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burkbum
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Back in the old days of 2001, my company upgraded to MSFT 2000 Server and we implemented asp pages. It seemed like THE way to keep our table-based pages organized and standardized (by using asp includes to construct the pages). I was there for a while and then moved on to other companies doing other things. Within the last year I've gotten back into design, re-honed my html (xhtml), dabbled with Flash and am loving the world of CSS. My question is this - back in the old days of two years ago, asp (on MSFT servers) and server-side includes were a great way to keep pages small and load times fast. Today, it seems that with css, there's no real need for the server side stuff unless you're using dynamic content with databases and putting it together with PHP. But, for lack of anyone I know who I could ask this question of, what is the standard for big sites today? Can one get away with simply using CSS and "hard coding" the content on each page, or is that still sort of a no-no? What is the best way to go? Should everything go in a database and the whole site be constructed with CSS and PHP? I just don't know... I bet there are lots of "best ways," but I don't know what they are.

"Seriously."

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Tony
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On building big sites...

Hi burkbum,
There is no reason to use a database unless the content is dynamic.
It would serve no real purpose to put static pages into a database.
For content that will be reused you can use a server side scripting language such as PHP.

Many big site would use a templating system of some sort.
I prefer to design the basic site structure and use php to reuse things such as footers, menus, headers and all the meta data etc in the head section. That way it's easy to update each section as needed.

The contract I'm on at the moment uses a Lotus Notes database to hold all the content and provide the template.
The system was designed to simplify publication for people without any html knowledge.
It's not how I would set up a site as the domino server wraps font tags around everything.

The developer did the best he could with what was available right Sven Smile

burkbum
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On building big sites...

So really, except for those items you mentioned - header, footer, meta data, menus - putting the content on the page itself is legit. That also speaks to a related issue I'm having with a client who wants me to update their site which was built by another agency - the agency built this flimsy content mgmt system using perl and a database but the includes aren't re-used, only used one time. I couldn't figure out why they did that, especially since they didn't tell their client that they'd built that and still wanted the client to contact them for updates (and charge way too much for them). I told the company - now my clients - that I couldn't see why they'd over-complicated things so much.

I was also wondering about image mapping - I'm running into these enormous image-maps with associated javascript roll-overs. It makes the page huge! What value do you think there is in changing those image maps into nice, slick little flash movies? Where do image maps w/associated javascript image replacement v. Flash come out in the Standards arguments?

"Seriously."