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Old Apr 13, 2013, 10:56 AM   #1
skaertus
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Software for webdesign

I am in search of software for webdesign. My purpose is to create a professional-level webpage for the firm I work in. The intent is to build a high-level webpage that will match or even surpass the websites of the top-notch firms in my country. Therefore, I'm not looking into some amateur software which will help me create my personal webpage or blog. It's some serious stuff, and it must have a professional standard of quality, meet the required standards to be viewable on every web browser in a variety of gadgets and platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, etc) and be easily found with a Google search.

The thing is: the current website absolutely sucks, but people at my firm found it adequate and don't want to hire a professional webdesign to do the job. I have to do it on my own to prove my point. And yes, I'm not willing to afford to buy the whole Adobe Creative Suite package, as the software will be funded by myself, and not by the firm which will be the beneficiary of the job. So, it has to be cheap or at least not very expensive software, although professional-level.

And yet another thing: I would like to avoid coding as much as I can. I've learned to program in HTML some 15 years ago, but I've not used that ever since. I'm no programmer and my job is not related to programming or to computers. In addition, I don't have time for a steep learning curve, as I've got a lot of work to do. I want the software to be as simple as possible, and produce WYSIWYG webpages seamlessly. I don't want template-based software to create webpages that people will be able to track down to the template I've used to create it. If the software is templated-based, I would like to be able to freely modify the template in order to reach the final result I want to.

So, here's a very difficult task (if it was easy, I wouldn't ask for advice): finding software which is top-notch and professional, cheap and easy to use. Although I have looked into software for Mac, Windows software would do as well.

At US$ 399, Adobe Dreamweaver is not an option I'm currently considering. So far, I've looked at the following alternatives:

Muse (US$ 15 per month)
Sandvox (US$ 80)
Rapid Weaver (US$ 79)
Flux (89 pounds)
Freeway Pro (US$ 150)

Would any of the alternatives above work for me? Or is Dreamweaver the best and required for professional-level work for some reason?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 13, 2013, 11:52 AM   #2
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Honestly your best bet is to use a CMS. Either WordPress or Joomla would be good. Neither has a steep learning curve but WordPress is a bit easier. Once you pick the one you want to use then just get a nice theme and customize it to your needs.

You can check out the following links for themes:

http://woothemes.com
http://www.rocketheme.com
http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress/

If you want quick and easy with no coding, this is the way to go.
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Old Apr 13, 2013, 03:44 PM   #3
James Craner
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I would recommend Wordpress as well, pretty easy to learn and free, although you may want to pay for a good looking theme. There are loads of plugins available to enhance the site you create.

Although Wordpress started off as a blogging platform it can be used to produce some really professional looking sites.

Here is a site built with Wordpress, but they did design their own theme.
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Old Apr 13, 2013, 10:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rocknblogger View Post
Honestly your best bet is to use a CMS. Either WordPress or Joomla would be good. Neither has a steep learning curve but WordPress is a bit easier. Once you pick the one you want to use then just get a nice theme and customize it to your needs.

You can check out the following links for themes:

http://woothemes.com
http://www.rocketheme.com
http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress/

If you want quick and easy with no coding, this is the way to go.
Thank you for the advice. I'll try Wordpress and Joomla and see how it works out.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Craner View Post
I would recommend Wordpress as well, pretty easy to learn and free, although you may want to pay for a good looking theme. There are loads of plugins available to enhance the site you create.

Although Wordpress started off as a blogging platform it can be used to produce some really professional looking sites.

Here is a site built with Wordpress, but they did design their own theme.
Thanks!
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Old Apr 13, 2013, 10:37 PM   #5
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I can second Joomla, I've used it and I'm no web developer. There is a learning curve, and I wouldn't say it's as easy as Wordpress.
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Old Apr 13, 2013, 10:46 PM   #6
Jessica Lares
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skaertus View Post
Would any of the alternatives above work for me? Or is Dreamweaver the best and required for professional-level work for some reason?
WordPress is good, however Joomla has a huge learning curve compared to WP. Coding something yourself would be hard, especially since you haven't coded in such a long time.

