Sunday, 6 February 2022

Back to Websites

After a long period of inactivity on the website design and publishing front, I'm finally back in the production saddle, with a couple of projects being worked on at the moment.

I'm delighted to be helping to bring their new website together. Based on a very simple and clean-looking template, the site is initially a single page that is device responsive and elegant.

Hearth Website

I'm loving working with pre-made bootstrap templates more and more as I slowly get used to the CSS that the main part of the platform uses. As always, the more you do, the easier it becomes. Using a pre-made template as a starting point dramatically reduces the time-to-complete on a project like this. In this case we took considerably less than 20 hours for the whole page, including all the graphics, text and quite a bit of troubleshooting on the hosting side.

It always surprises me when I add up just how much software goes into the creation of even something as relatively simple as this: Photoshop, DrawPlus X8, Paint.NET, Notepad, Expression Web, Atom, Opera and FileZilla all have their part to play in the construction of assets and editing of code.

I use DrawPlus X8 to create graphical assets - buttons, logos, etc. It is a bit long in the tooth now, but I'm very familiar with it and well aware of the limitations. I do have Serif's Affinity suite, but just can't quite be as productive in the newer tools yet.

Photo editing and retouching is split between Adobe Photoshop and Paint.NET. I could probably do almost all of it in the latter package - which is free - but Photoshop has the power to do some really amazing stuff very quickly.

Like some of the other software I prefer, Expression Web is a competent editor, but now very out of date and unsupported. I'm slowly switching over to Atom - a very modern, open-source code editor with some really great features. I still need to have something like notepad handy as well, for quick edits and temporary space.

Finally, My browser of choice is Opera - they are almost all Chromium-based at this point anyway. It has a nice developer console that helps with debugging javascript and css codes. Upload to the final webspace is with FileZilla, a great free FTP client that I've used for many years now.

Don't get me wrong, websites can and do sometimes cost thousands, but with a little care, you can have something that reflects positively on your business for just a few hundred pounds.