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Top Content Management Systems

Top 3 Content Management Systems

Building a functional and secure framework to hosts your sites is usually a ton of work. This is especially true if you’re the only developer or new to web design. Content Management Systems make developing a website much easier because it replaces the need to code an entire framework from scratch. Why reinvent the wheel?

There are many CMS platforms to choose from that have been continuously developed for years. Many of the popular CMSs are open source, meaning they are completely free. Free platforms are great because it allows for a greater number of people to use the platform leading to a ton more development and support. Not to mention the security. Nothing is secure, but I’m willing to bet thousands of people working together to make one CMS secure will be better than anything I could code myself in a month.

There’s really no point in constructing a basic framework when these platforms are available, and they can literally save you weeks in development. I’m going to discuss the top 3 content management systems.

#1 -WordPress

wordpress top cmsWordPress is my go to CMS. WP was the first CMS that I ever used and I still use it on the majority of projects to this day. Over 30% of all websites are built on WordPress, that’s quite a few. The platform has millions of users, which has led to a huge community of developers contributing to improve the platform over the last 12 years.

WP is natively designed to be used as a blog, but it can just as easily be used for any other type of site as well; whether it’s a community site, shop, or whatever you want it to be. WordPress is written in PHP and can easily be modified to fit your needs. Although, you need to watch the pages you edit because some custom modifications may be overwritten when WP is updated.

This platform is a great choice for people with no coding experience as well. There are literally millions of free and premium themes to choose from. All you need to do is find a theme you like, upload it, and activate it. You can actually create an entire WordPress site without entering on line of code if you really wanted.

Another benefit of having a large community is all the custom plugins that are available. Plugins are scripts that have been written to do various tasks, and they are just as easy to install and use as themes. Pretty much any type of functionality you could want on your site there’s a plugin for, whether it’s a custom contact form, shop, or an automated backup program.

#2 – Drupal

drupal top cmsDrupal is a second CMS which has sizeable community as well. Rather than concentrating on blogging as a platform, Drupal way more of a complete content management system. An ordinary installation features quite a number of optional modules which may add plenty of helpful features including forums, profiles, user blogs, OpenID, plus more. It’s simple to build a website using social functions with a quick install of Drupal. As a matter of fact, by incorporating 3rd party modules you could develop some useful website clones easily.

Just one among Drupal’s preferred features is the Taxonomy module. This module function is composed of several stages and varieties of categories for content types.

Drupal comes with an incredibly productive community driving it, and they have exemplary support for plugins along with other regular questions.

#3 – Joomla!

joomla top cmsJoomla is a bit like Drupal for the reason that it’s actually a full CMS, and could be a great deal more than any small or basic site would need. There’s an appealing management UI that includes user-friendly drop-down menus and various other functions. This content management system even offers fantastic support for access control standards for other web applications such as Gmail, OpenID, and LDAP.

Joomla is definitely a sophisticated CMS regarding its capabilities. Nevertheless, starting out using Joomla is not difficult, thanks to Joomla’s installer. Joomla’s installer is supposed to run using frequent shared hosting packages, and is really clear-cut taking into account how configurable the platform is.

All web hosts offering Joomla have greater than 3,200 extensions. When there is that many extensions available you’re sure the developer network driving the widely used CMS is strong. Similar to WordPress, you’ll be able to incorporate virtually any necessary functionality with an extension. Unlike WP, Joomla’s extension and theme community counts on premium plugins and themes that you pay for. Be ready to open your wallet when searching for customizations.


Web Design Languages To Learn

Being my first real post and all, why not start at the beginning? If you’re new to webdesign and still learning or if you don’t know where to start then this is for you! This is not a guide meant to teach you how to code, but rather a guide that will point you in the right direction to start learning. I’ll breakdown and explain different languages that you should learn and the order that you should learn them in. Hopefully by the end of this guide you will feel comfortable knowing where and how to start teaching yourself to design websites.

Yes, that’s right, I said teach yourself because it’s really that simple. If you are hesitant to start learning because you think programming may be difficult let’s put an end to the that train of thought right here. Literally all you need to start building a website is a computer, notepad, and a web browser. You don’t even need to have a server! Web scripting is not difficult and there are so many great tutorials available on YouTube alone that I’m confident in everyone’s ability to learn. Seriously, I bet you could have a pretty a handle on HTML basics in less than a hour.

The Order To Learn Web Design Languages & Where To Start:

  1. HTML5
  2. CSS3
  3. PHP & SQL
  4. JavaScript
  5. jQuery

html5 logoHTML5 is the first language you want to learn. If you were to compare building a house to webdesign, HTML would be the foundation and wood framing. HTML is what gives websites structure by creating inline and block elements, essentially containers that hold everything on a page. I highly suggest searching for some html tutorials on YouTube and follow along. Open notepad and duplicate the code shown in the video, listen to the instructor, and save the file as .html. This will allow you to open the notepad file you created in a web browser. Once you’ve done this you have created your first webpage!