If you know your way around Dreamweaver, stick to it. Adobe now has the Creative Cloud package and it's only $20 a month if you only go with that one program.

https://creative.adobe.com/plans
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Old Apr 14, 2013, 09:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica Lares View Post
WordPress is good, however Joomla has a huge learning curve compared to WP. Coding something yourself would be hard, especially since you haven't coded in such a long time.

If you know your way around Dreamweaver, stick to it. Adobe now has the Creative Cloud package and it's only $20 a month if you only go with that one program.

https://creative.adobe.com/plans
Thank you for the advice. In fact, I have no particular expertise in Dreamweaver. I could use any other software to edit webpages.

As for WordPress, is there any software that allows one to create or edit WordPress templates?
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Old Apr 14, 2013, 11:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by skaertus View Post
Thank you for the advice. In fact, I have no particular expertise in Dreamweaver. I could use any other software to edit webpages.

As for WordPress, is there any software that allows one to create or edit WordPress templates?
I use Espresso. http://macrabbit.com/espresso/

I really like the live editing of CSS. I think that would be beneficial for you. You can extract the CSS file, make edits, see it change instantly, and then save it out and upload it. If you find a theme that has a setup you like already, just editing the CSS file is really the only thing you have to deal with.
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Old Apr 14, 2013, 01:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skaertus View Post
Thank you for the advice. In fact, I have no particular expertise in Dreamweaver. I could use any other software to edit webpages.

As for WordPress, is there any software that allows one to create or edit WordPress templates?
I think you're underestimating the difficulties of creating themes for WordPress. You need to be proficient in Photoshop to create header, footer, sidebar background images. Then you have to know how to slice them for web use, then you have to know some CSS and some php to put it all together. You're much better off buying a nice them and customizing it. Or you could download a free one from WordPress.org.

Then there are free framework themes with excellent support like http://themeshaper.com/thematic/
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Old Apr 14, 2013, 02:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rocknblogger View Post
I think you're underestimating the difficulties of creating themes for WordPress. You need to be proficient in Photoshop to create header, footer, sidebar background images. Then you have to know how to slice them for web use, then you have to know some CSS and some php to put it all together. You're much better off buying a nice them and customizing it. Or you could download a free one from WordPress.org.

Then there are free framework themes with excellent support like http://themeshaper.com/thematic/
As for the creation of images in Photoshop and similar programs, I have no difficulty. However, I have never used WordPress before, and I have no idea on how these themes are created.
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Old Apr 14, 2013, 02:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skaertus View Post
As for the creation of images in Photoshop and similar programs, I have no difficulty. However, I have never used WordPress before, and I have no idea on how these themes are created.
And that's why you're better off starting with an existing theme. It'll make life much easier for you if you already have a theme you could work with.

Here's a really good post about ten good theme frameworks you can start with.
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Old Apr 14, 2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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I should add that most themes, especially the commercial ones come with lots of configuration options for colour schemes, different page designs and buttons, drop downs, tables other elements. You can make two websites look quite different even if you use the same theme for both.

My advice would be to take a look at themes available on something like ThemeForest and pick one that is close to what you are looking for.
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Last edited by James Craner; Apr 14, 2013 at 03:34 PM.
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Old Apr 16, 2013, 10:12 PM   #13
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Word of caution, if you are planning to start a wordpress site I highly recommend two things.

First do not use the user name admin as there is a major botnet that is doing bruteforce attacks on wordpress sites.

Second, download a plugin like bulletproof or better security to lock down your site.
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Old May 11, 2013, 08:14 AM   #14
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Wordpress 1st choice
Joomla 2nd choice

Wordpress is the best out there
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Old Jun 7, 2013, 09:44 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the advice! Been very useful.
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