doing different jobs but like WordPress it has a large community and thousands of modules. Learning Symfony will also give you more autonomy in the long run.

You might also wish to look at what else is being used in industry and at which skills are more or less in demand. When I last looked, there were far more PHP developers than Python or Ruby developers but then there were more jobs in PHP. Don't forget Java and Microsoft stuff (.NET?).

Responsive web design is now with us as a de facto standard, after being merely trendy for a couple of years. This ties in with Microsoft and Canonical's vision of a device-agnostic operating system.

To what extent do your existing web skills take all this into account?

Looking to the future, what do you see?

I see ever poorer Europeans/Americans, greater and greater technological advances that will be increasingly in the hands of a well-organised global elite, and consequently a two-tier approach to technology.

By this I mean that I think we can see with Dell/Ubuntu in India and Firefox in Latin America an understanding that poorer people use technology too. Yes, the richest will have iPads, iPhones, iWhatevers but for the majority, these will continue to be out of reach.

From the luxury of broadband and a declining West that still has somewhere to decline from, I often forget that there are parts of the world where getting on the internet is a triumph in of itself. Indeed, you see on this forum and on others occasional stories of people who don't have enough access to bandwidth to download a 700MB ISO.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time? Where do you see the internet in 5 years' time? How good are your e-commerce skills?

Last edited by intoCB (2013-03-04 07:30:25)


FreeBSD installation plan:
1. portsnap fetch extract
2. ?
3. Operating system!

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#7 2013-03-04 08:29:21

el_koraco
#!/loony/bun
From: inside Ed
Registered: 2011-07-25
Posts: 4,749

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

intoCB wrote:

I see ever poorer Europeans/Americans, greater and greater technological advances that will be increasingly in the hands of a well-organised global elite, and consequently a two-tier approach to technology.

By this I mean that I think we can see with Dell/Ubuntu in India and Firefox in Latin America an understanding that poorer people use technology too. Yes, the richest will have iPads, iPhones, iWhatevers but for the majority, these will continue to be out of reach.

Actually, the developing world is technologically far ahead of the US, and Europe to an extent. Kenya for instance, projects all of its citizens will own a smartphone in the next five years, 40 percent of its payments are already mobile, and they project to stop printing money by 2025. China and India are the biggest consumer electronics markets and so on.

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#8 2013-03-04 09:36:45

wuxmedia
wookiee madclaw
From: Back in Blighty
Registered: 2012-03-09
Posts: 1,472
Website

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

^ and they can choose newer/better technology for communication infrastructure.
As Europe is a bit stuck with replacing older wires etc.
i see most sites being dynamic more and more, i'm trying to customize concrete5 (open cms)to adapt an existing website. everytime i have to update something i  have to edit the code, I can't do a plain text copy paste job, ftp it...

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#9 2013-03-09 11:22:32

KrunchTime
#! Die Hard
From: Not Where I Belong
Registered: 2012-03-02
Posts: 1,864

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

You might consider getting a subscription to one or more of the following magazines:

http://www.netmagazine.com/

http://drupalwatchdog.com/

http://www.webdesignermag.co.uk/

All three are available in digital format via the Zinio service; www.zinio.com

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#10 2013-03-19 01:05:31

mharrison
Member
From: Michigan
Registered: 2013-02-05
Posts: 26

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

I know that for myself,  I took the time to learn PHP, mysql, and working on javascript/jquery and the like. 

I'm not against CMS's....I just would rather have my hands in the code instead of guessing where things are getting pulled from.  I had a hell of a time trying to get the header on a wordpress site to be an imagemap.  The props I'll give CMS's is once you can figure out their inner workings, they are great...and if you are just going to go with the spoon feeing that they server up (more for the beginners and the like) then it is perfect.  I've just always liked control over all aspects.  I know a lot of people hate updating code, but I write my own modules for any website I do so I can form a basic template and if I have to change something like the navigation menu, I update one file and all files on my website are pulling the new version.

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#11 2013-03-19 14:57:58

schwim
#! Die Hard
From: Interweb's #1 Devotee
Registered: 2012-10-11
Posts: 604

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

mharrison wrote:

I'm not against CMS's....I just would rather have my hands in the code instead of guessing where things are getting pulled from.

