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Web Site and Blog Design

Web sites and blogs design are a key technology for the exercise of scientific curiosity and sharing of knowledge. They also offer the potential for developing a significant income. Building a successful blog requires a blend of technology, art and communications skills. Since websites are a relatively new development, best practices are poorly understood of blog creation tips and curiosity plus a willingness to experiment are critical.

In our web site design work we have been feeling increased pressure to build more ambitious sites with attractive designs and major enhancements to back end capability. There is no way one or two people can possibly learn everything they need to do this themselves. They will either have to hire help or find tools which speed the process.

If you think about it, the web is a giant teaching tool raising expectations of all the users about what to expect from a modern website. Viewers are learning to fill out online forms correctly and expect sites to remember their user names and preferences. If you are building sites by hand you can't possibly work fast enough.

We are not interested in hiring employees and the idea of outsourcing work to India or some other country seems difficult to do well. Sites we build are typically not planned in advance so there are no detailed design specs for what we want to do. We tend to figure things out on the fly. So far our search has lead to the following: Wordpress. Wordpress is blogging software and we are using it on part of this site. It make it easy to publish information and easy for visitors to comment on the postings.

Joomla. Joomla is a content management system (CMS) which we are testing. It will handle more complex needs than Wordpress at the price of a much larger code base and is more complex to install and configure. In fact, given the frequent updates and the complexity of the product we have not found the time to really come up to speed with Joomla.

Ruby on Rails (RoR). RoR is a programming language (Ruby) bundled with a framework (Rails) with all the complexity and learning curve that implies. However, if you need to produce websites that use the latest technologies it may be a good answer. We have concluded that while Ruby offers lots of potential benefits taking time to learn a new language and framework is not how we want to spend our time.

Wufoo is an online forms creation tool which we are finding extremely useful. If you have ever tried and failed to have an online form programmed, Wufoo will be the best prototyping tool you have ever seen. By using it you will be able to create a design a programmer can actually use. You can prove this to yourself using their free version, so what do you have to loose?