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Mobile-friendly website

Postby BJG145 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:36 am

So, band member buys new mobile and makes a fuss because band website looks terrible. Not surprising since it was thrown together by amateurs in Dreamweaver before mobile phones were invented.

I'm Googling around the subject and seeing a lot of stuff about WordPress. I've never used it before; is this a sensible way to go...? Would rebuilding this fairly basic website in WP make it mobile-friendly and solve this problem in the easiest way...?
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby desmond » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:39 am

You either use a system that has responsive design built into it (Wordpress, Squarespace etc), or you roll it yourself.

If you're not a web nerd, it's easier to use a system where someone else has done this for you.

It really depends on what your requirements are. All of these things can be tried out, so I'd suggest picking one or two that look fitting and start to migrate your content to build a little test site and see how it goes - then decide from there...
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby BJG145 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 11:47 am

OK! Thanks Desmond...
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby blinddrew » Wed Apr 29, 2020 3:49 pm

We recently moved from roll-your-own to wordpress. Mobile compatibility was one reason but the other was being able to spread the load.
Writing decent code is hard, moving widgets around is easy.
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby BJG145 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:21 pm

Thanks blinddrew. I think we'll go with Wordpress, although it's starting to drive me nuts already, simply getting rid of the %$??&!!ing page title that it puts up by default. After an hour of Googling and trying out different plugins and custom CSS, I'm going to have to admit defeat for today.
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby BillB » Wed Apr 29, 2020 4:34 pm

I must admit, I sometimes think that HTML and CSS is 'tricky', but I have witnessed various people getting well-lost within the plugins and extensions and widgets and compatibility and updating issues inside Wordpress. It requires it's own kind of hard-earned expertise.

Thus far my inclination has been to find a good (mobile-friendly) HTML/CSS/JavaScript template (lots of free and low-cost online) and then combine the various elements to suit. Admittedly, one comma or bracket out-of-place can break a page, but it isn't too difficult to fix in a decent editor like Notepad++.

There are a number of online sites where you can build a website with drag-drop elements - sort of online Wordpress, I suppose. These are fairly simple, provided they have enough elements to do what you want. Haven't yet found one that persuaded me that the cost and simplicity were sufficiently in its favour to move from using HTML (not coding!... using = copy and paste intelligently).

Having said all of that - Desmond, Muzines is simply fabulous, in so many way (e.g. the search engine). What's the technology behind that?
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby desmond » Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:28 pm

BillB wrote:Having said all of that - Desmond, Muzines is simply fabulous, in so many way (e.g. the search engine). What's the technology behind that?

Well thanks! :blush:

I have a long and complicated history with CMS's, which I won't go into now. Every project is different. But given the choice, unless you know something out there absolutely fits your requirement 100% - now, *and* in the future - I vastly prefer to do it myself and build *exactly* what I need, rather than struggle with retrofitting third-party components and realising they can't do what you need - it becomes a nightmare quite quick.

So mu:zines in terms of CMS is 100% custom written from scratch (php with a mySQL database), and I simply add the features I want as I go (which is a luxury!), or as I get to them in my feature/issue tracker.

The website front-end uses a Twitter Bootstrap 3 grid-layout system (https://getbootstrap.com), which gives you a fairly standardised responsive CSS grid layout which will work from web through to mobile. I initially started the front end playing with Blocs (https://blocsapp.com) when I was trying it out to see whether it was worth using, but good as it is I outgrew it pretty quickly, and it's basically all done by hand.

Then I use Jquery for the dynamic stuff, with a few third-party components/plugins, and a lot of custom stuff and tweaking.

There's also quite a lot of custom admin tools that I use to help manage my workflow and make adding and maintaining content as easy and efficient as possible - being able to build *exactly* what I need in this regard is also really important in keeping my sanity - and anything that over time becomes burdensome I often try to improve or automate in whatever way I can. Sometimes the smallest things can make a massive difference...

As for the search stuff, again, it's all just me trying to figure out ways to best present the content and ways that I think are most useful for the site visitor, and there's always room for improvement here. I often look at search queries that people are doing, seeing what the current results are like, and then use some of those things to inform and tweak the search handling to be better in more use cases. But then people make the weirdest search queries sometimes..! But doing search well is, not so much hard*, but complicated, as a straight text search across your text fields is not that useful - my most complicated database queries are in the search handling...

