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Technical platform for Web site?

Discussion in 'IT Christian Forum' started by DanielGarneau, May 15, 2014.

  1. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau Member

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    Hello,

    My website is currently .html and .css based only. It gives me full control of everything, but it is cumbersome to maintain, especially when I want to add a new structural element.

    So, I spent some time investigating and experimenting with WordPress (WP), Drupal, and other Content Management Systems (CMS), designed to make life easier in developing and maintaining a web site.

    I was able to produce a menu driven prototypal web site using Drupal, but not using WordPress. With the WordPress platorm I can't seem to be able to go beyond the blog look and feel.

    I also tried a few other CMS but they did not seem to support multilanguage as Drupal and WP seem to be able to do, although with some degree of risk, as I understand.

    One very important point that makes me hesitate before moving platform is that I understand what is going on with my site as it is now, but with any of these CMS platforms, I am not exacly sure I will be able to know what is going on if a technical problem comes up.

    So for now I am sticking to my .css and .html based web site, but would like to move to an easier to maintain platform.

    Anyone interested in providing insight?
     
  2. HammerStone

    HammerStone Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    I do this for a living both with my day job and my side company.

    I took a look through your website the other day after reading your join thread and marked it as not using a CMS. (Yes, us nerds do that when we visit a new site just to see what people are running.)

    Honestly, your website would conform to that of a blog much more so than something like Drupal or Joomla. I would recommend you invest the time with Wordpress(WP) further, because I don't think you've made it into where WP really excels for something like this.

    Wordpress has both posts and pages. Pages can be thought of as static content. Something like your about and contact pages would be pages in Wordpress. You would then use the posts functionality for your articles. They key with Wordpress is to use the metadata/category (tagging) functionality for articles as posts. You would be able to tag posts and then they would be automatically grouped when you post them. This means no more adding links to the appropriate page, etc.

    As far as the look, it can be manipulated. Since you are savvy with HTML & CSS, I would suggest looking into some of the frameworks out there. Here is a listing of them, I would probably look into either Cherry or Themematic: http://webdesignpix.com/2014/best-free-wordpress-frameworks-2014/
     
  3. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau Member

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    HammerStone,

    Thank you,

    your advice encouraged me to reopen this study left behind about three months ago. I had been focusing on Drupal for the most part of three weeks or so, but then realized it would probably be a lot of work to set up and maintain the site. When I came to WordPress I had run out of free time. This time around, I will try to understand the outworkings of WordPress. Themematic provides a tutorial that I began to work through, while WordPress is installed in a private development section of my web site.

    Thank you!
     
  4. HammerStone

    HammerStone Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    If you come to a roadblock, drop me a line. Not sure I'll know the answer, but we'll find it.

    Drupal is uber robust as a CMS, but it takes a lot of time to master. I've never invested the time to fully learn it. With what you are doing, I personally think it would be overkill. Drupal is best at large websites with a number of features like social aspects or managing a larger magazine style operation with a bunch of nifty features.

    Much success in your endeavors! :)
     
  5. laid renard

    laid renard New Member

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    My computer has Paint.
     
  6. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau Member

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    HammerStone,

    using the Thematic Theme Framework, I was finally able to figure out how to create a menu driven interface for my web site. You can look at the result at www.savoiretcroire.ca/en/. No images yet, just the raw structure, and my most important contents.

    Now I was thinking of loading a new instance of WordPress into an /../es/ section of my site, and then a /../fr/ section to make the site trilingual. Reason I am thinking in that direction is that it seems that you have to load an awful lot of plug ins if you want to make a single instance of WordPress truly multilingual, and I don't know which are reliable and which are not.

    So I figure if I just have three independent sites, I reduce the technical risks of loosing everything because I am not savy enough with CMS in general and with WordPress in particular.

    One case in point. I created this site using a ../dev/preprod/wp/ section. Moving my site was very simple, applying the instructions I found in a WordPress codex that answered my question exactly. The codex said moving a multi site was more complex. So I am shying away from anything that is not easy enough to understand now...

    So do you think I am making a mistake by trying to maintain three instances of WordPress, or should I adopt a plug in and make my site truly multlingual? and if so, which direction should I look into for plugins that won't break my site down the road.

