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bennies
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I see there is discussion here about converting from tables to CSS, however I know very little html and nothing about CSS (yet).

I've recently started working at a company that needs a facelift on their website. It's designed with tables and many tiny images that load slowly and clunkily. It has been recommended by a third party that we might consider CSS.

I am tasked with looking into improving the site and making it easy to modify the content. Mostly static, informational content. No bells or whistles or forms or interactions, but about 20 pages and nearly 400 images!! Of course, they would like the website updated yesterday.

So, I'm looking for a black box I can send the code through to magically convert it Wink , or, I'm looking for suggestions or links about a source, either an app or a company or a forum participant, that will convert the site for us, as long as the price is reasonable (and I don't know what that is yet).

Any help? In the meantime I'll peruse your forum here and see if there are other threads similar to this one.

Thanks...

Edit: In Texas it's Tuesday, 2 Nov 04, and 3:06pm.

bennies
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Well, I guess I've asked this in the wrong place. I'll keep looking.
Thanks anyway. Maybe I'll learn some CSS and come back here.

wisbin
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Well, I think we need a bit more information about the task you have to do and the scope of the redesign.

If you provide a link to the current site, we can check it out and might help you understand the task and how CSS can help you.

O.. if you find that black box, please let me know!

Cheers!

bennies
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Hey... Thanks for the reply.

It's a fairly simple, straightforward site.
Some of the info is outdated.
http://www.ssglimited.com

We want to improve the site so that when prospective clients ask about the company they can go to the web site and have a better experience than what is currently available.

I've been doing some research and it looks like I should be able to figure out what needs to be done, but it's going to take me a little time. I was considering basically keep the design look, with maybe a couple of simple changes. Nothing fancy, but pleasing and easy to update some of the text as clients are added/removed and services and offerings are changed or modified.

But, if somebody out there could convert this site from tables to CSS for a couple hundred dollars, then I'd like to discuss that as well.

Thanks...

Edit: For the discerning reader that views the site, we have the skill set in house to redesign and improve the site, but they are all busy working on billable stuff, so the company website work has fallen to me.

Tony
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Convert a site from tables to CSS

Hi bennies,
I'd be happy to take a couple of hundred dollars from you Smile
Or you could have a look at my Layout Generator which should give you a basic layout then you just need to add the content.

Hope that helps

wisbin
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That is just an image, Bennie.

Looks like you are talking of a css design task, I see no html (yet).

Nice project to get in to the CSS Wink

But if you need it quick, buy a good html/css template from one of the css crew here Wink

good luck!

bennies
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wisbin wrote:
That is just an image, Bennie.

I don't understand what you mean. The site has 20 pages and about 394 images/gif's.
wisbin wrote:
Nice project to get in to the CSS Wink

I tend to agree with that. I already have a basic design and some content, now just gotta get it into a better 'style'.

With the tables, once you get it all in cache it isn't so bad, but that initial experience of watching each little element draw on the screen on each page has got to go.

wisbin
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If I set the images off, I see nothing. But I am sorry, you have some text in there. I meant, that you use all image-elements that has to be designed into proper html (lists, headings,..) and css (styling and positioning).

Your design is not that difficult and if you have the time get into positioning with CSS first and learn the 3column shuffle. Then add the content and style them using basic html tags. Specify some extra styles you need and you can get that image-hell down to 1 or 3 elements a page.

Or you can pm me.

Smile

roytheboy
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bennies - your current site looks nice from a visual perspective, but from a technical perspective it is a million miles from where it needs to be. Rarely do I see such slow-loading, table-intesive, inaccessible sites. But then you know that already!

There is no magic pill to convert and correct the site, but you do have three main choices:

(1) Learn XHTML and CSS from the many tutorials on the web and do it yourself with the help of Tony's layout generator. But allow yourself LOTS of time and prepare to pull your hair out when coding for Internet Explorer.

(2) Commission an agency or skilled individual to do the work for you but you need to be budgeting thousands, not hundreds. Beware of anybody that offers you a cheap, quick-fix as the chances are that they won't understand the issues, let alone the solutions. Sadly, very few of the huge number of website designers and agencies out there take anything like the interest that they should in thinking ahead and about accessibility, so be very careful when you're looking around. Ignore the bull and ask others that know what they're doing to look at their work (but not their website as a good designer/developer's site will often be years out of date due to pressure of work).

(3) IMHO, the best solution for you will be an XHTML/CSS Content Management System that you can have professionally branded. This means that a designer will style the site to fit in with your company's identity system, leaving you to take care of the text and images.

By the way: if your in-house team had anything to do with the current site, keep the new project well away from them Laughing out loud

Hope that helps.

