Building a website : Need Lots of Tech-Advice

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zaurav

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Oct 4, 2005
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13
hey yall,
There is this website that I'm planning to make and I had a couple of ideas but no way of implementing them. My website would consist of user blogs, a forum, polls, and a portal. the whole concept is that only registered users are allowed into the site. by registered I mean people who have signed up with their college email address (so that it can be verified that one person does not make 2 accounts). What do I have to do to make this possible? something like the Facebook, where you HAVE to sign in before you can access anything else.

Secondly, I have no idea what bloggin software or forum to install. I am very inexperienced w/ these kinds of fronts and would like you all to give me advice on which one is a good blogging onsite software and a forum too. I like TSG's forum. It is simple to use and still has quite good functionality. Can I have one like this on my site?

Also, what would be a relatively simple way to build an entire website. I'm trying to use Dreamweaver 8 and upload the site via FTP. Is there a way I could solve my above mentioned problems using Dreamweaver?

Currently, I have just bought the domain and hosting for the site but havent really done anything with it. I'll prolly put an 'Under Construction' page for the time being. Hosting provides Cpanel for site management. I still have to figure out a lot of the options.

As you may have already noticed, I don't know much about website development, but that does not mean I'm not a quick learner. So if you have any advice for me, no matter how technical, please feel free to let me know about it. I would love some website where I could goto for resources on How-To build portals.

Thanks.
Z
 

zaurav

Thread Starter
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
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13
Thanks a lot guys. I appreciate ure help. I have another problem now. I m using Word Press for weblogging facilities, PHP-nuke for my portal, Viper guestbook. I've run into a problem. word press requires its own account, and so does all the other stand alone scripts I have installed. Isnt there a way I can configure it to just accept 1 universal user account. What I mean is say you log into my site. then you want to goto the blogs. There you will have to enter another user id and password. cant I just link the mail S/n with all other accounts on site? Anyone get what I'm saying? I know its something to do with databases, just dont know what.
thanks
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2006
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First of all, you're going to HAVE to learn SQL. There's a quick primer at w3schools.com.

I haven't used any of the programs you've listed, so I'm not sure what kinds of database connections or logins they set up by default, but once you become familiar with php enough to read through them, you're going to have to figure out where each of the login tables are stored and make sure they all point to the same table and are using the same column names and are in the same database. Once you have all of your programs pointed to the same login table, you problem with separate accounts will be fixed.

To be honest with you, you should probably try to completely set up just one part of your website (probably the blog will be easiest) and figure out every step that it's doing and learn how to code and set up your database from that. Once you become familiar with how your blog works, you might want to try to add on one other componenet (maybe guestbook) and blend it in well with your already-created blog by using the same database. If you can merge your two separate parts successfully, then creating the message board and portal shouldn't cause you too much trouble.

This project is a huge undertaking for someone with little web experience. What'll probably trip you up the most is the whole client-server interaction, be sure you understand very well how that works before you start trying to program everything yourself.

Also, from my experience, I'd stay away from places like hotscripts, planetsourcecode, and dynamic drive. Even though there are a few good scripts that will do what you want, 95% of the one's I've seen are badly programmed and will teach you the wrong way to do stuff. Stay away or only use the really high rated ones.
 

zaurav

Thread Starter
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
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thanks treydx! I'm gonna do that. Fix up my weblog and then slowly add other stuff. I just wanna know one thing. Suppose I open up my site with just the weblog and nothing else. Later on I decide to put up a picture gallery, a forum etc. These are standalone applications and need their own unique members. I just hope it is possible that I can link members from their weblog usn to have their own picture gallery or forum nick without having to register individually for each one. Anyone know what I'm talking bout?

Anyways, I'm gonna have to learn Php at w3schools.com. Thanks for the link. I guess I do have a huge task ahead of me, so going to take things one at a time.

Does anyone have suggestions on which forum I should install on my site?
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
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Yes, you could take it one step at a time, but there is a much, much easier way to do things:

Use a CMS, or Content Management System. A CMS is like a website, blog, forum, etc. all rolled up into one package, and they are fairly easy to install. The only problem is that you might need something extra or you don't like the way something works, which can be frustrating.

