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12-14-17 06:47:37 PM

Jul - Computers - Help with Website Creation New poll - New thread - New reply
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A.J.
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Posted on 07-19-14 01:33:52 AM (last edited by A.J. at 07-19-14 01:37:25 AM) Link | Quote
Hello, fine folk. It's been too long.
Recently I have come up with an idea for a website, and I am fairly serious about pursuing its creation. The idea for the site came about like this.

I have Bipolar II disorder, and I had recently made a pretty poor decision caused by stress and problems relating to this illness. When I realized I had disappointed a friend, I came to my senses. I started looking for ways that I could prevent it from happening in the future. In preventing this sort of thing, the ability to connect to and problem solve with people who have similar experiences is, well, invaluable. So that was the first thing I looked for. As an introvert, I already have a strong tendency to look for connections on the internet, and it is much harder to find people who have similar problems in person who you actually get along with. So, I searched for online support groups for bipolar disorder. What I found for that and mental disorders in general came up lacking. They had some pretty solid groups for people just looking for help with very specific problems, but no real place with a strong sense of community where people could go to meet others with similar problems. I thought I might like to create such a place.

A friend and I have noticed a trend that people often end up looking for connection and support on the internet when they have nowhere else to turn. The anonymity of the internet would also allow people to speak more frankly about their problems, and they would know that they would be around others who have similar experiences. The end goal wouldn't be to cut people from their immediate surroundings, but to give them tools to better cope with family and friends IRL who possibly don't have the tools to even know how to help.

I envisioned a forum site with a chat client and subforums dealing with different types of mental disorders, along with a general forum sub site with various topics.

My issue is knowing where to start. I would like to code the website from scratch and am fairly confident in my abilities to learn the coding languages I need to make it. Other than that, I know I would need money to pay for servers. If I managed to accomplish this and get the site up and running, I know I would need a system for moderation and to consider legal and ethical concerns with having that many people with high risk of suicide together in one place. Under the extraordinary circumstance that I was able to pull all of this off, and was able to attract a good deal of traffic to the site, I would ideally like to be able to make ad revenue on it and live off of the proceeds. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

My main problem right now is knowing where to start. This is my first foray into website creation, and I have yet to learn the code or to really know the full set of hoops I need to go through to create such a thing. I have a few specific questions:

1. Would you have any suggestions or cautions when looking for a server?
2. I am planning on learning HTML and CSS. Are there other types of code that I would need to gain familiarity with, or specific things to address with these two languages?
3. What is the process and what are the options for soliciting ads on a website?
4. What is the process like of ensuring site compatibility with mobile devices?

Any other advice on website creation that you can give me would be very welcome.
dotUser

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Posted on 07-19-14 01:50:14 AM (last edited by dotUser at 07-19-14 01:52:10 AM) Link | Quote
Originally posted by A.J.
2. I am planning on learning HTML and CSS. Are there other types of code that I would need to gain familiarity with, or specific things to address with these two languages?

You'll need to learn more than just HTML and CSS if you want to make forum software. Most use PHP & MySQL, others use python or perl back ends and generate every page (but this is often very load-heavy, so PHP and MySQL setups are more popular).
[EDIT: There may be ways to mesh php and other back end languages to work well too but, well, it's probably equally as load heavy as using just the back end auto-generation stuff.]

Originally posted by A.J.
4. What is the process like of ensuring site compatibility with mobile devices?

Learning how to identify what kind of browser is looking at your site is a good place to start.
You can also learn the CSS @media-type features so you can just style everything to fit better on smaller (or larger!) screens.