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DCElliott
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Convert a site from tables to CSS

This is a basic 5-box template:
Header
Main: lef(byline) centre(content) right (nav)
Footer

These templates are a dime a dozen. Because CSS is so flexible, there are many many ways to create something that looks the same. For a real smorgasbord of layouts try: http://css-discuss.incutio.com/?page=ThreeColumnLayouts

DE

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bennies
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Thanks for the replies!

I continue to research this CSS thing and it looks like I will be able to do the work, since the basic idea of the site is fairly simple. And since the company is not ready to shell out a bunch of money on it. ("hey, isn't that why we hired you?!?!") Wink

Along with the pointers and links posted here, what is a good book for jumping into CSS with the tasks I have before me and considering my minimal skills with HTML. I've seen reference to a few books. One is "HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS" and apparently there is some CSS guru guy named Eric Meyer that has a few books out there. I need something that will tend to hold my hand to start.

Also, since there are many, many sites about CSS out there, does anybody have a specific site or tutorial in mind for my situation? You know, a recommended place for me to get the basics so I can get confused and come back here for clarification. And keeping in mind my goal, at this point, is to update that site and not, yet, to become a super CSS programmer, although I may be willing to head in that direction.

Our current site's main layout was apparently designed by an external source but then the content and tweaks were added in house with DreamWeaver MX, which we do have.

Thanks again!

roytheboy
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This looks like a very good place to start for all sorts of skills that you will need to understand > http://academ.hvcc.edu/~kantopet/xhtml/index.php

Good Luck Smile

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magicandmight
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I learned most of my css from just looking at O'Reilly CSS Pocket Reference. That will give you the basics then just look at some web sites for technique. Here's one of my favorites:

http://www.csszengarden.com/

DCElliott
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I've never opened a book on CSS. All my knowledge I've stolen from postings on the net :twisted: .(Or as Goethe said: some men see further by standing on the shoulders of giants)

In actual fact, I've done a lot of experimentation on my own and the possibilities of CSS are far from exhausted. If you want a HUGE CSS resource check out the links at The Fixor. That section is just on CSS links but if you go to the homepage you will find subpages with links to all things Webdev.

Regarding CSS Zengarden. There are amazing graphics there but the CSS is often contrived and has a lot of absolute positioning that won't stand even modest font-size changes. It is about design - not about CSS in the long run.

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DCElliott wrote:
Regarding CSS Zengarden. There are amazing graphics there but the CSS is often contrived and has a lot of absolute positioning that won't stand even modest font-size changes. It is about design - not about CSS in the long run.

I couldn't agree more DC. When it first started, CSS Zengarden opened people's eyes to just what could be achieved. It was a fantastic cooperative project that beggared belief when you realised that every page used the same basic mark-up. But now, in the cold light of a commercial day where CSS is accepted by many and being pushed for more than just design, it is a great source of design inspiration, but no more or less a good reference tool than so many other CSS websites. A great site a while ago, but I think it's now served its purpose and had its day.

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bennies
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Ok, thanks for the links. I knew I would get a, "Books!! We don't need no stinking books!!" Wink

This, http://academ.hvcc.edu/~kantopet/xhtml/index.php , looks like a good starting place and refresher for my dusty html knowledge.

Since zengarden is past its prime then, what are a couple of other sites that you might recommend for me to possibly abscond with some code. Cool I'm not forgetting that I have some other links back up there to use as well. (I'll be looking back at those next week in between fighting with a new SharePoint system I've just installed, building a replacement CheckPoint firewall machine, and spending quality time with the cats.)

I hope to have some new code going in the next week or so that can be tweaked and beat into shape to start replacing that tabled-up site. (dang... it must be friday afternoon)

Thanks again...

Edit: Oh, I just realized that was a link in there to The Fixor. I'll be checking that out also.

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Evil ...don't abscond with code - learn to write your own Tongue

Seriously; you'll get nowhere fast just trying to make someone else's code fit your site. Look no further than many of the posts on this forum to see what a mess people get themselves in! Plus, people will be reluctant to help you hack someone else's code. Do it properly and impress the pants off your colleagues Wink By all means start with others' code, but learn to understand it and THEN make it fit.

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Agreed. I was just being facetious with that aspect. Hence the smilie... shoulda used a winkie smilie, eh?

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bennies wrote:
shoulda used a winkie smilie, eh?

...that's the one Wink

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Tony wrote:
Or you could have a look at my Layout Generator which should give you a basic layout then you just need to add the content.

I've been trying to use this generator, but I can't seem to get it right. I assume that once I use your tool, I need to edit the .css file to get the height of the left column and right column to fit on the page correctly. As it is, those columns are only about a half inch tall on the display.
Maybe you could tell me what I need to do with that generator to get a basic setup to more or less match the setup at http://www.ssglimited.com

Thanks for your patience. I am hoping to get a chance to spend more time this week to go through some tutorials and do more reading on this css thing.

Thanks