What is the best website design application for Linux?

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What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby k273 on Sun May 01, 2011 12:58 pm

Hello again,

I want to create a website totally in Linux (no Wine etc.) but I have difficulty deciding just what is the best site creation/web design software for Linux.
I have experience using M$ Frontpage and must admit that it was the easiest WYSIWYG for me back in the days. Before that I delved into textbased html writing.
I also looked at Dreamweaver when it was still Macromedia, also Joomla! and Nvu in their infancy. But I always came back to Frontpage, probably because of sense of familiarity.

Those were long time ago. Seeing where Linux is now, I wonder: is there a better program for this purpose under Linux? I prefer WYSIWYG to text html scripting. What can I say, I'm getting old, and am getting lazy.

Thanks for the heads up!
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby ThistleWeb on Sun May 01, 2011 2:09 pm

Nvu / Kompozer (one is a fork of the other dead project, I forget which is which) is probs the only WYSIWYG web editor native on Linux. Bluefish is excellent but involves coding. I gave up building sites by hand ages ago, Drupal is so much easier and more professional. The ability to drop in features to a site with a few clicks of a mouse is amazing.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby k273 on Mon May 02, 2011 12:24 am

ThistleWeb wrote:Nvu / Kompozer (one is a fork of the other dead project, I forget which is which) is probs the only WYSIWYG web editor native on Linux. Bluefish is excellent but involves coding. I gave up building sites by hand ages ago, Drupal is so much easier and more professional. The ability to drop in features to a site with a few clicks of a mouse is amazing.


Oh yeah, I had put my hands on Kompozer (this is the fork) and it made good first impression for me, but I want to stick to one after I had tried every app available.
Haven't tried Bluefish, will look into it.
Heard good things about Movable Type (but if I'm not wrong it's a paid service), Drupal and Wordpress too, but which is better and has more customizable layout?

Thanks for commenting, ThistleWeb.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby ThistleWeb on Mon May 02, 2011 3:12 am

Comparing Drupal and Wordpress is kinda like comparing apples and pears. Wordpress is a fantastic blogging platform, it's grown to encompass a lot of stuff but it's primarily a blogging platform. This means that while it's fantastic for some things, you're fighting against the very nature of the application to do others.

Drupal is a jack of all trades, the flexibility is mindblowing. Basically ANY website you see online you COULD do in Drupal, even the most crazy sites could be maybe 90% done with Drupal, modules and themes, the other 10% being functionality not found in modules that you'd have to add manually. Drupal is a bit of a steep initial learning curve but if you get passed that initial climb, you find yourself on the top of the hill surveying the landscape and your imagination explodes with possibilities. The vast majority of Drupal sites don't use any custom coding, plenty don't use a custom theme, it's all just Drupal and off the shelf stuff to build the site the way they want.

The difference is that Drupal is a sorta building blocks style, want a forum? You got it. Want a Wiki? You got it. Want a blog? You got it. Between CCK (Content Construction Kit) and Views modules you can create the world, and have it display in any way your imagination can conceive, and that's before you even think about applying a theme.

I am a bit of a Drupal fan, so factor that into my answer :lol: I do screencasts on both Linux (Mint) and Drupal, both aimed at getting new users over the initial confusing hump if you want to check them out. Most of the Drupal episodes are on Drupal 6 but the theory is the same.

http://thistleweb.co.uk/screencast
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby DataMan on Mon May 02, 2011 5:09 am

To add to ThistleWeb's comments a bit. It is my strong recommendation that you seriously consider an established CMS if you're looking at a public site. There is so much kiddy hacking going on today with respect to web sites that you are far more exposed to this stuff unless you use a robust security structure as found in the CMS packages. Of course these package bound web sites are also exposed to hacking, but the developers stay on top of the latest exploits so you have a relative degree of safety with these engines (assumes you stay current with updates.. :) ).

I'm currently own and manage 3 separate public sites using Joomla CMS. This package meets my needs with respect to content flexibility and ease of use. Additionally, I avoid the php programming to maintain the sites.