While this is great from a learning perspective, if you're rolling out something large scale and have limited development time, choosing from one of the thousands of frameworks available to you is common sense.  For instance, I often borrow the session integration of phpBB3 for many community sites.  The amount of time it would take to reconstruct the wheel is just wasted time that I could have used to provide features that the community wants.  I've no desire to write a session system that completely mimics a great one that already exists.

if I have to change something like the navigation menu, I update one file and all files on my website are pulling the new version.

While this was innovative thinking in 1995, I don't know if you really stand out of the crowd with this method today.  In fact, I can't think of a fellow designer or packaged script that doesn't use a templating system.

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#12 2013-03-19 15:08:15

mharrison
Member
From: Michigan
Registered: 2013-02-05
Posts: 26

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

schwim wrote:

While this is great from a learning perspective, if you're rolling out something large scale and have limited development time, choosing from one of the thousands of frameworks available to you is common sense.  For instance, I often borrow the session integration of phpBB3 for many community sites.  The amount of time it would take to reconstruct the wheel is just wasted time that I could have used to provide features that the community wants.  I've no desire to write a session system that completely mimics a great one that already exists.

While this was innovative thinking in 1995, I don't know if you really stand out of the crowd with this method today.  In fact, I can't think of a fellow designer or packaged script that doesn't use a templating system.


Could care less about standing out in a crowd.  I'm not shopping my services to large companies...

As for borrowing code that exists...that is fine and dandy...hell, that is how I learned a lot of the languages I know now....take an example, look at it, study it, break it apart and play with it.

I don't recall saying "I'm a professional web designer and what I say is the best path you can take".

I stated my opinion on CMS's and stated why I feel that way.  You are correct, if I were developing on a large scale and had a timeline to follow, I would most likely be a fan of CMS's, however, since I am not a professional web designer shopping my services to large companies where I have huge rollouts and deadlines to meet, CMS's aren't my cup 'o tea.  As I said, I'm not against them, I would rather just have my hands in the code and know what is going on and where it is coming from.  What I do may be reinventing the wheel on a system that already exists...but I have no guessing when I do it myself, unlike the time I tried to put an imagemap in a wordpress blog for someone and had to dig around and google search for an hour to find the 1 file I needed to update and where I needed to update it at.  On my own design, would have taken 1 minute to make that update.

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#13 2013-03-19 15:43:16

schwim
#! Die Hard
From: Interweb's #1 Devotee
Registered: 2012-10-11
Posts: 604

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

Could care less about standing out in a crowd.  I'm not shopping my services to large companies...

Who here mentioned anything about this?  I simply stated if you're doing more than toying around with a low-traffic personal site, your path might not be the way to go.  OP has stated his desire to be some kind of designer/scripter.  Building his own framework to begin his career isn't something I would suggest to anyone.

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#14 2013-03-19 18:26:58

brontosaurusrex
#! Red Menace
Registered: 2012-06-15
Posts: 1,146

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

Also wordpress is actually getting better and better, they are actually removing redundant stuff + the default twenty twelve is a nice child-theme producer for a lot of smaller projects. I do understand the other self-scriptable side as well, i'am using my own video player for years now (standalone, not-integrated into anything + a lot less code than your typical wp style.css)...

Last edited by brontosaurusrex (2013-03-19 18:32:14)

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#15 2013-03-19 19:26:09

hq
#! Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2011-11-30
Posts: 52
Website

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

@brontosaurusrex

What video player do you use?


Dell Studio 1555

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#16 2013-03-19 19:32:03

brontosaurusrex
#! Red Menace
Registered: 2012-06-15
Posts: 1,146

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

hq; a custom minimal php/js loop around the jw-player (waiting to be replaced with pure html5 player in the future).

features:
- generates pages in 0.03 s
- auto thumbs
- pages with thumbs
- search (persistent filter, so you can send urls like filter=stuff2013)
- repeat one, all / auto-advance (jumps from url to url) < cookie based prefs
- and stuff
- no databases (installs in 3s < if i know what i'am doing that day...)
(mostly targeting intranet video demos)

Last edited by brontosaurusrex (2013-03-19 19:39:22)

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#17 2013-03-19 19:37:55

hq
#! Member
From: Poland
Registered: 2011-11-30
Posts: 52
Website

Re: I'm a would-be web designer with no idea what to do next.

^ Thank you smile


Dell Studio 1555

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