Amateur Web Design & Development
scroll down for hints on using this particular one

I don’t claim to know very much about the subject, but it’s all I need to know. So let this page stand as a place where I can send people to explain why I cannot answer their questions.

I have never written software, aside from a short time many years ago when I found myself needing to write assembly language for an Intel 80C8x, and had no one to help me. Creating and managing a website is not particularly complicated but has lots of moving parts that need to be well coordinated. Starting with definitions of terms that often get misused.

  • When someone refers to the “frontend”, they are talking about the “design” and “development” pieces of the project.
  • “Design” is all about colors, fonts, and the general presentation of the subject matter.
  • “Development” takes the “design” and puts it into a coded format that browsers can understand.
  • If someone says they are in the “backend”, that means “hosting”, etc., including the computer hardware and network stuff.
  • “Hosting” means that you need to buy a “domain name” and hire someone to maintain what you have created and give it a presence on the Internet.[i]Technically we should call it the Web or WWW because the Internet includes much more than that.
  • A “domain” is something like www.PatchenCalifornia.com. You have to buy yours through ICANN, but your “hosting” service can do that for you.
  • There is a big difference between a “website” and a “web app” – more later.

I have designed websites, and until a few years ago, I relied exclusively on my good friend and mentor, Matt Knowles, to develop, maintain, and host them for me. He grew up in the canyons of Silicon Valley and moved to northern California some years ago, where he works from his home. I advise others to talk with Matt or someone with similar experience before jumping in or spending money.

I think of this in three categories.

– Hard-Coded[ii]The tools are the basic ones, like html and css that create content for browser consumption in the fasted and most efficient way.
If you are Honda or United Airlines or just an aspiring Proctor and Gamble type start-up, you are going to need an office building full of people and others in far-off places, writing code around the clock.
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Here is a link to online courses I took on html and css a few years ago.
– The Middle Ground
If you are stuck in the middle, like I am, you have some choices. There are Content Management System Development platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and Joomla.I have had some experience with some of those, but I use WordPress on Matt’s advice. I can do what I need with plugins and occasional help from Matt if I need to hard code something. Here is a brief summary of a couple of the most popular tools.
– Drag & Drop & Pay
If you want to publish your son’s soccer team schedules and scores, you will likely be happy with one of the options available from Wix or similar – from GoDaddy and others. They all do the same things. You can even set up an online store with them but that’s probably not the best place to do that.These keep expanding and getting better, but one downside is that you pay monthly and often a commission on sales so it can get expensive. You are also stuck with them for life because they do the maintenance and hosting for you and you can not take the content you have created with you.
hints on using this particular one

mostly reminders to me
  • WordPress has two editors – a “classic” one and a “block editor” called Gutenberg. I mostly use the classic, but mix in some things from Gutenbert, and occasional hard coding. That can be hard to read, but it works.
  • For HTML tables, I use a plugin called TablePress, which has an Auto updater that is very handy but a little complicated to use
    • It updates from an Excel file, a csv file, or a Google Sheet. I prefer the Google Sheet approach because I want the website to keep working after I am gone, and I expect Google to be around for the long-term, while my Windows Network will probably not.

      click

    • The Google Sheets account is KisamaGrande@gmail.com
      • Create the file in Excel because Sheets is pretty clumsy.
      • Upload it to Sheets and edit there for future changes.
      • Get a URL for the Sheet using the Share feature and change the end of it to read like this (/export?format=xlsx)
      • Import the Sheets file to Table Press and do the formatting with css
By: Jim
Written: June 2022
Published: June 2022
Revised: 
Reader feedback always appreciated
footnotes
footnotes
i Technically we should call it the Web or WWW because the Internet includes much more than that.
ii The tools are the basic ones, like html and css that create content for browser consumption in the fasted and most efficient way.