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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby fraxinus_63 on Mon May 02, 2011 9:05 am

Good replies above from DataMan and ThistleWeb above. My own background is as a hand-coder so I have never used WYSIWYG tools like Frontpage, but I have been creating websites solely using Linux for some time now.

For CMS websites - I have not yet used Joomla. WordPress is easy to install and maintain, but you need significant PHP skills (or maybe consider paying someone to make you templates and plugins) if you are to create a website that looks like a website, rather than like a blog. I am learning Drupal. I have found the learning curve very steep indeed - there is not a lot of documentation, and it can be hard to find the add-on modules that you need to add specific functionality to your site. However, a few months into the game I am starting to grasp its real potential - which, as ThistleWeb says, is vast.

For coding static HTML, there is nothing like Quanta Plus. This is an old KDE3 app which has never been ported to KDE4, and maybe never will be - I find it shocking that one of KDE's crown jewels has been abandoned like this. However, it is available via Synaptic and it installs and runs just fine in Mint under both Gnome and KDE. It is not really WYSIWYG but it provides a lot of useful auto-completion and other tools and shortcuts, and it is very easy to use in split-pane mode showing a continuous preview of your page as you code it.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby BrianHay on Mon May 02, 2011 8:33 pm

Have you had a look at ocPortal? I have been using it for quite a while now and love it.

It is very customisable, comes packaged with everything you need (no need for third party addons), the documentation for both regular users and developers is very in depth and the community is excellent. The core developers themselves are very active in the forums and quick to offer up help if you need it.

I just installed version 6.2 RC1 on my localhost (runnig 6.1.1 on my websites ) and wow I am impressed to say the least. I am going to upgrade all of my sites right away.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby Fandangio on Mon May 02, 2011 11:13 pm

Thanks for the tips on CMSs.

I've run a small primary school website for some time now and had been looking at dynamic content (but didn't really know where to start). I'd previously got about as far as installing XAMPP before deciding that it was too complicated and time consuming to learn.

I've just reinstalled XAMPP and Joomla which makes content management seem pretty easy. Just playing with it at the moment (as I'm not yet sure if I'll be able to install this on the sites server) but it's good to learn.

Any newb top tips or links would be appreciated (and I hope this still suits, and fits in with the OPs original request).
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby k273 on Tue May 03, 2011 3:21 am

ThistleWeb wrote:The difference is that Drupal is a sorta building blocks style, want a forum? You got it.


A forum? Now that's great news. I actually wanted to do some blogs and a forum to accompany them where everybody can talk about what's in the blog, and the prospect of learning different apps to make each is disheartening!

ThistleWeb wrote:I am a bit of a Drupal fan, so factor that into my answer :lol:


Most definitely :wink:

ThistleWeb wrote:Wordpress is... primarily a blogging platform... you're fighting against the very nature of the application to do others.
Drupal is a jack of all trades, the flexibility is mindblowing. Basically ANY website you see online you COULD do in Drupal.


DataMan wrote:It is my strong recommendation that you seriously consider an established CMS if you're looking at a public site. There is so much kiddy hacking going on today with respect to web sites that you are far more exposed to this stuff unless you use a robust security structure as found in the CMS packages.
Additionally, I avoid the php programming to maintain the sites.


fraxinus_63 wrote:WordPress is easy to install and maintain, but you need significant PHP skills (or maybe consider paying someone to make you templates and plugins) if you are to create a website that looks like a website, rather than like a blog. I am learning Drupal. I have found the learning curve very steep indeed - there is not a lot of documentation, and it can be hard to find the add-on modules that you need to add specific functionality to your site. However, a few months into the game I am starting to grasp its real potential - which, as ThistleWeb says, is vast.


