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Dynamic Website - where to start?

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If this belongs into the beginners section, just put it there...


This year I will have to start thinking about creating a dynamic website - you know, not just looking pretty and with buttons to click, but the complex stuff. It is to be the site of an art association. Paying members should be able to upload photos, people should be able to fill out forms to register, maybe even a forum could be involved.

So far it just looks mount everest to me.

I would like to get some ideas about what will be necessary to learn besides my HTML and CSS? I have a vague idea that probably this will involve PHP and databases but I am a complete idiot concerning these things (so far) - where can I find databases and programming explained for complete idiots? Where do I start planning this site?

Is there a good step-by-step tutorial for anything like this around?

What am I forgetting that will get me stuck for months without getting anywhere?


And what could cost a site like that if I let anyone build it for me ? (Once I should be busy doing art, not web design... )





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You don't need to reinvent the wheel if it has been done already.


What you should be looking for is a Content Management System (CMS) that will do most (if not all) of these functions.


Here's a topic that list a handful of CMS software.


You can check out Open Source CMS, Blog, etc. Each one has it's own demo that you can try out.


I believe all of them are free but you will need to learn the software itself. Some are easy to customize while others are more difficult.


I believe we have users on this forum that uses Joomla, CMS Made Simple and Drupal that can provide you will some help with any questions you may have.


How much would a site like yours cost? It hard to put a price on something base on how very little info we have to go with. Besides, such figures are usually not discussed publicly on this forum.

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Just use a Content Management System like Drupal or Joomla etc. : CMS (Content Management System) : Accessibility


Otherwise if you want to have it on Unix, PHP. If Windows, C# and .NET would be better.


Then MySQL for the database, MySQL language for MySQL Database, or SQL if you use a an SQL Database. MySQL is a derivitive of SQL so learning SQL would help with MySQL if you go that route.

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Thank you all.


So the list is:






to get an interactive site going?


What exctly are doing database and CMS, anyway? I still halfway understand what I do with PHP and I know a MySQL database from my shop template wich I started experimenting with - in that case it would contain a list of articles to sell.

I guess a Content Management System manages content... but how exactly? Is it not the same as a database?


Sorry for these probably most stupid questions possible. The price of consequent autodidactic learning are huge gaps where the dim light of our interest never tried to shed light.




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The short answer is that CMS uses databases and so you don't need to really know PHP or MySQL unless you want to make customization that will reconfigure how that CMS functions.


Nearly all CMS build the database tables for you. The only thing you have to do is create a database name which is normally done in the control panel via your host. When you install a CMS, it will ask what that database name and of course the user name and password for that database which is provided when you first create the database name.


If you have a domain and a host provider already, you can check the host's control panel to see if they have a few CMS software to install. This will probably be the easiest way to get started.

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The content is then saved in the database, When a page is requested, the content is pasted into the template and for that short time it exists. So that it is in fact a Dynamic web page.


CMSs allow you to mange content and membership. You need no editors other than if you want to change the template. The content is created in the CMS with an internal editor so you can access it from any computer anywhere with an internet connection, even smart phones. You are admin, but you can give different levels of authority to others as assistant managers. You can allow members for private viewing or visitors. members can post if you like with or without approval. Most also have RSS feeds so people can keep up with new info.

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