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Old 19th July 2018, 02:42 PM   #1
blutoski
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responsive website templates sought

I was one of the early generations of web designers back in the early '90s, so understand the basic principles. However, I've been out of the loop for at least a decade, during which mobile has really changed the technical solutioning. My templates and code libraries are clearly obsolete.

I've decided to build my own website as part of becoming a professional author - I have sketched out the site map an high level requirements. Then I went looking for some more contemporary example pages, I've spent a week or so reviewing source code for what look like stripped down, simple, easy-to-maintain sites with desktop, mobile phone, and tablet dimension/user interface support.

Jesus Haploid Christ, what's with all this code? Are ten thousand lines of css and sass with some javascript baked in really necessary to display even the most basic page now?

Hoping there's a simpler solution that I just overlooked in my research, grateful if somebody could point me in the right direction.
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Old 19th July 2018, 04:44 PM   #2
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I'll be glad if you find something that makes it easy because I'm in a similar situation with my 1990's static site.

After looking at how much work it will be I've decided the easiest way is to migrate it to a WordPress based site so I can use the work of others to get the responsive design without a ton of custom coding. Then I can just code the custom theme to make its appearance unique. I did a lot of that for the blog section back when I started it in 2005. It's a pain to have to do database management and keep WordPress updated with security patches but that seems to be less work than coding a whole responsive site.
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Old 19th July 2018, 09:12 PM   #3
Ernie M
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RapidWeaver

If using a Mac, I'd recommend RapidWeaver, by Realmac Software.

You can build responsive websites without code, while having the ability to use code.

You can use an included RapidWeaver theme (template), buy a third-party theme, or use (buy) a free-form framework to build your site.

Free-form frameworks
If you want total control over your website (no pre-made theme) you can use:

Foundation for RapidWeaver by Joe Workman, or

Foundry by Adam Schiver at elixirgraphics.com

Third week of August 2018 I will launch an updated, responsive website using RapidWeaver, with a ready-made theme (Tesla Pro), no coding. I originally built the site in 2008 using iWeb (Apple website software). Back then it was designed for desk-top computer viewing. I haven't updated my website in... six years? The outdated design is not responsive, so it's practically impossible to view on a mobile phone or tablet. iWeb never was responsive. So I started over with Rapidweaver.

Life happened. And, I've been working on something (other than the website) that has proven to be very complex and time-consuming.

Responsive
My soon-to-be launched, updated website, will use RapidWeaver, with a responsive theme (template), no coding.

I'm designing the site with mobile-first (smart phone) responsive in mind. I think most visitors will use a smart phone.

blutoski, do you need to sell your writing, or a book or books, on your website? If so, there's the ability to use (buy) a RapidWeaver stack for e-commerce.
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Old 20th July 2018, 03:18 AM   #4
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What I found is that commercial templates do the job without needing to spend hours coding.

Have a look at Templates in Time - I've been buying their product for years amd it's all highly functional and set up for easy changes. $75 will buy all you'll ever need. All CSS templates that haven't let me down yet.
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Old 20th July 2018, 07:10 AM   #5
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The main issue is that modern websites can just plain DO more stuff than before. Plus you need to take other platforms into account, so a desktop page may not look good or be usable on a phone. And yes, someone used to old-style JavaScript coding will find the new ecosystem overwhelming.

Some useful sites I have bookmarked:

https://medium.com/the-node-js-colle...s-f695e9747b70
https://medium.freecodecamp.org/maki...s-3a1b3a87043b
https://developers.google.com/web/pr...apps/checklist
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Old 21st July 2018, 05:09 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
Jesus Haploid Christ, what's with all this code? Are ten thousand lines of css and sass with some javascript baked in really necessary to display even the most basic page now?
You're looking at two decades of pointy-haired management chasing after the next sexy thing, slapped together in three weeks (literally - look up "Agile" development) by bright young wunderkinder with a lot of flexibility but no planning or appreciation for long-term software development. From an efficiency standpoint, the 30+ advertising and tracking domains every site loads from these days are going to compose the majority of the load time, so those few extra thousand lines are barely noticeable.