I did not imply that I'm comparing them, it's just they are the things that got the most praise from what I always saw and I want to know which is better to serve my purpose by asking people who have extensive experiences with those different apps. And comments you gave is just what I need guys! Thanks! These give me a heads up of what I'm gonna encounter with each apps, and which to avoid.

fraxinus_63 wrote:For coding static HTML, there is nothing like Quanta Plus.... it is available via Synaptic and it installs and runs just fine in Mint under both Gnome and KDE. It is not really WYSIWYG but it provides a lot of useful auto-completion and other tools and shortcuts, and it is very easy to use in split-pane mode showing a continuous preview of your page as you code it.
.

BrianHay wrote:Have you had a look at ocPortal? I have been using it for quite a while now and love it. It is very customisable, comes packaged with everything you need (no need for third party addons), the documentation for both regular users and developers is very in depth and the community is excellent. The core developers themselves are very active in the forums and quick to offer up help if you need it.


Fandangio wrote:I'd previously got about as far as installing XAMPP before deciding that it was too complicated and time consuming to learn.
I've just reinstalled XAMPP and Joomla which makes content management seem pretty easy.
Any newb top tips or links would be appreciated (and I hope this still suits, and fits in with the OPs original request).


Thanks. Will look into them too. Curious, I never heard of ocPortal...
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby barko on Tue May 03, 2011 4:28 am

You can use WB7 on Linux with Wine too, here is quick how-to:


1. Download WineTricks script: wget http://www.kegel.com/wine/winetricks
2. chmod +x winetricks
3. ./winetricks riched30 vcrun6 msls31
3.1 ./winetricks allfonts fontfix (if you need more fonts only)
3.2 ./winetricks gdiplus (use winecfg and deactivate this library if you experience crashes)
4. Download WebBuilder: wget http://www.wysiwygwebbuilder.com/webbuilder7.zip
5. unzip webbuilder7.zip setup.exe
6. Install WB7: wine setup.exe
7. Run WB7 from your Desktop

Some fancy things are not working, but you can use this software to make really good web pages.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby k273 on Tue May 03, 2011 6:30 am

barko wrote:You can use WB7 on Linux with Wine too


Thanks for the comment, barko! But I try to stay as native to Linux as possible with everything I do these days. It's just that I miss those Need for Speed series I played since the first one in 1995 :( :( :( :( :(
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby ThistleWeb on Tue May 03, 2011 7:06 am

A common misconception with all CMS's from the universals like Drupal and Joomla to specialized blogging, forum, wiki etc is that you need skills in the language it's written in (mostly MySQL and PHP). For the most part you don't need to know any of that, although knowing it will help you expand beyond the modules and themes currently out there. You don't need to understand HTML or CSS either, although that's useful for tweaking themes to your liking.

When I build a Drupal site, I only need to look at the CSS for a little while at the start to make minor adjustments, after that everything is done inside the browser. This has the advantage of not being OS specific, all you need is a competent web browser and an internet connection. You don't need any FTP application to upload new images, videos, music or new posts. You can add new posts from your smartphone if you like while on the train. Much like this forum, click a "new post" and the box opens up where you can type, then click "submit". This forum is PHPBB btw, another CMS but specifically designed as a forum. Drupal is nowhere near as advanced as this in the forum stakes, but perfectly competent.

These software packages are designed so that you do everything inside the web browser, they have a back end administrator interface of some sort that the end user never sees. It's there that you enable modules, create menus, add different streams of content into specific places ie latest forum posts on the right sidebar in the forum section, or a grid laid out list of latest items in your store, or allow users to change the sort and filter order on a list of titles in a genre to include / exclude various things (think price low to high, or high to low, include or exclude web only offers).

CMS's give such flexibility and power that I wouldn't even consider building a site by hand now. Modern websites are often social places, where the site owners / maintainers want to interact with their audience, and have the audience create a community behind the site. That's what compels people to return over and over again, giving you more eyeballs to target other things at, like launching new services. Being able to add a fully functional forum with a few clicks is priceless. How long would it take you to hand code that assuming you do have the programming knowledge?

