programming dinasaur needs help
March 15, 2010 6:04 AM   Subscribe

Which technologies to use to build a small promotional website?

I want to make a small promotional website with editable pages of information, message board, contact form and news or blog. No money exchange.

I thought I'd do it in ASP with an Access database, making the whole site a bundle of files easily taken from one webhost to another. I was surprised to find out that Access is being phased out by Windows webhosts (programming dinosaur here).

So which current technologies do I use for a small site? I would like it to be easy on my user to migrate to another webhost.
posted by ThiefOfSweets to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by bjork24 at 6:41 AM on March 15, 2010

Is there any reason Wordpress wouldn't work for you?
posted by General Malaise at 6:43 AM on March 15, 2010

Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP would be the most widely supported solution.
posted by paulg at 6:45 AM on March 15, 2010

PHP/MySQL is the most common scenario. There are plenty of others (e.g. Ruby/ROR + MySQL, ASP.NET + SQL Server). WordPress + bbpress would cover the bases here. Those are both PHP/MySQL.

If you like the idea of an easily portable database, SQLite is an option. You'd just have to find a blog/cms/discussion board that can use it as a back-end and a host that provides it.
posted by wheat at 6:48 AM on March 15, 2010

Editable by who? Yourself or users? Any of the modern CMS systems will work fine. Wordpress, joomla, and drupal should all work but Wordpress will be the easiest to start with.
posted by white_devil at 6:52 AM on March 15, 2010

A chart from Wikipedia showing DB support of various discussion boards. If someone can find a similar one having to do with blog software, you're golden.
posted by wheat at 6:53 AM on March 15, 2010

This really all depends on how "small" and "editable" you want your website to be.

Although Wordpress and the like are fantastic, they do require a considerable amount of effort to get going, provided you want a custom theme, etc.

Although many here will scoff at the suggestion, if your site's reasonably small, you may very well be able to get by with a few flat HTML pages and a common CSS stylesheet to keep the design consistent.

The last site I made used this philosophy, but with a small self-written PHP script to frame each of the pages with navigational elements. This particular site has only had 2 or 3 updates since it was passed off to the client, so the decision not to implement a full-fledged CMS saved a lot of time and money.

Of course, if you're going to be updating the site frequently, a CMS will be the way to go.
posted by schmod at 8:24 AM on March 15, 2010


Don't reinvent the wheel.
posted by mkultra at 9:27 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Editable by who? by a totally non-technological user.

my problem with Wordpress: It's seems so much less hassle for me to write things from scratch (I'm one of those compulsively neat and systematic coders who hates using someone else's code).
posted by ThiefOfSweets at 9:56 AM on March 15, 2010

If hand-coding, and using PHP/MySQL, this Login System v2.0 works well for me. Just integrate it with your site. The download link is at the bottom of his post.

This way, it gets you started with something stable, so you can focus on other aspects of the site.

When it comes to editing a page, check username if necessary (e.g. admin), code-up the HTML form, then update the db once submitted.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 10:19 AM on March 15, 2010

with editable pages of information, message board, contact form and news or blog

I second Drupal. There's a learning curve, but all of the functionality you've specified is enabled via GUI configuration options and could be done by an experienced Drupal developer in under an hour.

Portability is a simple matter of dumping a database and copying it and the Drupal code directory to another server.

You're not going to hand code a site - with your specified functionality - that's as robust and as secure as Drupal without a very significant amount of effort. Given that I'm doing that very thing now - in CodeIgniter - I know of which I speak
posted by coolgeek at 5:34 PM on March 15, 2010

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