22-Aug-2010

Website Development

Building websites is not a new activity for me. I have done contract work in website development. I am not a full-time web programmer but I have suitable skills and experience in building websites and the software behind them. My interest and focus is not so much on the web technologies, although I inherently have an interest in all things technology, but rather how to launch and operate web ventures. A common phrase "how to monetize your website" applies here.

With technical programming ability in HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL, JavaScript, jQuery & Ajax, I am able to put together a decent website. For people who do not have programming skills, or prefer to bypass technical programming tasks, there are many options. The use of CMS (content management systems) is a popular option for many. CMS options include WordPress, Drupal, & Joomla. There are many blogging software options including Blogger from Google. SiteBuilder is a popular platform for people to build sites, particularly for the affiliate marketing spectrum.

I have experience with WordPress, Drupal and Joomla which I have installed and configured on my server. I do not have first-hand experience with SiteBuilder. It is perplexing and disappointing to see people start on the journey of using a CMS only to ultimately contract out development work because they lack the technical skills to deal with the CMS. HTML and CSS skills are an asset in the CMS and blogging software domain. One big negative is that CMS platforms inhibit the ultimate programmability of a website (call it ultimate customization, if you will).

Another big consideration in website development is the graphical component. I am not a graphic designer and have basic-to-crude graphical design ability. Furthermore, I am not graphically creative (possibly not creative at all). Although I would not say that "I cannot draw or create something in Photoshop to save my life", I am handicapped when it comes to graphical creation. I came upon POVRay which is a 3-D Ray Tracing system. Years ago, I had a cursory interest in 3-D and Ray Tracing but the compute power on the desktop was severely lacking in those days for such compute-intensive systems. Among other attributes, POVRay offers the ability to generate ray-traced 3-D graphical elements through the use of its specifications language. I installed the software and learned how to use it including the ever-so-critical specifications language. With POVRay, I am able to generate graphical elements for my website.


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