I hate all of that, so I find Pure CSS to be my cup of tea.
https://purecss.io/
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Old 21st July 2018, 10:17 AM   #7
blutoski
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Originally Posted by Ernie M View Post
If using a Mac, I'd recommend RapidWeaver, by Realmac Software.

You can build responsive websites without code, while having the ability to use code.

You can use an included RapidWeaver theme (template), buy a third-party theme, or use (buy) a free-form framework to build your site.

Free-form frameworks
If you want total control over your website (no pre-made theme) you can use:

Foundation for RapidWeaver by Joe Workman, or

Foundry by Adam Schiver at elixirgraphics.com

Third week of August 2018 I will launch an updated, responsive website using RapidWeaver, with a ready-made theme (Tesla Pro), no coding. I originally built the site in 2008 using iWeb (Apple website software). Back then it was designed for desk-top computer viewing. I haven't updated my website in... six years? The outdated design is not responsive, so it's practically impossible to view on a mobile phone or tablet. iWeb never was responsive. So I started over with Rapidweaver.

Life happened. And, I've been working on something (other than the website) that has proven to be very complex and time-consuming.

Responsive
My soon-to-be launched, updated website, will use RapidWeaver, with a responsive theme (template), no coding.

I'm designing the site with mobile-first (smart phone) responsive in mind. I think most visitors will use a smart phone.

blutoski, do you need to sell your writing, or a book or books, on your website? If so, there's the ability to use (buy) a RapidWeaver stack for e-commerce.
Looks promising. I'll try the free trial. Particularly the 'static website' situation. Although, this does still mean some programming for me probably (eg: searching, or tagging for keywords and themes in the blog section, that sort of thing) but that's fine if it can be integrated into a static page framework that can be maintained from the mac.

Regarding ecommerce... probably not books (I am going the agent/publisher route), but may explore parallel revenue streams with some self published down the road, and either way, merchandise is possible, so will explore options at that time.
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Old 21st July 2018, 10:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
You're looking at two decades of pointy-haired management chasing after the next sexy thing, slapped together in three weeks (literally - look up "Agile" development) by bright young wunderkinder with a lot of flexibility but no planning or appreciation for long-term software development. From an efficiency standpoint, the 30+ advertising and tracking domains every site loads from these days are going to compose the majority of the load time, so those few extra thousand lines are barely noticeable.

I hate all of that, so I find Pure CSS to be my cup of tea.
https://purecss.io/
I will definitely explore this. I was also looking at Bootstrap, but this looks easier to use (although fewer features than Bootstrap). But my thinking is, whatever works for my use case, which is a pretty basic site plus a little flexibility for quick and dirty code hacks that might be fun for other authors.
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Old 21st July 2018, 10:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
What I found is that commercial templates do the job without needing to spend hours coding.

Have a look at Templates in Time - I've been buying their product for years amd it's all highly functional and set up for easy changes. $75 will buy all you'll ever need. All CSS templates that haven't let me down yet.
This was my startingpoint, picking up templates. Basically, I found they were just not working for me so far, as my first step would be "how do I integrate a search function into this" followed by "and a keyworded blog" and then "and my story randomizer perl script" &c. Suddenly I was spending more time reverse engineering the templates than I estimated would be better used just building a site to my requirements from scratch.

So this is the stage I'm at right now, looking to see if I just missed something out there that everybody knows about, but I'm so out of the loop these days. I'm the only actual experienced coder in my social group, everybody else conforms their site functionality to the templates, I can't do that, I want the site to grow from my functional requirements.
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Old 21st July 2018, 10:31 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
Looks promising. I'll try the free trial. Particularly the 'static website' situation. Although, this does still mean some programming for me probably (eg: searching, or tagging for keywords and themes in the blog section, that sort of thing) but that's fine if it can be integrated into a static page framework that can be maintained from the mac.

