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.

Sample Sites

The following are other web sites that I have designed, developed and host. They will open in a separate browser window.

Technologies

There are many different technologies that are used to build web sites. The following is a table of the ones that I currently use.

Technologies
HTML DHTML XHTML These are the core of the World Wide Web. They are markup languages that are used to provide the content for the web. HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is the original markup language used for the web. DHTML stands for Dynamic HTML and is a term that is often used when HTML is combined with scripting technologies (such as JavaScript) to produce pages that are not static (e.g. popup menus, scrolling text, rollovers). XHTML is an XML based version of HTML. While it does everything that HTML does, there are some minor differences.
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 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.
JavaScript JavaScript is a scripting language that can be embedded into a web page. The browser is responsible to understand and execute the script. This allows the web page to do more than just present text without needing to request information from the web server. Other scripting languages can be used but JavaScript is the most popular and is supported by most browsers.
PHP 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 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 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 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.
Other Technologies
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.
Other Features
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.