Web Site development on Mac

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by demallien, May 5, 2006.

  1. demallien macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2005
    Recently, I got shafted into creating an online store for someone. I'm not a professional web-designer, I generally hack in embedded C. But my partner said "Hey! you're a programmer, you can make one of those website thingies", and promptly offered my services to a friend to build a site...

    Anyway, now that I have to do this, I was wondering what the best solution might be? I've quickly played around with WebObjects (very quickly), and have had a squizz at Ruby On Rails, which I quite like. Is there any other poor programmer that has been shafted with a task like this? If so, what solution did you end up using? And how painful was it?
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Generally: Look into php and mysql to build the site, all you need is a nice text editor like the free TextWrangler (which is excellent for C, too) and maybe a s/ftp program like Cyberduck (not really necessary since TextWrangler has built-in s/ftp functionality, but I prefer to have an ftp program at hand ;)).

    Basic XHTML and CSS is really very easy, at least it shouldn't be too hard if you know C... :cool:

    Webstore: That's a pretty large job (if you want lots of features and keep it secure), I would look into one of the open source solutions, like osCommerce. It's generally easier to customize that than make a solution from scratch.
  3. demallien thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2005
    Yeah, but I figured it would be a good excuse to get off my lazy backside and learn a new technology :) In general, I'm not getting paid for this, so the only benefit I'll get is if I can learn something useful along the way, hence Rails ;-)
  4. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Building an online store is a very bad idea if you have no experience. You have to learn to say no ...

    But if you can't in this particular case, take a look at the "Petshop" example applications. There are (that I know of) implementations in .NET and Java.

    Customizing an existing example is the only way you're going to be able to do this properly and securely. You can start to branch out on your own with your second implementation.
  5. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    Ditto, if I get offered projects that are over my head (or I just don't have time to do) I say no. It's better to say no than to make promises you can't keep.
  6. desenso macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2005
    I would pick up the following book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/09...f=pd_bbs_1/002-0441450-3101646?_encoding=UTF8

    It's a Rails book and, as its case study, describes building an online store. Seems like the perfect solution for you.. just make sure that what you create is secure. I think that goes without saying.. you're a programmer, so you know what you're doing.

    The Ruby on Rails people that make those snazy screencasts are using http://macromates.com/ to program in rails. However, it costs money and (as far as I know), doesn't have an FTP / SFTP option. I guess it's great for offline devleopment, but as others have noted, TextWrangler is the best way to make a quick change to a document that's online.

    As far as the HTML and CSS go, they're not complicated at all. However, you're going to be hard pressed to make something beautiful, so that might be the part of the site that you turn over to someone else. If you decide not to, just make it very simple... after all, simple is in fashion at the moment. No need to try and make something more complicated. I would pick up the following book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/15...002-0441450-3101646?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
    It will pretty much outline how to do everything you might need when doing the design side of the site. Like I said though... be aware of your own limits, given that you're not a designer (yet).

    Beyond that, I totally encourage you to expand your skill set and mess with Rails. It's an exciting new technology and will be great. If you're familiar with PHP already, be aware that there are similar frameworks being developed to compete with rails. As far as I can tell, http://cakephp.org/ and http://www.symfony-project.com/ are the front-runners in that department. I don't have experience with any of them, but they all have pretty active communities.

    Best of luck, and let us know how it goes.
  7. demallien thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2005
    I'm not that naïve. I do online security as my day-job, which is the only reason that I would even consider taking on this task. My real problem is making the html play nice with the database. That's an area where I have little experience...
  8. demallien thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 13, 2005

    OK, thanks for the advice :) I had actually already picked up a copy of the Rails book, and I agree, it's a great crutch for getting a website up and running. On the other hand, I have also been worrying about deployment. Rails-enabled servers aren't exactly everywhere at the moment, which is why I started to think that perhaps Rails wasn't the way to go. Has anyone here deployed a Rails site yet (or has plans to)?
  9. desenso macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2005
    Ditto on the concern for finding a good server to deploy Rails on. I tried, using my host (http://www.asmallorange.com) and although it worked, I kind of got frustrated with a Rails problem and gave up. I can't judge whether ASO provides good Rails hosting or not. I've seen certain complaints on their forums.

    That's why I looked into the PHP frameworks that I linked you. Those were nice because I could get the ones that supported PHP4 up and running easily. But then it occured to me that they were all being compared to Rails, and each 'review' seemed to describe how and in what specific way the PHP framework failed to live up to the Rails example. That got me thinking - if all of these are seen as inferior to Rails, then why am I looking at alternate solutions?

    It's finals week here, so I'm not playing with stuff, but over the summer I plan to mess with Rails. I figure there's going to be at least a handful of good Rails hosts out there, and if the framework is as good as people say it is, it'll be worth the search.

    Please keep us updated on your progress.. I'd like to hear about your experiences.

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