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Questions As A New Developer


AlanLeffingwell
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Hi Everyone,I recently completed my HTML certification and have a job now making a site for my portfolio. Everyone starting out has problems. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by several factors, any advice is greatly appreciated.1. The pages I'm working on have alot of 'static' or repetitive data. I want to stay HTML strict and do things right. I have no idea what is a regular/standard/proper way to display repetitive data across a site. For example links, a news region, branding related things. The only way I know of directly is frames. Obviously they're not an option. I've heard from a friend that .asp is a way to do it. The only way I can think as a newbie to do it, is have the static things be written by javascript and the contents of the .write to be in an external file so I only have to ever edit one thing.2. I'm making repetitive edits to several pages now and it is becoming monstrous going in and out of each document. There has got to be a more efficient way to edit many documents at once. What are some tools you can recommend for managing many files? As a developer now I use notepad, photoshop and illustrator. I'm 'behind the times' you could say even though I just started. I'm not rich and I don't want to use pirated tools for my breakout into an honest professional career.3. My CSS is becoming rapidly patchy with little fixes here and there, I can see where - were my site much bigger than the 7-8 pages it is now I might have a heart attack undoing the fixes. I started out with a clear plan had all the content the client provided markedup strictly speaking and had a map for my CSS. With constant changes in demands, constant additions to the content - how do you guys keep up and stay sane? To me this brings up questions of professional ethics - where do we draw the lines of the clients demands and keeping things manageable for ourselves. Obviously as someone new to the trade I don't know what to expect/think in this situation.HELP!! lol, I'm excited to be putting all the skills I've been learning to use, and on the whole mechanically I'm comfortable manipulating what I need to. The main issues are with organization and proper etiquette. Thanks in advance guys.Kindest Regards,Alan

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Question one is easy, and your friend is on track. ASP is an option. So is PHP. There are a lot of PHP users on the board, so that in itself makes it work looking at, if this board is a place where you like to hang out.The technique will remind you of frames. Write one document, insert it in many places.Here's a PHP example. (ASP doesn't look very different.) Say you want all documents to have the same banner, navigation system, and footer. In skeleton form, your document might look like this:

<?php	include 'banner.php';	include 'nav.php';?>	Here you put the HTML content unique to THIS page<?php	 include 'footer.php'; ?>

The include function might be the only PHP you know, but you can still do this, and save a LOT of time. And it's even better than frames, because each source document for a frame has to be a complete HTML doc, with all those <head> tags and stuff. When you use server side includes, you only need HTML fragments, since you're basically pasting the content into the middle of a document. So, for example, nav.php might only contain a set of <div></div> tags and whatever links go inside them.

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I've been down the same css path not knowing how to keep track of everything. I've found it much easier to have 1 main css file for the whole site and split the code in the css file into chunks relevant to each page using simpe comment tags. Anything that is on every page goes a the top of the css file and anything else goes inside the relevant commented section. It just makes finding the code much faster.As for what software to use, there are loads of free software options out there but personally I still prefer notepad. It keeps things simple and you end up writing better code after a while as the software isn't correcting things for you.As for keeping sane, find something big and soft and put it at the sde of your PC then when things start getting insane .. hit it ... works for me!!

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2. Notepad is way too basic for my tastes. There are much better text editors out there that offer enhanced features without, as ProblemHelpPlease mentions, trying to "correct" your code. One of these features is Find/Replace in files which allows you to search all of the files in a given directory for a particular string/regular expression match and replace it with other content. Another feature is syntax highlighting. Staring all day at black text on a white background gets really annoying. It's much nicer to see the code highlighted.If you've never seen syntax highlighting in action, here are some images to give you an idea:http://images.google.com/images?q=syntax%20highlightingI use Visual Studio every day. It's my main editor. There's a free version of the WebDeveloper tools here:http://www.microsoft.com/express/vwd/For others, check people's sigs in this forum, a number of them have links to their favorite text editors.

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@Deirdre's Dad,I will start burning the oil in PHP to get a more firm understanding of the basics and what you mentioned. It's fascinating how far things have come as I work from HTML upwards. We've got a lot to look forward to! Also I am trying to get more active in these forums. I've never really been a big forum person but there's so many concerns with Web Development having a community like this is to valuable to ignore.@JeshThanks for that link to the MS Web Development tools. I'll certainly be taking a look at them later, also I noted as a result of your syntax highlighting link there was a cool looking program called 'Vim' .. I've also seen some people post information about Notepad++.@HelpI've been doing the same. Comments are a god-send. Thanks for your advice I will say to check out Vim or this other gentleman's edition suggestion. They're both looking pretty interesting!Kindest Regards,Alan

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I've never really been a big forum person but there's so many concerns with Web Development having a community like this is to valuable to ignore.
I'm with you on never having been a forum person, but look at me now, 2100+ posts. heh. There are definitely some helpful people in this forum.
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