Regarding ecommerce... probably not books (I am going the agent/publisher route), but may explore parallel revenue streams with some self published down the road, and either way, merchandise is possible, so will explore options at that time.
ETA: i always get anxious about proprietary content managers. I have explored many over the years, and without exception not one of them is still in business, so i had to hack perl scripts on the server to support sitewide updates. Eventually I built a perl cms, but obviously my problem now is the site templates are just so obsolete, so in my head I thought, "I'll just update the templates," and realized the level of complexity has inflated by an order of magnitude.
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Old 21st July 2018, 03:55 PM   #11
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What about Bootstrap?

My son recommended it to me a year ago.

There are free Bootstrap Templates available.

It is not my forte, but the web pages seem to work on PCs, laptops, tablets and mobiles
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Old 21st July 2018, 06:39 PM   #12
Ernie M
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Maybe ask on the RapidWeaver Forum

Hi blutosky,

A good resource for suggestions on what you're looking for (if it's regarding RapidWeaver) is posting on Realmac's RapidWeaver Forum.

There are third party search stacks you can add to your RapidWeaver project. Look on the RapidWeaver Community and do a search for "search."

But try a post on the RapidWeaver Forum, you'll get better answers than I can give.
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Old 21st July 2018, 06:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Belgian thought View Post
What about Bootstrap?

My son recommended it to me a year ago.

There are free Bootstrap Templates available.

It is not my forte, but the web pages seem to work on PCs, laptops, tablets and mobiles
Bootstrap is what I was hoping to compare against. It's very robust, which is great if I'm a corporation that wants to rapid deploy an intranet. But its drawback is that it loads so much onto the target device, 99.999% of which I will not be using, since my site's requirements are so bare bones.

PureCSS seems to be a good lightweight alternative, and it is compatible with Bootstrap and can load subsets of functionality without the full overhead.
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Old 29th July 2018, 07:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
Bootstrap is what I was hoping to compare against. It's very robust, which is great if I'm a corporation that wants to rapid deploy an intranet. But its drawback is that it loads so much onto the target device, 99.999% of which I will not be using, since my site's requirements are so bare bones.

PureCSS seems to be a good lightweight alternative, and it is compatible with Bootstrap and can load subsets of functionality without the full overhead.
OK, I finally settled on a framework: W3.CSS. At least until the next revision.
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Old 29th July 2018, 08:27 PM   #15
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I did some design back in the day and turned my nose up at WYSIWYG platforms, some of the results were really disgusting.

But of course they've come a long way. Wix and Squarespace and Wordpress make clean responsive sites super quickly and have any features I think an author page could want.

Unless you want to do anything particularly idiosyncratic, I'm not sure why you'd want to got more DIY than that.
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Old 1st August 2018, 12:49 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
I did some design back in the day and turned my nose up at WYSIWYG platforms, some of the results were really disgusting.

But of course they've come a long way. Wix and Squarespace and Wordpress make clean responsive sites super quickly and have any features I think an author page could want.

Unless you want to do anything particularly idiosyncratic, I'm not sure why you'd want to got more DIY than that.
Responsive is different than WYSIWYG. The frameworks I was comparing, I still 'roll my own' in a text editor.

Responsive means one layout adapts to different screen types, mainly PC vs Tablet vs smartphone dimensions. There are various frameworks that do this, and I went with one that has fewer features, but looked easier to learn. I can always remaster them later.


ETA: sorry I think i misunderstood your question. The answer is that i do want to do things that the inline editors don't really lend themselves to, which is that firstly their structures are heavily leaning toward chronological sites like blogging instead of flatter hierarchy archival style sites like what I'm planning, so I've found myself fighting the templates constantly. And secondly, i just get furious when I can't figure out the image cropping algorithm and spend more time trying to get dimensions and cropping to work on an image than i could have spent maybe just designing the entire page myself. And lastly, some of my work is interactive, and manipulating templates to work with server side compiled code has just been driving me crazy.

Worth noting: all bets are off for Gutenberg, but I'm expecting it's just replacing the set of known design frustrations with a new set.
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Old 1st August 2018, 01:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
Responsive is different than WYSIWYG. The frameworks I was comparing, I still 'roll my own' in a text editor.

