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Lolicon

[web] Need some expert advice

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Hi, newbie here in need of some advice. I am very fluent in HTML and can design professional-looking sites in just that language. I have always prefered to code only in notepad. Now however, I need to build a site with functionality that html alone cannot provide, namely: - The news section will need to be updated daily, by people who don't know how to edit html. They should just have to provide the story title, the story text istelf, and an image. - The news section should have an RSS feed. The RSS feed should update itself whenever someone updates the news. - Only four news stories should ever be displayed at a time; old stories should automatically be archived whenever someone creates a new one. Exactly what language should I learn to be able to implement this funtionality? Asp.net? PhP? Can it all be done in javascript? The other thing I can do is write a program in VB that just outputs the right html after the user inputs their text and image, but the automatic archiving wouldn't be possible there. What do you guys think? And are there any good tutorials on RSS feeds? Oh and, I don't have my own web server to test on, I don't know if this will limit my options or not. Thanks in advance. [Edited by - Lolicon on July 27, 2006 4:14:28 PM]

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I don't have a lot of time to go into lots of details, so I'll be brief:

Quote:
I am very fluent in HTML and can design professional-looking sites in just that language. I have always prefered to code only in notepad. Now however, I need to build a site with functionality that html alone cannot provide, namely:

Since it's likely you'll be venturing off into server side development, you'll want an editor with highlighting. EditPlus, UltraEdit and Notepad++ are three great programs to do this in. Which one to use would be a personal preference.

Quote:
Exactly what language should I learn to be able to implement this funtionality? Asp.net? PhP? Can it all be done in javascript? The other thing I can do is write a program in VB that just outputs the right html after the user inputs their text and image, but the automatic archiving wouldn't be possible there.

That question calls for an opinionated answer, so the best thing would be to use whatever you are more comfortable working and are more experienced with. There's only so much JS will be able to do before you have to get into some kind of server side language to handle the data and store it. If you are familiar with VB, going with ASP.net may be your best choice. If so, I wouldn't be able to do much to help since I don't it, but I'm sure there are plenty of people here that do.

A few options are available. Some of the more simple options are setting up an easy to use form that the user fills out and submits. On the server's end, you would store this information in a database (PostgreSQL, MySQL, etc.). Your pages to list the news would read from that database and show the latest posts. If you're not familiar with doing this, then it could prove to be difficult, but if you're willing to learn, there are an abundant amount of resources that aid in learning these things.

Quote:
- The news section will need to be updated daily, by people who don't know how to edit html. They should just have to provide the story title, the story text istelf, and an image.

You want a form, obviously, and need a text box, textarea box, and possible a file input for them to upload the image. Is the image going to be anywhere on the news article or will it always be in a specific spot?

Next is handling this submitted data. This is where the server side language comes in. Since they don't know HTML, I would recommend, instead of using <textarea>, that you incorporate FCKEditor: http://www.fckeditor.net/ It's an excellent web based text editor that offers a lot of control and flexibility.

Quote:
- The news section should have an RSS feed. The RSS feed should update itself whenever someone updates the news.

I haven't messed with RSS feeds, but getting one setup should be fairly simple. Google it ;)


Quote:
- Only four news stories should ever be displayed at a time; old stories should automatically be archived whenever someone creates a new one.

This is probably the easiest step, but requires a proper setup as mentioned above.


Quote:
Oh and, I don't have my own web server to test on, I don't know if this will limit my options or not.

This could be a big problem, especially if you're going into server side programming. If you've got a spare PC (or harddrive) then you can install Ubuntu or Fedora Core and run a local web server for your testing. Then again, this requires a little more than the most basic Linux knowledge.

So much for brief. I hope this helps.

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Original post by Mathachew
Quote:
Oh and, I don't have my own web server to test on, I don't know if this will limit my options or not.

This could be a big problem, especially if you're going into server side programming. If you've got a spare PC (or harddrive) then you can install Ubuntu or Fedora Core and run a local web server for your testing. Then again, this requires a little more than the most basic Linux knowledge.

You can install Apache on windows without much hassle. In fact, there is at least one "WAMP" package in which all you have to do is hit a run button. I usually set up a local server on my local machine despite having many spare machines to work with.

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Original post by kordova
In fact, there is at least one "WAMP" package in which all you have to do is hit a run button. I usually set up a local server on my local machine despite having many spare machines to work with.


Yup. WAMPP. It comes with PHP and MySQL for serverside scripting. If I were you I would stick to PHP or maybe Python or Perl for serverside scripting, for the simple reason that you need IIS to run ASP.net code (which means you need Windows hosting which is more expensive).

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Quote:
Original post by kordova
In fact, there is at least one "WAMP" package in which all you have to do is hit a run button. I usually set up a local server on my local machine despite having many spare machines to work with.


Yup. WAMPP. It comes with PHP and MySQL for serverside scripting. If I were you I would stick to PHP or maybe Python or Perl for serverside scripting, for the simple reason that you need IIS to run ASP.net code (which means you need Windows hosting which is more expensive).


I didn't know a LAMP-like package was done for Windows! I always use Linux for server setups since it's so versatile. Windows is another story... it makes me look like I'm not an MCSE :|

There's much more of a hassle going with a Windows server; lots of added baggage. Then again, if you don't know what you're doing with Linux, the same could be said.

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If your going to use an all in one package, may is suggest XAMPP.

http://www.apachefriends.org/en/xampp.html

Its free, easy to install and has more functionality than you can shake a stick at.

On a side note, if you choose to use PHP & MySql may I recommend this.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0672326728/026-5518900-5877210?v=glance&n=266239

I know there are plenty of decent online tutorials out there, but if you fancy getting a decent guide then I cant recommend it highly enough.

EDIT : Ooooops, I just realised Mathachew suggested XAMPP, I got thrown off as he mispelt it :)

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I am thinking it might be easier to download and set up a package like WordPress or TextPattern. Don't be scared away by the fact that these packages are "blogging software". They can actually be used to build pretty much any kind of site you wish.

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Original post by Tesseract
I am thinking it might be easier to download and set up a package like WordPress or TextPattern. Don't be scared away by the fact that these packages are "blogging software". They can actually be used to build pretty much any kind of site you wish.


Heh, that's what my company uses (TextPattern). I had the time of my life trying to get our search feature to show "No results found." when, well, no results were found! Turns out I had to install a TextPattern Plug-in as getting just about anything to print onto the screen in my trial and error'ing gave me nothing (quite frustrating).

It is useful, however, in that it does both news updates and updates an RSS feed. You might want to consider this if you find you are unable to squeeze in learning PHP, PostgreSQL/MySQL, etc.

Also, how do you intend to use this site if you have no web server?

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Original post by Mathachew
Also, how do you intend to use this site if you have no web server?

I'm designing the site for someone else...

I think I'll try that TextPattern thing. If that doesn't work the way I want it too, I'll probably just code something of my own that outputs the right html files.

Thanks for the responses.

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