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Old 03-16-2011, 12:18 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Colour Republic View Post
I'm not sure it does RCP, bit of a cagey reply really.

What shoe size do you take?
Not sure what you mean by "cagey", but just ask and I'll tell - within reason. I *was* getting a little punchy after writing my long post, and couldn't resist highlighting that I am actively involved im my painting business, among other things, and that I had a good day yesterday.

As for the latest question: US14 (I'm tall).
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #22
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After spending a lot of time learning html, css, java and php, I can definitely tell you that it is much easier to simply install wordpress and buy a template for it.

Wordpress isn't the easiest to customize unless you know a fair bit of coding, but it's easier than learning all the web languages.

You can buy nice, pre-built wordpress templates for as little as $30. They'll come with full instructions on how to install and edit them. check out themeforest or just google wp templates.
When I first started looking at CMS style web sites, I looked at the big 3 (WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal). Admittedly, I didn't look very deeply at WordPress and Drupal, but I think that was because I pretty quickly convinced myself that they were great for "blog style" web sites, but they didn't have as much customization capability as Joomla. By customization, I mean the ability to pick-up and integrate already-existing "plug-ins" to do just about anything.

For example, my main LPP site has a community component (including a level of access that requires a paid subscription), an e-Commerce component with modules to integrate a PayPal payment processor and Shipping calculations, a file download section, and an e-mail newsletter/autoresponder component. It also has a rotating poll (right now just one poll is implemented, so there is no "rotation"), automated updates, automated back-ups (independent of the "whole site" backups donw by the hosting company), and full Google Analaytics integration. My recollection was that to build everything that I wanted with WordPress or Drupal would have been much more difficult. But again, I really didn't delve too deeply into Wordpress or Drupal once I decided Joomla would meet my needs. There's nothing wrong with WordPress or Drupal -- both are great systems -- but the key is to match needs to what is available.

On the template issue, your point is absolutely correct. There are a lot of great templates availabe for very reasonable cost. The new generation of templates or "themes" is becoming quite sophisticated with lots of parameters for easy configuration. A third option is to buy a "template authoring" tool to develop your own, but without having to learn HTML/CSS. Because my HTML/CSS is a bit rusty and I needed something quickly, I bought Artisteer (www.artisteer.com). It can generate templates/themes for Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal (among others). It, too, has a bit of a learning curve, and I think what it generates is starting to look a bit dated, but it's a good start. Now I am going back and brushing up in HTML/CSS so I can do my own templates.

On the installation issue, once the base CMS system is up and running, uploading and enabling a new template (from wherever it may come) is a snap. But to install the base system, you usually have two choices: use the hosting companies "App Installer", or do it yourself from scratch. Actually, there is a third approach which I often use which is to "clone" an existing site by restoring from back-up to a new site location, but this means you still must have gone through one of the other two approaches the first time.

My experience with hosting companies' "App Builders" has been that they usually have some drawback or limitation. This may be in the form of more restrictive control parameters being set by the install script, an older version of the system being used, or parts of the system being intentionally crippled. I ran into this with 1&1 Internet's variation on Joomla.

If you decide to go "full manual install", you have to deal with setting up FTP accounts and SQL databases in your hosting account, uploading the zip file for the system, installing it, conecting to the database, possibly getting access to/from the outside world through proxy servers, and possibly dealing with settings that need to be made to adjust (via over-rides) things like the hosting companies PHP settings or Apache server settings. None of this is insurmountable, but it's not for everyone, and there is another learning curve.

That is why many people just opt for the "Web Site Builder" or "Web Site Tonite" type of tools, but these, too, have limitations. I have used a couple of them, and my experience is that they were fine for basics, but when I wanted to start plugging-in customizations, they fell down. Something as simple as integrating Google Analytics or AdSense code (both of those are supposed to be simple cut & paste operations) didn't work properly.
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