So You Want to Be a Web Designer...

So You Want to Be a Web Designer...

PostBy: Richard S. On: Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:10 am

Here is brief tutorial to set you off in the right direction, if you want to take the time to learn you can do this yoursef. To get started you will need the following list of programs. They are all free and be sure to download them from the links on their site.

XAMPP - https://www.apachefriends.org/index.html

Notepad++ - https://notepad-plus-plus.org/

Keepass - http://keepass.info/

Drupal - https://www.drupal.org/

WinSCP - https://winscp.net/eng/download.php

XAMPP is developmental tool that is a few click install for all the software you need to run a developmental server on your local machine so you can familiarize yourself with what you need to do and produce a website locally. It's basically the same thing you will encounter from a hosting provider. Install in the root of your computer, e.g. C:\xampp . Start Xampp and in the control panel make sure Apache is running, in your browser type http://localhost/ That page is being served from your computer. The specific location is C:/xampp/htdocs/index.html. Delete all the files in that folder, they are just test pages.

Notepad++ is text editor designed for coding, the most important featuring is highlighting of syntax. You will not need it that much but will need to edit some files. Install it, create a new document and type "Hell World!". Save to the htdocs folder as index.html . Go to your browser and refresh http://localhost/. Congratulations you are now a web designer. :) index.* is default file served when the URL is just slash, * can be any extension like .htm, .php etc.

Create a new document with "my Second page" and save as page2.html, in your browser http://localhost/page2.html ..... If you create a folder called myfirstfolder in htdocs the same thing would apply for files in there http://localhost/myfirstfolder/page2.html . That was brief tutorial on how filesand folders workat their most basic level, the following software will take care of managing those things for in a different way called rewrites that 'm not going to explain. Before proceeding delete all those file you just created.

Install keepass if you do not already have a password manager, you are going to need to manage a lot of usernames and passwords. Create an entry named local database or what title you want to give it. Enter a username, keepass will automatically generate a password for you.

In your browser type http://localhost/phpmyadmin/ , this is phpmyadmin and is web interface used to manage databases. your host will have this interface. Click the tab user accounts, right click on the entry you made above in keepass and select copy username and paste into the username text box, do the same for password. Put a check next to "Create database with same name and grant all privileges" and then click the go button down the bottom. Now that you have database set up you can move onto installing the meat of the operation.... Drupal.

Download drupal, there will will be a file in there with very specific information on how to install Drupal, you can ignore any instructions about folder/file permissions. You will want to extract the zip file to htdocs. Drupal is content management software that is used across the globe to build websites. It's easy for a novice and can be very powerful in the hands of someone like me. You don't have to be mucking around with code or anything like that. Don't worry about breaking it, click away. You can always reinstall, that is the purpose of having it on your local machine first. If you look on Drupal's site they have all kinds of themes and extensions to modify it.

Once you have familiarized yourself enough with Drupal and built your site on your local machine get a domain and cheap $5 hosting package. Depending on the host they may assign you a database, username and password or you may create it in their control panel. Go to your local Xampp phpmyadmin and export the database. Go to your hosts phpmyadmin and import the database.

Install WinSCP, this is a FTP client that will allow you to move files from your computer to the host. You will need the credentials provided by your host for FTP. Once you are connected upload the files from the htdocs folder to your host, go back to the Drupal install instructions and be sure to follow any directions about file/folder permissions. One thing to note is you will need to edit the database settings in the Drupal settings file on your local machine before moving it so it it can connect to the database on your host. The username and password will probably be different.

All done, you now have an active site! This is just a basic overview but it will set you off on the right foot.
Richard S.
 
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