Web Design and Development
I design and develop small to medium web sites. I try to design web sites that will work well with both Internet Explorer and Mozilla browsers since most users will be using these browsers. It is also possible to build sites that work well with other browsers if necessary.
The following are other web sites that I have designed, developed and host. They will open in a separate browser window.
- www.EFortuneCookie.CA -- The Electronic Fortune Cookie will randomly display a quotation, proverb or joke
- blogs.EFortuneCookie.CA -- Cookie Crumbles is a humour blog associated with the Electronic Fortune Cookie
- blogs.WolfPawRoad.COM -- Howls is my golf blog and is the first part of the WolfPawRoad golf forum I am developing
- blogs.WCNickerson.CA -- Ramblings is my third blog and it is a catch-all for ideas that don't fit in my other blogs
- www.Trucks-R-Us.CA -- This site is for my wife's business as a consultant to trucking companies in Ontario
- www.SNAP.CA -- My wife is a licensed paralegal in Ontario and this site is for that part of her business
- www.OurSturgeonBay.COM -- The Sturgeon Bay, Pointe au Baril Rate Payers Association website is one that I host and maintain -- the initial design is not mine but I have updated it
There are many different technologies that are used to build web sites. The following is a table of the ones that I currently use.
|XML||Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a general markup language that is becoming widespread for creation of web sites (XHTML) as well as data transfer between applications on the internet and on intranets.|
|CSS||Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to provide centralized style information for web pages. They allow the styles used by the markup language tags to be modified in one place with the changes appearing on any page that uses the stylesheet. They also allow for the separation of content and layout when used properly.|
|PHP||PHP is a scripting language that is run on the web server to create HTML (or other markup language) pages before sending them to the browser.|
|WordPress and bbPress||
WordPress is an open source blog management system. I am currently running 3 blogs using this
system. It is very flexible and allows themes and plugins to be developed to extend its functionality.
The developers of WordPress have also begun work on an open source forum software system called bbPress which can be integrated with the blog software. Their focus is on web standards, ease of use, ease of integration and speed. It is designed to be lean, mean and ready to take on any job you throw at it.
|XOOPS||For web sites that require interaction and user defined content (e.g. blogs, forums, comments, etc.) I use XOOPS. This is an open source product based on PHP and MySQL and is very customizable both in the types of content and the visual look. Feel free to explore my test site: XOOPS, there it is!|
|Apache||The Apache web server is developed by the Apache Software Foundation. It is able to host web sites on servers with many different operating systems including Linux, UNIX, Windows and Mac OS X.|
|IIS||Internet Information Services (IIS) is the web server that is provided by Microsoft. It is only available on Windows operating systems.|
|Other Servers||There are many other web server products available but Apache and IIS are the most popular.|
|Other CMS||The XOOPS software is known as a Content Management System (CMS). There are many other such systems available. Each of them has different strengths and weaknesses.|
Components of Web Sites
There are many things that need to be considered when creating a web site.
|Components of Web Sites|
|Design||This is the first phase of setting up a web site. You need to define content (what you want to say), style (how you want to say it) and navigation (how to find it).|
|Development||The second step is to create the markup language together with any scripts. These are stored in a collection of files.|
|Domain||An important part of the web site is setting up the domain for the site and related e-mail accounts. This involves selecting an available domain name and registering the domain with a registrar.|
|Hosting||The final phase of getting the site up and running is hosting the site. This is putting the files onto a web server so that others can access the site. You will also need to inform the registrar where the site is located by providing them with the nameservers that the host provides. I provide hosting on a Linux host. E-mail for more information on hosting packages.|
|Promotion||Once the site is available people need to be told about it somehow. This can be done by submitting the site to popular search engines or by including the web site address in regular advertising. It is also possible to have similar sites exchange links (provided they aren't your direct competition).|
|Maintainance||Once the site is up, it needs to be maintained and updated as information changes or new information needs to be added.|
|Reports||Monthly usage reports can be generated that show how much traffic the site receives. These can be used to determine whether the site needs to be modified or promoted more. It can also be used to determine whether you have the right hosting plan.|
|Blogs||A Web Log (Blog) can be used to allow people to present their thoughts and ideas in a way that is similar to a newspaper column. The updates to the blog can be made whenever the owner of the blog has something new to say. Most allow user feedback and interaction as well.|
|News/Forums||A web site can be used to present news articles that may be of interest to the users and can also present forums that allow users to ask questions and share information. Most forum software has the concept of membership and priviledges to help ensure that spammers cannot flood the forum.|
|FAQ||A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section can be beneficial if there are questions that are common to many users.|
|Mailing Lists||If you make regular updates to the site, a mailing list can be used to inform people of the changes.|
|E-commerce||E-commerce allows you to sell your products to a wider customer base than a typical brick and mortar operation.|
©William Charles Nickerson (2000 - 2008)