Best Program/Language to make product showcase websites like these?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by NewSc2, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. NewSc2 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #1
    I'm getting my feet wet into design. I have basic html knowledge -- had my own little html blog for a while. My experience stops at more complicated things like tables and frames.

    I'm looking to make a product showcase website like these two:

    Conklin Pen
    Conway Stewart (without the Flash intro)

    Basically with product pages, main pages, contact info, etc. I've been doing some snooping around in Dreamweaver but it looks like most of the work I'd have to do is in Photoshop, making all the buttons and borders, right?

    I'm not looking to have a shopping cart or anything, just a basic website with products, collections, and individual images.

    What program should I be looking for and what language/program should I be looking to learn to do this? I've read the stickies and have gotten a basic idea of the programs and languages out there, but from what I can tell I could do everything in even just html.
     
  2. Balin64 macrumors 6502a

    Balin64

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    In a Mauve Dream
    #2
    I would suggest DreamWeaver. It also comes with a lot of templates.
     
  3. angelwatt Moderator emeritus

    angelwatt

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    Yea, HTML could do all that for those pages. There are a good number of images on them, but that's still mostly added to pages via HTML. You'd also want to get a decent handle on CSS to style your pages. You mentioned tables and frames, but honestly, stay away from those unless you're using the tables for data. Layout of pages should be done through CSS.

    If you are going to have a ton of products you may want to look at PHP and MySQL and store product information in a database (DB) and use PHP to access the DB and display them on the page. This is only if you have a large amount though.

    As far as applications to use to create code, it depends if you want a graphical interface, or delve into the code itself. Dreamweaver can do both so is a decent place to start looking. I use BBEdit, but is just a text editor (in comparison to a graphical interface). There's a number of threads in this forum that talk about applications so you can search through them if you want.

    As you get more comfortable with HTML and CSS I'd recommend looking at JavaScript. At least if you intend on continuing to learn more about web design.
     
  4. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #4
    my 2 cents...

    Hi, as a person who has GoLive & DreamWeaver, but has recently switched over to RapidWeaver, I am giving RW a major thumbs up. I have only been using it for about a month, but have to say it has completely renewed my interest in web work again. The program is simple on face value, but deceptively deep, giving you the ability to delve as deeply into the bowels of the code as you want to get. Tables & frames are out (aren't they?), and RW produces lean CSS pages with great ease. The folks who use it are crazy helpful, and within my first month I have had scores of folks from across the globe rush to offer assistance with code snippets and answers to my pressing questions and problems. The forums at realmacsoftware is filled with a goldmine of advice from newbs to gurus, and everyone in between. The platform is almost open-source, with tons of developers releasing site themes, plug-ins, add-ons, and utilities. The developers are extremely accessible and responsible, in my short month I have had multiple personal contact with no less than 3 developers (I can't say I have ever had direct contact with anyone at Adobe or MacroMedia, or Quark in my 20 years of using the products). Download the program for free and try it out, I think you are free to create test sites with 3 pages or less. Some theme developers offer free or demo versions of their themes as well. Lastly, the themes are HUGELY malleable, and you can quickly customize the look and feel to your delight, often to the point they are unrecognizable as "themes". Chose a theme more on functionality and navigation, and the aesthetics are tweekable. Pricewise it's a steal, all though the ala carte approach can add up (nothing near where the big boys come in though, can I bitc@# about how ridiculous software pricing and "upgrades" are these days? Its nuts! RW on the other hand is $59, and if you hunt around via the Google you might stumble across a discount code to save a bit more off the measly price. Add-on themes usually are $12-19.00 each, and there are a score of developers who make first rate stuff (JoshLockhart, Rapid-ideas, Exlixir, etc).

    I do not work for any of these folks, so I am not shilling for anyone... but if you check out the realmac forums you will discover that RW folks in general dispense their advice freely. I wish someone had tipped me off earlier...
    regards,
    michael
     
  5. NewSc2 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #5
    You know, I actually did give Rapidweaver a go, and checked out a lot of the sites that had been produced under it. To me, it had too much of a Web 2.0/bubbly theme about it. I might be wrong, and it's probably due to my n00biness, but the pages I started to make already started to look like a blog and not a company website.

    Not that I mind that style, but for what I want to do I need it to look plain, simple, and luxurious, like Louis Vuitton's website (without all the animations and flash) or the ones I linked above. Right now I need to showcase about 8 collections, 6 colors per style, and I don't expect to add on more than 3 or 4 per year.

    Thanks again for the suggestions so far.

