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websites, html, and the DIY line

Many many years ago people would ask me, "Hey spacefem I have things to say on the internet! What do you use to build your websites... frontpage? dreamweaver?"

And I would Ron Swanson that shit and tell them to use motherfuckin' NOTEPAD, learn what a <br> tag bi-atch.

my websites needed forms, I learned javascript, needed a forum, I downloaded phpbb and threw it in a side directory and hacked the shit out of it.

then I learned that phpbb issues security updates practically every weekend and they never leave the css alone, so I stopped hacking the shit out of it because that makes it really hard to updated.

then I slowly found other things where it was just easier to use other people's code... blogs, wikis, photo galleries. I'd keep my own little "side code" and queries off in other files so I wouldn't have to worry about them for updates. never hack.

I also tried writing my own CMS for a non-profit once and it was so miserable I vowed to never write anything like that from scratch again... too many people have done things like "session management" so many times that I was reinventing wheels for no reason, except that I could cater to the whims of every customer request.

THEN I realized that all these 3rd party open source writers totally beat me to responsive, mobile-friendly CSS, and there were plugins that were way smoother than what I'd written for customization, and maybe I should leave it alone anyway.

and now when an organization asks me if I'll be their website person, I just install wordpress. 100% 3rd party.

I used to compare photo galleries to changing the oil in my car. could do it myself, but someone else has streamlined it, let's just outsource and move on with our lives. now I'm starting to feel like that about all web development.

all these people who complain that kids don't tinker with their own cars like they did in the 1950s? I'm gonna be like that with websites. okay not gonna be... I'm there. "when I was your age I knew HTML!" yeah, and it got to be a pain in the ass. so nobody does anymore. everything got big and complicated.

next new thing.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2015 03:16 pm (UTC)
And now I was just looking for the "like" button.
But instead I have to question how much I got used to Facebook and tell you in real text that I like what you wrote.
Only one addendum: If you enjoy reinventing wheels, have fun! So, if you are doing it for the fun, please continue doing it. I'm also reading books for fun instead of just reading the condensed version to get the bare content.
Jan. 10th, 2015 03:22 pm (UTC)
If the goal is to just have a generic website at the end of the day, I agree, tell them to install WordPress. I tell people to install Wordpress all the time.

If they actually want to pursue a career in web development? Or hell, learn anything? No way. That ain't how you become a car mechanic. Knowing html is the absolute bare minimum of becoming a web developer. That's the baby step. That's how you start. If you want to learn, Wordpress is a terrible place to start.

I'd say something like Django or Ruby on Rails is a lot better if someone wants to learn web dev. A lot of people have gotten their careers started on RoR. I did on Django. It allows you to start building a modern web app. And yes, it requires you to know HTML (sort of- they use templating- but HTML knowledge really helps you a lot).

(I think you might be somewhat biased coming from php land- php is evil, of course you don't want someone to learn web dev with php, that's a given...)

So I guess it depends on who's asking, but I think always saying "Wordpress" isn't always the solution. For someone who wants to learn, I'd say start with HTML, and then check out RoR. Seems to be a recipe for success these days.
Jan. 10th, 2015 04:56 pm (UTC)
Hehe, I'm so there too, I just installed wordpress on my own website for the first time ever... those other things are great and useful, but not for the vast majority of people who just want to say things on the internet...
Jan. 12th, 2015 02:28 pm (UTC)
I manage 3 websites for SWE: one for our local professional section, one for our signature outreach event that happens twice a year, and one for Region C. The first two are Wordpress, the third is through SWE's sanctioned Weebly setup which is terrible but serves its purpose. I also run a website for a recumbent bike event, that one is also Wordpress. Why reinvent the wheel if you don't have to? I'm not a web developer and I don't pretend to be one. If anyone was paying me to manage their website I'd probably do something different but for volunteer organizations? Nah. I've got other shit to do. :-P

Edited at 2015-01-12 02:29 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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