Responsive means one layout adapts to different screen types, mainly PC vs Tablet vs smartphone dimensions. There are various frameworks that do this, and I went with one that has fewer features, but looked easier to learn. I can always remaster them later.


ETA: sorry I think i misunderstood your question. The answer is that i do want to do things that the inline editors don't really lend themselves to, which is that firstly their structures are heavily leaning toward chronological sites like blogging instead of flatter hierarchy archival style sites like what I'm planning, so I've found myself fighting the templates constantly. And secondly, i just get furious when I can't figure out the image cropping algorithm and spend more time trying to get dimensions and cropping to work on an image than i could have spent maybe just designing the entire page myself. And lastly, some of my work is interactive, and manipulating templates to work with server side compiled code has just been driving me crazy.

Worth noting: all bets are off for Gutenberg, but I'm expecting it's just replacing the set of known design frustrations with a new set.
Sorry, I probably phrased that in a dumb way. Your edited response gets to what I was asking.

Makes sense. I've definitely spent too long battling wordpress to do things that would have taken five seconds in direct html and css.

In the end, I felt that I'd spend more time wrangling with trying to make a hand-written site dynamic than I would bending a WP theme to my needs, but that doesn't seem to be the case for the content you want to use.
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Old 2nd August 2018, 06:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Sorry, I probably phrased that in a dumb way. Your edited response gets to what I was asking.

Makes sense. I've definitely spent too long battling wordpress to do things that would have taken five seconds in direct html and css.

In the end, I felt that I'd spend more time wrangling with trying to make a hand-written site dynamic than I would bending a WP theme to my needs, but that doesn't seem to be the case for the content you want to use.
The other requirements that i bring to the table on this one are portability and load speeds.

By avoiding SQL entirely and using server side apps to cms the otherwise static site, all my pages load in something like a tenth of a second.

A related article that came across my desk this morning: [The ******** Web]
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Old 6th August 2018, 11:48 AM   #19
Ernie M
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I learned a lot from everyone's posts. Sorry I couldn't contribute. One big thing I realize is it would be helpful for me to learn to code. I can't devote that time now, so I'll use a RapidWeaver template with some addons.

After I update my website to a responsive theme, I'd like to show some examples why I don't think I could ever write the code that's used to produce some of the results.

Crap, I don't know much...I had to look up SQL, Pure CSS, and Bootstrap.

Given my (lack of) website creation skill-level, drag-and-drop functionality of RapidWeaver works well. (But keep in mind, my understanding with RapidWeaver is if you can write code you can produce anything you want, so you don't have to use a template if you don't want to.)

I'll look at w3.css that you mentioned. I see the w3schools.com website looks good.

Thank you blutoski, and everyone.

-Ernie Marsh
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Old 24th August 2018, 02:47 PM   #20
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I just wanted to thank everybody, this was a great resource for bringing me up to speed on the current approach to site design, and I'm now in the iterative tweaking stages.

Hopefully this design will last at least the next decade, but if not, i'll be back.
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Old 25th August 2018, 09:39 PM   #21
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Slightly off topic, but several months ago I suggested to a website owner that he add the date as well as the time to his webcam page. Here is his response:


Quote:
[G]ood webpage design these day leans strongly towards a minimalist principle, rather than providing information.

My reply was


Quote:
If a website doesn't give information, what good is it?
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Old 27th August 2018, 07:15 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
I just wanted to thank everybody, this was a great resource for bringing me up to speed on the current approach to site design, and I'm now in the iterative tweaking stages.

Hopefully this design will last at least the next decade, but if not, i'll be back.

Just to put this into perspective, blutoski chose the objectively correct solution. This is not one of the infinite amount of overloaded "frameworks" you can use to build a website, this is a toolkit for easy application of the modern standards developed by the creators of the web with support of all large players. w3.css is the way if you want to modernize your stinky old late 90s webpage. Period.
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