    Here I am talking from experience, because while prototyping Drupal, I used all of the multilingual functionalities and plug ins, but there were so many of them that eventually I ran into conflicts I did not have a clue as to how to fix, and I lost my site completely without having the know how to recuperate it.

    Thank you for offering to answer my questions. I hope it might also be of some use to some of www.christianityboard.com members.

    I like to think of the following verse when I work at my Web Site, whether creating contents for it or setting it up with technical tools such as filezilla, html, css, wordpress, which I had to learn using one by one through the months :
    "LORD [...] all that we have accomplished you have done for us" (Isaiah 26:12, NIV 2011).

    Daniel
     
  7. HammerStone

    HammerStone Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    I would invest the time in researching and learning the plugins.

    Any time you create a product (or website), you create a maintenance cycle. The product must be maintained against updates, exploits, and even just the day to day tasks of creating and maintaining content. Creating three websites means creating three cycles of work.

    The trick with plugins is to heavily use the Wordpress plugins that you can research on the site. Whenever I am researching a plugin for my own site, or even a client's website, I am looking at the reviews, support forum and even a quick Google search. I'm looking for patterns of trouble and paying attention to actual user comments. If you stay at 4 stars and above, for instance, with the Wordpress repository, then you will generally be pretty safe.

    On top of that, I always work to keep quality backups, and then employ a test development site to see if things might blow up when I add a new plugin if it's a live environment.


    I'm actually internally debating the use of Drupal for a magazine style website I want to develop. Drupal takes a ton of time in terms of the learning curve and getting plugins to work. It's so robust that its strengths can be a weakness when it comes to a smaller website. Wordpress plugins can conflict, but the ratio of plugin conflicts seem to be a good bit less common.


    Great verse! This is actually a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. We are imago Dei. I believe our creator endowed us, blessedly, with the ability to create as well, be it literature, artwork, businesses or websites. I do not think that many Christians possess a robust theology for creativity, as I have been there myself. One of the pastors I follow phrased it such that (paraphrasing here) Christians should be as innovative as Apple, creative as Google, and robust as Microsoft.

    It doesn't mean that we should all become Christianity, Inc., but I believe there is something to us creating what God calls us to create! It is for his glory and his doing by endowing us with these talents.
     
  8. Arnie Manitoba

    Arnie Manitoba Well-Known Member

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    Too bad we cant find someone to fix this website

    A person cannot respond to different people is different posts because this forum mushes them all together

    I have never seen that on any other forum on the internet. Only here.

    Modern computer nerds want pop, snazz and sizzle , never considering whether it is useful or not
     
  9. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau Member

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    HammerStone,

    Thank you for your encouragement about creativity, and for your advice about WordPress plug-ins.

    Daniel
     
  10. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau Member

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    Hello HammerStone,

    JUST FOR THE RECORDS...

    Just for the records, I did follow your previous advice. It led me to install the Polylang multilanguage WordPress plugin. With it I need only one site domain for all my languages, which is easier as you had said.

    The Thematic framework helped me understand how WordPress operated with pages vs menus. Now I switched to the TwentyTen WordPress theme, because it provides some "out of the box" features that are useful to me, and because, TwnentyTen and Thematics were the only frameworks or themes that did not break under my older Internet Explorer 9. All the others looked great with Mozilla Firefox, but they broke down with Explorer.

    QUESTION...

    Before I posted my previous questions to you, I had moved my site from "www.example.preprod.ca" to "www.example.ca/en/". My purpose was to make sure I could move the site without breaking it. At that time I was working with the idea of managing my translations as three separates sites /en/ and /sp/ and /fr/.

    The Softaculus WordPress installer provided by my host (register4less) indicates the location of that WordPress installation where it was before I moved it. So I am wondering if that will not cause some problems when WordPress goes through its automatic updating through the months and years.

    Apart from that, my moving the site, using WordPress codex instructions, worked just fine. So I would intend to move my site again. But this time, from where it is now (maindomain/en/) to the maindomain itself. The concern I have here is about the coabitation of my old css and html based site with this new php site. I'm not sure how I should go about not loosing my visitor base to the current index.html and all its sub pages, while at the same time moving my entire WordPress setup with its index.php file and all to my maindomain.ca directory.

    Any comments on what direction I should look into?