The other questions unfortunately I don't really have any feedback on since I've neither done ads nor had to hunt for servers myself (my friends host me, thanks friends!)
Hiccup
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Posted on 07-19-14 10:40:30 AM (last edited by Hiccup at 07-19-14 10:41:08 AM) Link | Quote
1. Look at reviews. Ask for personal recommendations. Ask for a trial.
2. I'm not so sure it is a good idea to program it from scratch, you should really base it on existing forum software.
3. Google Adsense, Project Wonderful. Basically you sign-up to a company that does the advert getting/business side for you (sort of) and you put the html snippet somewhere on your website, or you put "you ad here" or something and accept advert requests yourself.
4. a. use "responsive web design", which basically means automatically resizing the screen with CSS and making sure the layout doesn't break. Also putting fallbacks for devices that don't support something (e.g. flash fallback for html5 video, if someone is viewing on ie6).
StapleButter
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Posted on 07-19-14 12:32:32 PM Link | Quote
For the server part, I'd recommend you try out DigitalOcean. They offer you pretty reliable and cheap hosting, although it's mostly VPS hosting.

DreamHost provides good shared hosting apprently (this board is running off of that) with unlimited disk space.


Building a good, responsive website layout will take time and effort. Maybe you could use something that already exists?


Regarding the choice of programming language, PHP is the most available, all web hosts provide it.


Other than that, good luck.
shyguyhex

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Posted on 07-21-14 04:35:39 PM Link | Quote

I would like to code the website from scratch and am fairly confident in my abilities to learn the coding languages I need to make it.


Honestly, as a person who's done this, I wouldn't really recommend it to someone that hasn't web dev'd before. You would need to be really good at html, css, javascript, sql (or know how to flat-file), and language for preprocessing (PHP is what most people use), also you would probably need to know a bit about HTTP.


I envisioned a forum site with a chat client and subforums dealing with different types of mental disorders, along with a general forum sub site with various topics.


If you decide not to do it from scratch:
Free solution: get MyBB with MyShoutbox
Paid solution: get vBulletin with Inferno Shoutbox

Paid domains: http://www.domain.com/
Free domains and quick hosting/sql setup: http://www.com.nu/ (they kinda suck though, you can't get a top level domain and you have to do hacky things to remove the ads they put on your site)

More semi-decent free hosting: http://www.000webhost.com/

If I were to do good paid hosting, I'd probably go with http://www.hostgator.com/


1. Would you have any suggestions or cautions when looking for a server?
2. I am planning on learning HTML and CSS. Are there other types of code that I would need to gain familiarity with, or specific things to address with these two languages?
3. What is the process and what are the options for soliciting ads on a website?
4. What is the process like of ensuring site compatibility with mobile devices?



1. Don't use some cheap server that looks like it's hosted by an amateur, it's pretty much guaranteed to get hacked

2. If you are really doing it from scratch you should also learn Javascript, PHP, and SQL. Also good security can't be stressed enough. Learn to code defensively to block cross-site scripting, cross site request forgery, sql injection, and file inclusion/injection

3. I think if you use google adsense, it walks you through the whole process, and if you plan on installing a popular board like vBulletin or MyBB, people make plugins that make the process even easier

4. Popular forum software usually comes with mobile compatibility if you select that option. If you were to do it from scratch though, the key here is to make your website check the http parameter "User-agent" for the word "Mobile" and then switch the page's layout accordingly
BMF54123

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Posted on 07-28-14 05:12:53 AM Link | Quote
Originally posted by shyguyhex
If you were to do it from scratch though, the key here is to make your website check the http parameter "User-agent" for the word "Mobile" and then switch the page's layout accordingly

If you do that, for the love of God, provide an option to let the user switch to desktop mode.
Kazinsal
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Posted on 07-28-14 06:37:51 AM Link | Quote
Originally posted by BMF54123
If you do that, for the love of God, provide an option to let the user switch to desktop mode.

Good lord, this. And get several people with different devices of different ages and screen sizes to test to make sure the mobile layout isn't horribly unusable on a set of devices.
Lyskar
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Posted on 07-28-14 11:15:15 PM Link | Quote
The best practices way of doing it is to use the media option in your CSS to switch layouts on the fly.

Doing anything else is just janky.
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