Help me build a modern-day website.
October 6, 2012 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend me some guides about building a modern, lightweight, easy-to-maintain website.

I have volunteered to create a general-information type website for a non-profit organization, and I would really like to do a good job.

The last website I built was when css was "the new thing", and it was built completely out of html/tables/containers/etc. Needless to say, that's no longer going to be adequate. Unfortunately, I've not kept up with what new technology/packages/etc. are out there these days in terms of web-programming.

What I would like is to read some books/articles/online guides about modern website building. I'm looking for something with breath and not necessarily a lot of depth, i.e. something that gives a light overview of a bunch of tools that are commonly used for modern day website building, so that they appear on my radar and I can search for more indepth reading should I need to. Also looking more for technical guides than design guides, but suggestions for those are welcome as well.

For the purpose of this question, please assume that I am programming-competent and relatively web-savvy.

posted by dragonfruit to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
The new technologies out there are legion, and website building has become a wide and multi-faceted field. I'd strongly recommend using Wordpress or a CMS like it — the backend tools for managing/updating are great and the template system gives you endless flexibility.

Once you choose a CMS, your search for guides and books will be much more directed.
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:36 AM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'd follow the suggestion of wemayfreeze: building a complete, proper website from scratch has become a rather complex endeavour. While it's a great learning experience, I imagine that you would prefer to get something up and running quickly for the non-profit.

To that end, rather than a full-blown CMS like Wordpress, you may wish to start with something a little simpler and easier to handle:
  • There are some good flat-file CMS's out there now that don't need all the complication of MySQL: I'm thinking of solutions like Statamic and Pico.
  • If you're after something with a few more bells and whistles, you might want to try SquareSpace or Perch.
As for web development overviews: there are many other resources out there (the answers to these recent questions on the green should provide a good start). Another possible resource is my web development blog: I originally wrote it for my new media students, but it's been updated and expanded continuously since then. I'm in the process of linearizing it for the purpose of turning the content into a free ebook; while that feature is yet to come, this article on the roles of various web technologies might be a good place to start.

I hope this helps!
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:09 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

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