    One quick question -- would I be likely starting from a theme (so I wouldn't have to make my own buttons and etc.)? Where would I look for more themes?
     
  6. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #6
    Hi, I emailed you as well... I don't want to get flagged for spamming, but I am not in any way, so I will post here first.

    Yes, there is a lot of web 2.0 bubblyness going on, and RW is not immune from the style trend. Some of the themes do have a bloggy feel about theme, but most themes have an assortment of page types (styled text, blog, multimedia, image gallery, flickr galleries, file sharing pages, form pages that work pretty much off the shelf with PHP... if your host supports PHP, etc. The nice thing is you do not have to build your own navigation from scratch, it is built from the CSS code that comes with the themes. That is why I say choose your theme based more on nav structure than the appearance. Most themes have fully flushed out variations (which offer maybe 4-8 different color schemes with a click of a few buttons), but you can also create your own modified theme and use that on a global basis. For example this is a working site I am building using Elixirs Elements theme (the site is almost all dummy pics & text as it is being built now). The link is southjerseystingrays.com, and the theme link is here: http://www.elixirgraphics.com/themes/elements/index.html...
    Most theme developers offer preview sites of their themes that give you an idea of the pages and theme styles that are in the can.
    If you want a flexible site you can make your own (easily) choose a "pro" level theme as they are the ones that offer the most control over the look and feel without having to muck about in the css & html code. However it is not difficult to do so with any text editor (I use TextMate & CSSedit2). Despite the clickable interface for making changes you will learn a bit about CSS & Javascript along the way (I never would have learned on my own from scratch... NEVER, lol). I knew CSS was the way, but it was too daunting to start with a blank page.
    If you want to see what CSS can do check out www.csstux.com or http://rapidweaved.com/showcase/index.php (yes, many sites are a mite bubbly, lol), but many sites were created using RW. I suspect there are quite a few professionals using RW as their dirty little secret (you can hide the fact a site was created using RW, or at least mostly to the casual observer). The ease and speed that big sites can be built with is pretty amazing. It is not Ruby on Rails, or any of the other complicated cool options... but there are quite a few PROFESSIONAL companies using RW to build their own sites, and their are also quite a few professional web guys using it as well. CSSedit is amazing, but I couldn't build a site with it right away... with RW I was out of the box and running.

    Good theme developers:
    JoshLockhart.com
    elixirgraphics.com
    rapid-ideas.com
    seydesign.com

    OH, and the pages are Google Analytics friendly... you can post the code snippet in 1 spot and it will appear on every page. GA is awesome, not to mention free. Want to embed Google live maps on your page? Easy, I learned how in less than an hour.

    Here is another site I am building using the Silk4 theme from Josh Lockhart (again much of the text is dummied in). http://red.oakdns.net/~njsouthern/

    Hopefully this will give you something to think about. I suspect that a lot of folks may be hesitant to recommend RW as it it not a "pro" tool, or they may suggest it is more manly to create your code line by line, lol. Rubbish, before the advent of mac based publishing I was a magazine art director who knew line-based typesetting code... I have NO desire to go back to those days for purity sake. If you have questions you can site mail me...
    regards,
    michael
     
  7. MojoWill macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    #7
    rapidweaver is just a step up from iweb there is also Freeway

    to get a proper professional site then it has to be done properly you just dont have enough control in apps like rw/fw/iweb
     
  8. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #8
    perhaps...

    I knew I was going out on a limb, but no matter. Some folks are protective of the arcane veil of css/unix/java/html (fill-in the blank here) that necessitates a need for a "professional". Could the entire Amazon or Apple website be created and maintained with RW? Doubtful. However there are many "professional" sites created with the program, some sites are created by real "professionals", and some are created by regular folks as well. I have no desire to get in a pissing match, but I disagree pretty strongly. I suppose one could say that Quark/InDesign are the print professional apps while iWork/Pages & MPublisher are the hobbiest/home versions.... however RW does offer pretty much the same depth of a DW, you only have to know how to get at the pieces and parts (which is not that difficult). You can edit your files html, their CSS, add Javascript, use PHP, etc. with a text editor like TextMate or CSSedit2, etc.

    Plenty of design professionals who already have the full suite of CS products, including DW, have opted to switch or use RW instead. RW, and it's amazing community of users, are a breath of fresh air. The product itself is inexpensive, but admittedly you can indeed add up some bills adding on various features & add-ons. Perhaps the price makes folks assume it is a toy? I have already made similar arguments that the 24" iMac is a suitable workstation for MANY design professionals (like myself), and was also ridiculed for saying so. No matter, I laugh on my way to the bank, and I will replace my iMac in half the time as most folks with their 7-8k Pro. I could easily buy and justify a "pro" system, but I was a lot smarter. That is a different (but germane) argument for another thread.