It may be easier to conceptually think of CMS's as website operating systems, there are so many little things that you don't notice but they all need to be there and working, like a way to manage user accounts for logging in, signing up, spam protection, email reminders, email verifications to name just a few. The mature CMS's have had a LOT of man hours building, tweaking, re-tweaking and polishing of their systems so that they do work well. They also have huge communities built around development and support of modules, themes etc

The subtle differences I've noticed between Drupal and Joomla, is that Joomla came from a more closed background, where it's the norm to see addons and themes as paid options, or having to agree to a EULA such as limiting the number of sites it runs on, or including a link back etc Drupal and all it's ecosphere has been built right from the ground as proper FOSS / GPL. You'll struggle to find any Drupal stuff that's a paid or closed module. The flip side of that is that developers struggle to sell Drupal modules or themes, it doesn't stop them selling support, or custom work however.

Joomla installs with a lot of dummy data so you have a working website right from the start, with links, pages, lots of content. This is handy to explore but it means you have to clear it all out or edit page after page when building. There is an option in the installer not to do that, although when I tried it, the installer ignored that and filled it anyway. Drupal on the other hand installs as a very KISS, light base with only the default front page filled in, it gives you an introduction to where to start with your new Drupal site, and disappears when you create your first piece of content and put it on the front page. The Drupal ethos is to be very minimal and let you add on the features you want.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby k273 on Tue May 03, 2011 10:08 am

ThistleWeb wrote:CMS's give such flexibility and power that I wouldn't even consider building a site by hand now. Modern websites are often social places, where the site owners / maintainers want to interact with their audience, and have the audience create a community behind the site. That's what compels people to return over and over again, giving you more eyeballs to target other things at, like launching new services. Being able to add a fully functional forum with a few clicks is priceless. How long would it take you to hand code that assuming you do have the programming knowledge?

Yes. It is imaginable. Points taken. Nice insight.

ThistleWeb wrote:The subtle differences I've noticed between Drupal and Joomla, is that Joomla came from a more closed background, where it's the norm to see addons and themes as paid options, or having to agree to a EULA such as limiting the number of sites it runs on, or including a link back etc Drupal and all it's ecosphere has been built right from the ground as proper FOSS / GPL. You'll struggle to find any Drupal stuff that's a paid or closed module.

So I read. They say -and this is a major difference, they say- a big portion of modules to use in Joomla is not as free or open source as in Drupal and that we have to pay for it.

I recently read Drupal's "for whom/not for whom" page here: http://drupal.org/node/346217 and already thought that Drupal is the grail that I've been looking for all this time. But it also mentioned that there will be a lot of time and energy to invest in learning the curve you say, ThistleWeb.
I'm curious, if I shall work alone to build three websites on different subjects, a wiki page and a forum, how many learning and working hours would I have to spend before I can make decent ones? What's your experience, ThistleWeb? Anyone?

Thanks again.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby ivan_rookie on Tue May 03, 2011 10:31 am

Thanks everyone, it's a great thread.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby k273 on Tue May 03, 2011 10:38 am

ivan_rookie wrote:Thanks everyone, it's a great thread.

Yes, it certainly is. I learned a lot in just a day.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby TinyTony on Tue May 03, 2011 11:18 am

Last years have seen the decline of static webpages built with an editor and then uploaded by FTP in favor of CMSs for non-professional websites. I am a big fan of those CMS (my favourites : Drupal for websites, Dotclear for blogs, do not like CMS Made Simple), but I am starting to think again that for some small projects, static webpages are perhaps the best option, quick and efficient. Evidently, if dynamic content is implied, using a CMS is better for avoiding security breaches. But there are not such "security breaches" in a plain static HTML/CSS website !

For those static websites, using a WYSIWYG editor is never so good. The code it produces is ugly, and you never know if it will work correctly in all browsers. So for me, the best website design application is gedit if you need a static webiste of only a few pages with text and images ;)

Writing in HTML is easy and clear. You have, what, 20 tags to learn ? In fact, once you get used to it, it is easier to write h3 than to select a "level 3 title" in an interface. So just write down your content with html tags, prepare your images (have a resizing tool at hand), make your stylesheet, upload, and that's done. Ok, that will make very simple-looking websites : better for the people looking for the information.