So, probably more detail than you wanted(!) but in short, it's a Bootstrap responsive grid template and JQuery, some Google fonts, a few third-party extras and about 70,000 lines of custom php/JS code...

Doing search *really* well *is* hard though...
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby BillB » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:13 pm

desmond wrote:So, probably more detail than you wanted(!) but in short, it's a Bootstrap responsive grid template and JQuery, some Google fonts, a few third-party extras and about 70,000 lines of custom php/JS code...

Well, just enough to explain why it is so darn good.

I have not come across those links before:
(https://getbootstrap.com) - looks very interesting, albeit rather more technical than just editing a styled template. Definitely going to investigate further.
(https://blocsapp.com) - could be lovely if I had a Mac. Sensible sort of price too.

thanks Desmond
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby Vox Gnus » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:31 pm

Depending on the complexity of your site, you might want to have a look at Mobirise Website Builder. http://mobirise.com

The dynamic layout for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices works very well.

I've used it for several sites, and it's very simple to use. For most purposes, the free version is quite sufficient. But it does have some limitations, so be sure it can do what you need.
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby BJG145 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:12 pm

Vox Gnus wrote:Depending on the complexity of your site, you might want to have a look at Mobirise Website Builder. http://mobirise.com

Thanks...I'll probably check that out as I'm not a web programmer, Squarespace looks simple but relatively expensive, and I find Wordpress starting to get quite annoying quite fast. I don't want to get lost in a labyrinth of installation quirks and plugin version compatibility in a system that seems to have been badly adapted from a blogging tool. :tongue:
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby BJG145 » Fri May 01, 2020 11:37 am

After calming down a bit and buying an inexpensive but professionally coded theme instead of experimenting with flaky free ones, I'm actually getting into this now...I think it's gonna be OK. :thumbup:
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby desmond » Fri May 01, 2020 12:02 pm

:thumbup:

Look on it as an opportunity, rather than a chore... 8-)
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri May 01, 2020 12:54 pm

Following this thread with interest as the band only has a 1 page site and I’m researching doing it right.
Some guidance from the braintrust here appreciated -

The site I want to build/have built is more of a biographical/historical site rather than a looking for gigs site. I have 43 years of recordings, films, pictures, posters etc etc. I want the site to show some of the highlights over the years but I’m literally stuck with how to proceed. I’ve looked at so many sites my head is about to explode, but I was leaning towards a timeline approach. Clean and easy to navigate. But how do you keep it concise with years of data?
Any basic philosophies appreciated. I’m not great with programming but can usually figure out modifying templates.
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby desmond » Fri May 01, 2020 1:05 pm

It's a data organisation issue, and a design issue.

I'd start by first looking at the data I had, and think about options of how I want to present it. Do I want to put it all up? Do I want one long page, or break it up into sections? What kind of data is it? If it's text and images, do I want to put a few images inline with the text, and have an image gallery for others?

Once you've got a handle on the data you have and how you want to present it, you have a design issue of the best way to lay it out. If you want ideas, you can always have a search around and get inspiration for how other people have achieved something similar.

That should give you some ideas...
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Re: Mobile-friendly website

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri May 01, 2020 4:34 pm

I've been using Weebly for about 9 years now and currently support four sites - with three different levels of features/cost and am possibly soon to be commissioned to take on a fifth.

Although I have a background as a programmer, I'm always mindful that someday/one day someone may have to take over management of a site if I'm no longer available. I have on several occasions been contacted by people who have had a website developed for them that they now couldn't manage at all because it was written in HTML and the person who developed it was no longer available/able/willing to keep it up to date. If you, or someone you know, is good with HTML and you're sure that they'll always be around to support the site then use HTML. If not use one of the major Content Management Systems.

Weebly is not without its issues... page layout is somewhat proscribed and database linkage is a pain. Just before the present nonsense was started I was asked to come up with options for a new local history site. Weebly wouldn't have cut it; I think I'd have gone for Wix in that case.
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