    So what is a "professional" website? Exactly??

    This? https://www.littleoak.net/
    This? http://www.yourhead.com/
    This?? http://www.seydesign.com/home/
    This?? http://www.rapid-ideas.com/
    Or the many others found here: http://www.realmacsoftware.com/showcase/
    How about This?? (not done in RW, but CSSedit i think, and the site has won quite a few awards) http://www.macrabbit.com/

    I never claimed I was a code jockey, I am simply a designer and Art Director who has been in the biz for 25+ years, and have plenty of awards to back up my work and name, not that I am too much into that stuff. Sometimes it is not the cost of the hammer, but the skill of the craftsmen wielding it that makes the difference.

    peace,
    michael
     
  9. clairejr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    #9
    I agree that iWeb doesn't allow a user much control, but RapidWeaver is a different story. If you know xhtml and css, you can have complete control over a RapidWeaver site. I redesigned a site I originally created with css and html and adapted it to a template in RapidWeaver and then tweaked the css sheets and template to fit my needs and I think my website has a nice, clean professional look.

    www.cjrtools.com/ebooks

    I haven't found anything yet that I can't do with RapidWeaver and I have several other websites, including a site with photos, one with videos, and a couple of blogs.

    Claire
     
  10. muzikool macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2005
    #10
    RapidWeaver is only a step up from iWeb if DreamWeaver is considered to be two steps up from iWeb. RapidWeaver can definitely be considered a professional web design application. I design websites professionally and use RapidWeaver as my primary development tool -- check out my portfolio if you want some examples of what I've done with RapidWeaver.

    DreamWeaver is obviously a professional app and RapidWeaver isn't on the same level with DreamWeaver, but that doesn't mean that RW is not a professional app itself. There is much, much more depth to RW then there appears to be to the casual observer, and there are very few instances where I would fail to recommend RapidWeaver for a web design project.
     
  11. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #11
    Well said... by the way your work doesn't suck at all... and looks very "professional" (which is a compliment). Nice to see I am not the only pro who uses RW...
    michael
     
  12. edbrenner macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #12
    "proper" "professional site", can you define this according to a standard?

    "done properly", and what do you mean by this?

    "enough control", what type of control are you looking for.

    Which app to purchase comes down to what works best for you and for some how much it costs.

    To toss out terms, like the ones above, is a bit irresponsible IMHO. The person(s) who want the site decide what's "professional" and how they want it presented. As the designer, its our job to give them what they want. The tool of choice for some is DreamWeaver and others Freeway. Some choose Coda. I chose RapidWeaver. And yes, I've used DreamWeaver in the past.

    IMHO, I think that apps like RapidWeaver challenge the "establishment" and the prices they charge for those apps.

    My suggestion, visit the RW Forums. We have a dedicated "Pre-Sales" area. Ask whatever questions you want/need to ask. Take some time to look through the various areas of our Forum and talk to a variety of users, and regulars (such as myself), that are on hand to answer questions, give suggestions, tips etc.

    Every piece of software comes with a learning curve, our Forum helps make the learning curve easy. You won't find a more helpful group of folks anywhere else.
     
  13. mlblacy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    the REAL Jersey Shore
    #13
    this was just posted on the RW forums...

    I couldn't have said it better:

    "There are a lot of people I have spoken to who talk down RapidWeaver, and when you discuss it a little further, they consistently claim it can’t do things it can, purely showing their ignorance. Some are clearly defending their decision to spend masses of money with Adobe, and don’t want to think they could have avoided this.

    If you can do many professional jobs with something, surely it can be classed as professional? I earn part of my living from using RapidWeaver, making it one of my professional tools.

    The one type of website I think RapidWeaver falls down with, is a seriously large collaborative website, with several developers working at once. That I believe is where very few tools do a better job than Dreamweaver from what I can gather, but I have little intention to get myself involved in those projects.

    Someone grouping RapidWeaver with iWeb makes me laugh! That’s someone who doesn’t know RapidWeaver for sure!!

    with best regards,
    Karn."
     
  14. zamzam macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    #14
    Flash file at silk4 banner


    Hi Michael
    i notice that you put an swf file at the page banner on the example link you provide. (http://red.oakdns.net/~njsouthern/)
    can you guide me please how exactly you done that?

    regards
    zamzam
     

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