    One step at the time,

    Thanks,

    Daniel
     
  11. RANDOR

    RANDOR Fishin Everyday

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    Daniel.............this not a computer website my friend..................suit up, crab your sword, Your savior raised you up for a time such as this. :)
     
  12. HammerStone

    HammerStone Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Daniel, my apologies for not seeing this; feel free to send me a PM if I don't respond for a time!


    Yes, there was a major jump in functionality and rendering from IE9 to IE10. We are still on IE9 at work, so I understand your frustrations and limitations.


    The good news is that it won't. At issue here is that these installers were created prior to Wordpress having automatic updates. They accounted for not only installing Wordpress, but also updating Wordpress. Since Wordpress now auto updates, this is done through Wordpress and no longer requires that third party installer. The pathway you see is a legacy config setting from the installer, so it shouldn't hurt anything.


    You will be able to redirect all pages at /en/ to /index.html. This can be done with an .htaccess redirect. If the end part of the URL stayed the same, then you can probably do a 1 to 1.
     
  13. Madad21

    Madad21 Boast in Christ

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    This is all very interesting
     
  14. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau Member

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    Hello Madad,

    yes, it's behind me now... and I enjoy the pictures you are expressing yourself with, even if I initially took your laughing donkey for a laughing cow...

    Hello Randor,

    I did note your encouragement for me to get back to the main business life is all about. And now it seems I'll be able to do other things than trying to figure out how the technicalities of modifying the platform from which a web site is running. It was quite daunting, as I was afraid my site would go down and not be available for people who were visiting it up to then. But I did it and my new site interface lives.

    Hello HammerStone,

    Thank you for your advice. It has been quite difficult for me to understand everything I needed to know before moving my site from its css and html base to the WordPress CMS platform, while knowing I would not loose previous work and while preserving the obsolete links so they could be rerouted to my new site interface.

    Come on, Arnie Manitoba,

    Be patient with this site if you encounter any difficulties with it. May I suggest you open up a posting where you explain in a descriptive manner what the problem is so that other people who have found solutions to it can help us all making christianityboard.com a great experience relationally and technically. For my part, the use I'm doing of the forum's functionalities is working pretty good generally. And when facing glitches, there is Raised Renard who used to call herself Laid Renard who makes me laugh about the whole issue, and HammerStone to nail it down.

    May God bless all of us happy christianityboard.com members.

    Daniel Garneau
     
  15. Arnie Manitoba

    Arnie Manitoba Well-Known Member

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    Daniel .... I have brought it up numerous times to no avail.

    The worst thing about this forum is we cannot reply to different people in separate posts , this software mushes them all together. It is like having a book without separate chapters and paragraphs

    Hammerstone is reading this thread and I thought he would notice , he owns the forum

    This forum has changed its software at least 3 times and mostly was harmful

    I have been a member probably since 2005 or so , but had to start new accounts because of the screwups from the changeovers

    For example if I quoted someone I disagreed with (scripturaly) ... and then gave my reasons .... after the software changeover it made it look like I was stating the false doctrines.

    But hey !!!! with the new software you can have pink borders !!!!

    I should also add that I have been long term on many other forums , technical , professional , aviation etc ,... none of them ever changed the platform and they work just fine today

    And 10 year old archived posts can be accessed just as they were originally written

    Without pink borders.

    pop snazz and sizzle should not be required in christian discussions

    But thats just me.
     
  16. DanielGarneau

    DanielGarneau Member

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    Hello Arnie,

    Thank you for describing the problem to me. I do not have extended experience with forums, Christians or otherwise, but I did in a French language forum respond to someone who had misunderstood my post as if I had been offending him wilfully. Then when I explained what I meant, the person who had felt criticized removed his postings, which makes my answer seem a little strange dangling there without any context.

    I still think it might be a good idea to open a thread which would deal with whatever specific technical issues we all need to be concerned about. One other English language forum I was involved in for a little while seemed to have very few participants, so I thought, hey, OK, I'll come back in a few months to see if anything has moved. At that time I was met with a new platform and the requirement to register anew. And all of my previous postings on that forum were no longer available. So that problem I did experience.

    Personally I kind of like the way this forum works, and when I want to talk to someone individually I use the mail functionality. But you know, I have my own web site, and technically there are things that require so much time and know-how, I tend to be patient... But losing postings would be awful... I hope HammerStone has a sturdy backup and restore procedure to fall back on so that if ever worst come to worst only 24 hours of postings and other data would be lost.

    God bless you !
     
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