CSS3 Logo CSS3 is the second scripting language that you MUST learn. Going back to our house development analogy CSS would be the blueprints. This language controls exactly how everything looks in the browser. I mean everything from the position of an element to its size, color, and shape. You will want to use CSS as much as possible to dress up your site opposed to using decorative images. CSS loads and is displayed almost instantly, but images on the other hand need to be downloaded and will significantly slow down how fast a page loads.

I personally feel that CSS is more of an art than a science just because there are many techniques that will produce the same desired result. It all comes down to how the artist, or in our case designer, uses css to create a beautiful webpage. The world of CSS is vast and never ending, I’ve been using it for over five years and I swear that I still learn new CSS techniques with every project. All in all, CSS is very easy to use and learn, but what you can do with seems infinite so be patient and learn to love it!

phpPHP & SQL are the third languages you want to learn and both go hand in hand. PHP is a very powerful object oriented programming language that’s handled server side opposed to a client side (By client side I mean the codes is parsed in the web browser). Think of PHP as the wiring and plumbing, if you want to do anything other than eat and sleep in the house you’ll need it!

Learning PHP is more challenging than HTML & CSS, but it’s without a doubt worth all the time you spend learning it and more! PHP is based off of C, so if you are familiar with C or C++ learning PHP will be a cinch. In my opinion, if you can dream it you can build it using PHP. The possibilities of this programming language are infinite. What makes this language so powerful is that it’s dynamic, and can be manipulated in anyway you want to create and retrieve information using databases; hence familiarizing yourself with SQL, the database language. Have you heard of Facebook, Wikipedia, Digg, or Photobucket? Those are just a few sites that were built using PHP, it truly is an amazing language and I highly recommend learning it.

JavaScript JavaScipt is the fourth scripting language that I recommend learning. JS is another object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. But unlike PHP it’s client side and parsed in the web browser, which means the page will not need to be reloaded to execute functions. This is great because interactive features can be created and used by your site’s visitors seamlessly.

To be a bit more clear on the difference let’s imagine you created two calculators, one using PHP and the other JS. If you were to make a calculation with the PHP calculator the page would be reloaded to spit out the result. Since the language is server side the calculation would need to be performed before the page loads. On the other hand if you were to perform a calculation using the JS calculator the task would be handled through the clients browser (client side) and spit out a result instantly without reloading the page. But unlike PHP, it’s not possible to store calculated result in a database and use that information later for something else. Using a lot of JavaScript can cause heavy load times and really bog down a site as well. Don’t view JS & PHP as one being better than the other. Think of them as two powerful languages to be utilized for different task, just like hiring an electrician and plumber.

jquery jQuery, the final frontier! jQuery isn’t really the last language you can learn for designing websites since there are plenty of others. But if you can get a handle on these five languages I guarantee that you will be capable of building websites that can literally do anything. All this language is is a small, fast, and feature-rich JavaScript library. It makes things like HTML document traversal and manipulation, event handling, animation, and Ajax much simpler with an easy-to-use API that works across a multitude of browsers. jQuery basically makes it a lot easier to use JavaScript on your website, so having a background in JS will make a world of difference when using jQuery!

That’s it!

If you are willing to learn these languages your sites will not only look amazing, but actually be amazing as well. All you really need to learn to start designing sites is HTML and CSS, but your sites will likely be boring and static. Programming languages like PHP & JS opens the door to a whole new user experience with dynamic and interactive content. The best way to learn is by doing. Roll up your sleeves, open up notepad, fire up some tutorials, crack open some books, and dive right in!


Welcome Webmasters!

My name is Jessica Dittmer and welcome to JessicaDittmer.com! I’ve been a WordPress developer for the last five years. My goal is help and discuss web development techniques with everyone interested at all skills levels. Whether you are just learning about web development or you have been designing websites for years this is a place for everyone. Like many developers, I love using WP as a content management system. Over the years the CMS has evolved just like web design in general. I put this site together to share some ideas, techniques, and some of the stuff I’ve been up too. There’s really so much to talk about regarding web development. The site has been divided into four topics of discussion.

Web Design – This section is pretty straight forward it’s just a discussion on all things design related from languages, techniques, CMS, etc.

Web Hosting – Over the years I’ve had a number of hosts both good and bad. I’ll share my experiences these hosts and “try” to give an unbiased assessment of the overall service and support.

SEO – Search engine optimization is always a pretty hot topic with all constant changes. I’ll be discussing safe ways to improve your site’s rank, some basic white hat techniques, and any big changes Google throws our way.

Surfing – Work aside, the internet is a very fun place. I’m going to use this section of the site to highlight interesting stuff I find surfing the web.

That pretty much sums up the breakdown of the site. For the most part the site’s just my thoughts on web development, but what I hope for is that it can become something more. I hope the site will overtime turn into a place of discussion for web designers, and I know we can make that happen together. If there’s anything you would like to see featured here in a post please let me know. Just send me a message through the contact form on the site. I hope you all enjoy and find the site useful!

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(Here I Am! =D)