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Web Software

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  • Web Software

    A non-drumming question (I know many folks here are technically oriented and maybe one of you could offer a little advice). I am looking for some decent software for web development. Nothing crazy, mind you. Basically, I'm the interim webmaster for our running club's website ( www.uticaroadrunners.org ) since our former webmaster bowed out. Anyway, I've done some web work before but the demands are a little different for our club. For my own stuff (like the site I maintain for my students) I use the freeware Page Breeze editor and WSFTP. For the club site, I need something that will automate some functions. For example, I want to create a navigation template that will be used on all pages (currently we use buttons but might go to drop-down menus) so I don't have to change each page when the navigation needs change. Also, we often get dozens, sometimes hundreds, of digital photos of races. I'd like an easy way to either create a slide show or create the thumbnails and a view page by just dragging a bunch of pic files over or specifying an import directory. I'm not looking for fancy animations or Flash stuff. The "fanciest" thing might be having a different pic on the home page with each view (i.e., pulled randomly from a pic directory).

    The former webmaster used Go Live, but I understand that it is no longer available (even if it was, I have no reason to be tied to it).

    Any comments or recommendations would be welcome.

  • #2
    For your common navigation on each page of the site, whatever Integrated Development Environment you get for the web will probably have its own way of handling this (templates, includes, etc.), but at a fundamental level, most websites handle this by means of a Server-Side Include (SSI) and should be easy to add depending on the type of server your site runs on and whether its server programming frameworks are enabled. SSIs can basically add parts from constituent, fragmented HTML files via some simple markup on each page at the time the "main" page is requested. If all of your pages add a navigation SSI in their body, then you'll only need update the navigation file itself (and you won't have to worry about client-side caching).

    Speaking of Client-Side, if you don't want to/can't use an SSI, then there are ways to create a Client-Side include, mainly through Javascript. If your navigation element is mostly Javascript based anyway, as it would be for those drop down menus, then that may be the best way to go. Google "HTML Client Side Include" and you'll get lots of hits, I'm sure.

    I prefer SSI, but I've used whatever is most appropriate for a given project. They can each have advantages.

    As far as Web Development packages go, I've been hand-coding for a very long time, and though I use Visual Studio.NET, I tend to use it mainly for text editing (glorified Notepad) .... not the way it was intended by its creators for creating web projects.

    I know, not the answer you were looking for, but a little extra knowledge on the topic of including one file within another can't hurt. Sometimes, learning a couple low-level tasks is better than taking on an entirely new Web Development package. Sometimes not. Good luck with your solutions!

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