However, I would definitely check them out, as they can cut weeks off of building your website, and they make Content Management a lot, lot easier (hence their name). If you are going to take a shot at one, I would think of building your site around the CMS, not building the CMS around your site (you run into a lot less problems).

Two CMS' I recommend are Drupal and Mambo. Drupal takes a more blog-like approach, while Mambo gives the "website" feel. I know Drupal has a very basic forum, and Mambo probably does, but you may want to have a separate forum.

Of course this brings the problem of seperate user accounts, but that aside, there are three main forums out there:

  • vBulletin, $160, 5 out of 5 stars
  • IPB, $185, 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • phpBB, Free, 4 out of 5 stars

If you are low on $$$, phpBB would be the way to go. Otherwise, I would spend $160 to get the lifetime license to vBulletin.

Some sites that run on Drupal:
www.sreadfirefox.com
www.thetechbubble.com

Some sites that run on Mambo:
www.airlinepilotcentral.com
www.waterandstone.com
More here...

Hope this has helped you... Please reply if you have questions! (y)
 

zaurav

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Joined
Oct 4, 2005
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13
Hey Ericsrocks, I've been thinking about what you've said, and I think its a really great solution to my problem. I haven't tried out Mambo or Drupal but I have already installed another content manager called Geeklog. I don't know if you've heard of it, but if you have could you give me your feedback on it? What I want for my site is basically, a blog, a forum and a picture manager. I have also already installed a forum (Simple machines forum) and was wondering whether I could integrate this into my portal. Are all these Content Management Systems fully customizable? What I mean is would it be legal for me to change a couple of things in there to make it work like I want it to? For example, I want to make custom user pages like those on Hi5.com or facebook.com (with a friend's list and groups and stuff). In order to do this will I have to install any additional software or is it all done by coding? For the time being I plan to use the Geeklog content manager on my site and slowly make changes to it. If you've got any advice for me please let me know.
Thanks.
 
Joined
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2,382
Geeklog is a very good and complete WCMS. There are allot of addins for it too, so it's very customizable.

I have helped setup several, and they are very happy with their Geeklog sites.
 

zaurav

Thread Starter
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
13
hey sequal7. I agree geeklog is cool and got some quite useful plugins. But i have a problem already. All my newly registered members are not getting their confirmation emails so I have to set them up manually. Do you have any idea as to why this might be happening?
thanks
 

zaurav

Thread Starter
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
13
update:
My site's folder is not on the root server (unix server btw). rather it is placed inside /public_html/geeklog . I also want to move the entire contents of the geeklog folder up one level to public_html. I have put up an index.php file in public_html folder so when anyone goes to www.mysite.com they see the index.php. From there they get redirected to /geeklog. Could this be the reason I cant seem to send mail from my site because I havent placed the folder correctly?
Is there a remedy?
thanks
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2005
Messages
2,183
zaurav said:
update:
My site's folder is not on the root server (unix server btw). rather it is placed inside /public_html/geeklog . I also want to move the entire contents of the geeklog folder up one level to public_html. I have put up an index.php file in public_html folder so when anyone goes to www.mysite.com they see the index.php. From there they get redirected to /geeklog. Could this be the reason I cant seem to send mail from my site because I havent placed the folder correctly?
Is there a remedy?
thanks
Well it's probably not the reason why your emails aren't going out, but it is a good idea to move it all from /geeklog to your HTML root directory.

Unfortunately, you'll (should) run into problems if you just move all the files. The easiest way to move it is to just uninstall it and reinstall.

But if you can't do that, first I would just move it and see what happens. If everything works then it looks like you can just leave it. :)

If something goes wrong, you need to look for a configuration file. Somewhere in there it should have an address for your site. You need to change that to get rid of the /geeklog.

Hope this helps. :)
 

zaurav

Thread Starter
Joined
Oct 4, 2005
Messages
13
Yay! Email confirmation now works!! Yeah I had to uninstall/reinstall but hey I'm not complaining. Thanks a lot for you guy's help. I really appreciate it. Geeklog is an awesome CMS. Its got plugins for everything. It really was wise to build my site around a CMS and not the other way round. Thanks again
 
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