The Time-sink of a new web site

March 26, 2006

Over the Spring Break, I spent some time developing a new web site for my mother's RV park and campground business. Over all I'm pretty happy with the results (especially considering what it used to look like). The main drive for making the site over was to make it easier for people without much web experience to navigate through it. I made the buttons very simplistic (and most are based on signs you would see in parks), and over all the site is very picture driven.

I also wanted my mother to easily add her own content without having to email me every time she wants to update. I found a hosting service which allowed me to easily install wordpress and gallery. Now she can post news updates and pictures easily through the application interfaces or even by email (with wordpress that was easy, haven't figured a way to email with gallery yet). I think the wordpress "news" sections will really allow her to get info out quickly, and it shouldn't be too hard for her to manage.

I wrote most of the site by hand using Textwrangler and later with Taco HTML Edit. Both really great and free text editors. Textwrangler is my new favorite, and I use it for just about everything. But Taco has some nice features and I can see how it would be a good idea to keep it around. I used a great CSS template to not have to worry a lot about the basic layout.

One thing I am still frustrated about is that my mother uses a lot of punctuation, namely: "", ', &, and !'s. I've found that these characters don't transfer over to HTML very gracefully and so have been trying to find a quicker way to replace them with the correct codes, besides doing it all by hand.

I think Textwrangler is powerful enough and scriptable enough to do this, but I couldn't figure out an easy way to search and replace multiple characters at one time (although it did a good job when finding and replacing just one character at a time).

I am still looking for a good solution to this problem. I tried "MassReplaceit" and "iReplace" but neither worked very effectively. I would think there is an easy solution to this kind of problem. What do professionals do when they get a large amount of text from a higher up to be placed in a web site? Is there a trick I'm missing, or an industry standard I don't know?

I'll keep looking, and hopefully find a better solution than, "use dreamweaver".

Any suggestions about the new site? Tell me

Update:  I remembered that Textwrangler has the ability to "Open from ftp/sftp" which allows me to just edit and save directly to the site.  This should make updates for the base pages go a lot quicker.  Thanks Barebones software for the awesome free-ness that is Textwrangler. 

 

Advertisements