Results of my learning Coffee Cup...
I received much very good support from Forum Advisers, and will continue learning (and loving) Coffee Cup software and Forum Advisers, and thought it might be of benefit to all to submit a post summarizing my experiences.
Background information - I have had many years of programming experience (dates back to the SPS 1401 and Autocoder days, with many languages, including COBOL, since then), managing and directing. Graphics is certainly not my stron point.
With the limited instruction set and the relatively simplistic structure of HTML, CSS, and related tools, compared to the programming languages, network principles, and databases with which I have worked, I thought developing a web site would be "duck soup". While many of the processes are really very simple, putting them together and creating visually useful web sites require very different skill sets and I have to acquire a lot of experience to become skilled in this area.
I will do it, but not overnight, especially with a demanding full time job which includes being responsible for the networks and servers, operating systems, databases, and communications for a manufacturing company.
Initially I used VSD to make a home page and linked pages which looked pretty good to me - certainly better than those template based tools that web hosting companies typically offer.
I never got that site to the web because I kept getting an error message when trying to upload from VSD - can't create catalog - connection was made, but no upload took place - suggestions received to my post in the Forums did not resolve the problem - I had created linked pages as well.
At that point, I had to start over - worked late at night after work, and on a couple of weekends - had no HTML code to work with (later found how to get to what VSD had created, but too late, since I had already gotten well into HTML Editor working from the beginning.
I had purchased the Webmaster Super Pack by that time and began to use more Coffee Cup software.
Photo Gallery produced my first picture page - the committee did not like that - the group photos were too small after clicking on the thumbnails and the captions were at the top of the page - they wanted them as single lines directly under the photos. I received suggestions from Forum Advisers, but never had time to follow them.
Then my formatting problems began - the new pages were submitted to me as output from MS Word. When I saved them as web pages, or html, Word displayed a message that graphics would be moved to the left of the document and formatting would be removed - that proved true.
I used HTML Editor and reentered all the text, copied and pasted the logos that had been in the Word documents and positioned them (with some difficulty) - I worked in the visual tab of the editor. The committee did not like the way the looked, nor the time it took for me to make them available.
One important page was sent to me and I was told to keep the font they produced it in - Berlin Sans FB Demi - HTML Editor did not offer that. I searched the web for free fonts and that font was only available at a cost (usually $40). Responses from the Forums and my research across the web about use of fonts on web pages were unanimous in saying that only three font families should be used, with the primary reason being that the font a browser displays is dependent upon the fonts available in the system of the computer that is used for displaying the web pages.
When I told the committee that and requested we change the font, they didn't believe me and said that "everyone has Word" so it should display on everyone's computer - that was the straw that got me removed from web page development for them.
MS Word also generates verbose code when it saves documents as web pages or html. It even includes a sub folder and xml code. This showed them that I did not have a good solution to allow collaboration.
The time I spent on formatting, font research, and then posting a page that did not have the requested font, prevented me from getting to a display of group photos that I could have accomplished.
This was rather lengthy, but I hope others can gain by knowing my experiences with web design, particularly when done for an organization (this was purely voluntary - not even any expense reimbursement).
I remain very enthusiastic about Coffee Cup software and web design.
It sounds like the organization you were helping does not understand and appreciate the hard work that you are willing to contribute.
I hope that you get the chance to create a fun website project that will keep you interrested in web design. Anytime you have questions about web stuff, don't hesitate to ask.
www.mainsites.ca is my website, and yes, some of it is crappy.
Sorry to hear your effort was not appreciated. Especially since this was not paid work. My background started as a programmer, too. Mainly C and VB programming. But that has helped a lot moving into web development since quite a few application and scripting languages all closely resemble the C syntax.
CoffeeCup is cool but a lot of "Webmasters" are going to find some clients aren’t going to be satisfied with a "this is what you get" approach and a "sorry, this can’t be tweaked" response. That will result in lost clients and wasted time.
Thanks for the encouraging comments - will you share a summary of the work you are doing now (for main income source) and how you use Coffee Cup software (as part of your main income source work and secondary if both apply)?
I used Firestarter for about a minute before moving on to a flash development tool that is more powerful in its usefulness due to scripting.
Unfortunately, the tradeoff for ease of use and simplicity is limited control over the output. It's good for personal use and maybe 90% of paid work, but you will always run into that 10% who will want this or that changed in a way that you cannot using "canned" software.
I played around with the trial HTML Editor and even tried out Dreamweaver and Expression Web but you need a full college course in order to learn the latter two. I have been hand coding for so long now, I find I prefer it. And it really doesn't take much longer once you get the hang of it.
Very interesting comments - reminds me somewhat of what limitations COBOL imposed over 40 years age, then what they called "4GL" about 20 years ago - not only were obstacles more difficult to surmount in the first place, but debugging became a nightmare and programmers ended up using "decompilers" and even hexadecimal dumps to help make everything work.
Of course, today programmers can run tests as often as they wish and just keep trying something different until it works - we were usually limited to one test per night (or worse) and used desk checking to prevent and fix problems.
And operating systems were almost perfectly consistent - but cost huge dollar amounts to license and had a very long life cycle.
Devek, that’s why I like freelance work. I can just as much select my clients as much as they select me. I don’t need the hassles of a client who is going to slowly bleed me to death. Find someone else who will charge the rates I do, they will make you pay for the grief.
Ha, you brought back a memory of my advanced C programming instructor in college. He was a brain of an EE who worked for the Navy full time on weapon systems and taught himself programming so that he could build applications to test his sytems. He would give us a project and say it’s got to be difficult because it’s an advanced C class. And we would all be looking at each other not knowing what he wanted or where to start. We were like, ya it’s an advanced class for second year students, not EEs. Thanks for the laugh.
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