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Webpage Layout

Posted on 2007-03-21
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Last Modified: 2010-04-09
Hi Experts:
I’m not new to web design but definitely haven’t design a new site in years, I have only been updating and making small changes to existing ones. I’m just new to all the new tools to design a site. I’m creating a site from scratch and I’m just a little confused about my layout and what tools to use on it. My questions are the following:
 
1.      Should I use tables, frames or what is the best choice to start on my layout?
2.      I will like to use CSS for my site where can I find a good book or a good site with excellent tips?
3.      One thing that is been bugging me a lot is for each page that I create do I have to repeat my navigation tool bar and logos. How do I make it change just the body of my site so I don’t have to repeat everything on each child page? I’m planning on having a header and probably side columns with navigation menus and probably some advertisement.

4. What is the main difference between HTML vs XHTML and what should i used?

I’m very familiar with HTML i just need some help on my layout and how a website gets driving.

I’m planning on designing this site in Dreamweaver.

Thanks for the help.
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Question by:Oneill0003
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9 Comments
 
LVL 35

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mrichmon earned 1200 total points
ID: 18764770
>> Should I use tables, frames or what is the best choice to start on my layout?
Neither.  You should use CSS.

>>I will like to use CSS for my site where can I find a good book or a good site with excellent tips?
A great book is Eric Meyers on CSS books 1 and 2:
http://www.ericmeyeroncss.com/
http://more.ericmeyeroncss.com/

This is also a great book:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0321303474/mezzoblue-20

Good web resources are:
http://www.w3schools.com/css/default.asp
http://www.csstutorial.net/
http://alistapart.com/

>>One thing that is been bugging me a lot is for each page that I create do I have to repeat my navigation tool bar and logos. How do I make it change just the body of my site so I don’t have to repeat everything on each child page?

Usually via a server side language like asp.net, coldfusion, php, etc.  If you only have dreamweaver, then you can look at their templates, which helps.

>>What is the main difference between HTML vs XHTML and what should i used?
HTML is a subset of XHTML.  XHTML is more strict, for example:

HTML: <img src="myimage.gif"> is valid

But in XHTML you would need to close the tag as well as include required attributes.

You can use either one, but make sure your pages validate against a validator:
http://validator.w3.org/

Here is a article on the differences:
http://htmlfixit.com/tutes/tutorial_XHTML_and_HTML_-_The_differences.shtml
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Author Comment

by:Oneill0003
ID: 18765007
Thanks mrichmon this have been really good help.

About the question about <<One thing that is been bugging me a lot is for each page that I create do I have to repeat my navigation tool bar and logos. How do I make it change just the body of my site so I don’t have to repeat everything on each child page?>>

I'm still a little confused, i haven't really looked to much into Dreamweaver templates, but will they guide me were i don't have to duplicate my home page to create the other pages? That’s my main concerned and i don't know if i'm just making a big deal out of nothing. I just want to create my Index page and make the body of my index page change to About us, Product info or just anything else i want to talk about. I know i will have to create the rest of my pages separately but i will not have to repeat headers and navigation bar right? How do i accomplish this? and thats the normal way to create a site right?

Thanks
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:ERNesbitt
ID: 18765206
The O'Reilly CSS Pocket Reference and CSS Cookbook are good reseources for getting started with CSS Layouts.  The Eric Meyers books mentioned above are fabulous.  Good, general HTML/XHTML references are: anything written by Molly Holzschlag (http://www.molly.com/books.php), The Complete Reference: HTML & XHTML by Powell

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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:mrichmon
ID: 18765531
>>thats the normal way to create a site right?
Yes, but how to do that depends on the technology you have available.  If you are doing server side coding (like asp.net coldfusion, php, etc) then you have the feature of includes, master pages, components, etc to d this.

If using only html (or xhtml), then technically you must repeat the code for headers and navigation on each page.  However, Dreamweaver helps you with this with their templates.

The way Dreamweaver templates works is that you define a template.  Which has the header/navigation/etc, and then you mark where the body will go.  Then you create the next page based on the template.  Dreamweaver then creates a new page referencing the template page and locks all sections except the sections you specify as editable regions (syuch as the body or part of the body).

If you later make a change to the template file, Dreamweaver updates all the associated files.

The difference between this and a server side method is that with a server side method - you only need to update the one header file.  With plain html/xhtml you need to update every page.  However, as Dreamweaver does this for you, it helps tremendously.

:o)
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Author Comment

by:Oneill0003
ID: 18766022
Excellent, thanks mrichmon, this was exactly the info that i need it.
If i decide to use php how hard will it be to create it?
When you said "server side coding" what exactly do you mean?
The coding done in HTML is not server side?

Thanks
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:ERNesbitt
ID: 18766078
Instead of a .html extension, you would save it as .php

To include a file in PHP, use the following syntax:
<? include "inc/filename.inc"; ?>
An have your code snippet saved as "filename.inc" in the appropriate directory.  This is basically a server-side include.  Essentially, it is a cut and paste of the data in the included file.  Each included file needs only be created once (e.g. header.inc, nav.inc, footer.inc) and they can be included on multiple pages.  That way, as mrichmon said, you only need to change the .inc file when you want to update the entire site.

They don't have to be .inc, they can be .txt, .htm, .wtf, .etc whatever you want.  .inc is just a "standard" of sorts.
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Author Comment

by:Oneill0003
ID: 18766206
Is their a big advantage between creating my site using php or HTML?
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LVL 35

Assisted Solution

by:mrichmon
mrichmon earned 1200 total points
ID: 18766579
>>When you said "server side coding" what exactly do you mean?  The coding done in HTML is not server side?
no html coding is considered client side not server side.

It is not simply a matter of changing the file extention as ERNesbitt implied.  You have to have a web server that will process the server side language - such as php.

To use PHP, you would need to learn PHP coding along with any client side (such as javascript html and css)

For some it is easy to learn, for others hard.


>>Is their a big advantage between creating my site using php or HTML?

Using client side code only (javascript, html, css) you can make a nice looking site, but you cannot have a database driven site.  Server side coding basically lets you generate the html page that is fed to the browser - so it is created dynamically as the client access it.  This means a different page could be served to two different users, using the same source code.  In contrast client side coding allows only the exact same page to be served to those same two people.

So all banking sites, stores, even pages such as this where you log in, use server side coding.

But if your page has no need to store user data, then you should be fine with plain html.
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Author Comment

by:Oneill0003
ID: 18771948
My site is not going to store user data and i don't think in the future it will . I'm defenitely will take your tips and get to work. Thanks mrichmon for all your input it really gave me clear undestand of what i need and how to accomplish it. I will try to check those books soon. Thanks again for your help!
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