We know Web Site Tools...not just Joomla!
Think you know a thing or two and want to build your own web site? You have a friend or cousin who did this before and can help? Have you done publishing before? Are you a good communicator? Here are some tools to look at before you deside to undertake a project like this:
- If you know HTML tags and you are comfortable with them, then Adobe's DreamWeaver is a great tool to start building on. A license will run a couple of hundred dollars but the tool makes quick work in creating many web page objects and takes care of transferring your working copy to your host. Dreamweaver lets you see your page in design view as it's being created and helps you incorporate great typography and design elements by fully supporting .css style sheets.
- When you are ready to add graphics, you can shoot some pictures or scan some images. Don't forget that once you have them, they have to be compressed to display rapidly from your website or your visitors on DSL connections will lose interest waiting for the page to load. Adobe's Fireworks or Photoshop are good tools for trimming, compressing and enhancing images with special effects. Fireworks will help you size your image for the maximum quality for the space you need for only a couple hundred dollars.
- If you don't need the control and specialty capabilities offered by Adobe software, you should consider open-source (often free) software such as the Joomla! content management system (CMS). A CMS comes with pre-packaged templates that offer a choice of several layouts based on a theme. The tool is easy to use once you have learned it and the results are great (this site is built in Joomla!)! The only drawback is that when the template doesn't present things quite the way you need for proper emphasis or the colors aren't just right or you want to incorporate stuff from other sites like a calendar, a web shopping cart or a blog ... you will need to know how to customize the tool.
- Joomla! has a wide range of extensions available from many different suppliers. Some are offered free under the open-source philosophy (you can pay a modest donation to help support future developments) and some will cost you up front but they may provide quicker service. Often there will be many competing extension offerings that appear to do the same thing and only experience will show which ones really work well or install and configure in an easy way.
- Tools like .php (a scripting language for UNIX) and a knowledge of .css style sheets are a real necessity when customizing Joomla. It should only take you a few months to master these concepts and the details...well you can pick them up as needed. It helps to have a programming sense and a good debugging tool like FireBug to show you the effects of your changes in real-time.