Another option : very lightweighted CMS, like Plume CMS : http://pxsystem.sourceforge.net/ - it still needs a MySQL database, however. There are XML-based CMS out there like http://pluxml.org/ (tested it, liked it) or http://get-simple.info/ (good ratings) that doesn't need databases. BTW, you can freely test all the common CMSs here (no subscription) : http://php.opensourcecms.com/
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby ThistleWeb on Tue May 03, 2011 11:42 am

Bluefish is excellent as an editor in that it stays out of your way, colorizes the code (so you can see at a glance when you forgot to close a tag, or the closing tag is in the wrong place etc), as well as doing (optional) tag completion. As soon as you type the > part of <p> it fills in the </p> at your cursor for you. It also has keyboard shortcuts for highlighting a line of text and CTRL+ALT+P to wrap it in a <p></p> tag. There are loads of shortcuts. I do tend to like Bluefish for HTML and CSS, but as I said, with Drupal the coding part is very minimal.

Gedit is awesome too as a multi purpose text editor. I'd also advise adding Geany to your bag of tricks. Geany has a couple of fantastic abilities hidden up it's sleeves. If you have a lot of pages and want to do a find / replace on all of them, Geany has a "in session" option in addition to "in document", meaning you can open all your files in tabs and run a single find / replace and watch all your tabs light up to tell you they've been modified. Geany also has a terminal embedded at the bottom of the screen, along with a scratchpad for ideas and notes, among other things.

As far as the time ti takes to learn Drupal, it all depends on what type of sites you're talking about. There are some conceptual things you'll need to grasp with Drupal before you get your head around actually doing stuff with it. I plan to do a whole series of screencasts about both Linux (Mint) and Drupal from the perspective of getting new users over the initial confusing hump. So far most of my screencasts have been on Linux, my Drupal ones are mostly on Drupal 6. Conceptually there's a lot of similarities between Drupal 6 and 7, the main differences is that Drupal 7 has an optional administrator overlay like Wordpress, and it can install / update modules / themes etc direct from the web interface. Drupal 6 and below had to be done via FTP. The concepts of nodes, blocks, taxonomy (think of them as tags) etc are all the same.

It is worth noting that the WYSIWYG editor in this forum text area (allowing you to click a button to make it bold, add a link, a smiley etc) is not the norm in Drupal, it's not there by default. It is easily added with the WYSIWYG module, then a library like CKeditor.
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby Fandangio on Tue May 03, 2011 1:11 pm

That would be great ThistleWeb.

I'm still playing with Joomla and learning quite quickly. It'll be good to have some nice easy tutorials on another CMS, there are some pretty decent ones on Joomla.

On a plus note I'm able to upload this to my site server, I just need to get MyPHP and SQL enabled (which is currently in progress).
One thing I'm not quite sure of is whether it is possible to upload this alongside an existing site (I suppose it would be but can't find any info).

Is this possible?
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby TinyTony on Tue May 03, 2011 1:19 pm

Fandangio wrote:One thing I'm not quite sure of is whether it is possible to upload this alongside an existing site (I suppose it would be but can't find any info).

Is this possible?

Yes, just make a subdirectory www/joomla and joomla will appear at http://youdomainname.net/joomla/.

For other options, it depends on your hoster. Usually, you can attribute a subdomain to a folder in www/, like www/joomla/ being linked to http://joomla.yourdomainname.net/
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Re: What is the best website design application for Linux?

Postby Fandangio on Tue May 03, 2011 1:26 pm

TinyTony wrote:
Fandangio wrote:One thing I'm not quite sure of is whether it is possible to upload this alongside an existing site (I suppose it would be but can't find any info).

Is this possible?

Yes, just make a subdirectory www/joomla and joomla will appear at http://youdomainname.net/joomla/.

For other options, it depends on your hoster. Usually, you can attribute a subdomain to a folder in www/, like www/joomla/ being linked to http://joomla.yourdomainname.net/


Many thanks, I thought that might be the case but wasn't 100% sure...
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