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Need some advice on what tools to use for web development.

First off, I am NOT a beginner. I have lots of experience developing
professional web sites and am a professional software developer.
Unfortunately I've been out of web site development for the past 2
years but would like to get back into it. What I need is some advice to
get me up-to-date on what is the best (or one of the best) ways of
developing web sites and web applications.

The following are my requirements:

* Static web pages need to be created that consist primarily of text
and graphics. They need to be based on some form of templates so that I
can change the look and feel of all web pages easily.

* Dynamically generated pages will be created using ASP.Net. It would
therefore be nice if the tool can allow me to create nice pages based
on templates but has good support for ASP.NET.

* Good support for CSS and XML

I last used Visual Studio .NET 2003 and while it sufficed, I didn't
think it was entirely suited for creating well managed and good-looking
web sites. A tool like Dreamweaver probably has some advantages over VS
but I am not sure what since I've never used Dreamweaver.

What about the latest version of Frontpage? Would it compliment/enhance
ASP.NET?

I don't have the latest version of VS so I am not sure what
improvements Microsoft made to the IDE for web site development. Just
some small things or major changes? Does it compete with Dreamweaver?
From your own experience, what would you recommend. Eventually I do

need to create ASP.NET applications so I will end up using VS.NET but I
can always use the version 2003 for that unless of course the latest
version does most of what I need.

Thanks for you help
Johann Blake

May 2 '06 #1
12 1683
There are some fundamental changes in VS 2005 that makes it a bit nicer
to work with. It supports XHTML (and uses it by default). It no longer
mangles the code when you switch to design mode (major rewrite of the
design management).

For templates you should take a look at Master Pages in .NET 2. It
neatly separates the page skeleton from the page contents.

You can download Web Developer 2005 Express for free from Microsoft, and
it can be installed along side VS 2003 without any problems.

jo*********@yah oo.com wrote:
First off, I am NOT a beginner. I have lots of experience developing
professional web sites and am a professional software developer.
Unfortunately I've been out of web site development for the past 2
years but would like to get back into it. What I need is some advice to
get me up-to-date on what is the best (or one of the best) ways of
developing web sites and web applications.

The following are my requirements:

* Static web pages need to be created that consist primarily of text
and graphics. They need to be based on some form of templates so that I
can change the look and feel of all web pages easily.

* Dynamically generated pages will be created using ASP.Net. It would
therefore be nice if the tool can allow me to create nice pages based
on templates but has good support for ASP.NET.

* Good support for CSS and XML

I last used Visual Studio .NET 2003 and while it sufficed, I didn't
think it was entirely suited for creating well managed and good-looking
web sites. A tool like Dreamweaver probably has some advantages over VS
but I am not sure what since I've never used Dreamweaver.

What about the latest version of Frontpage? Would it compliment/enhance
ASP.NET?

I don't have the latest version of VS so I am not sure what
improvements Microsoft made to the IDE for web site development. Just
some small things or major changes? Does it compete with Dreamweaver?
From your own experience, what would you recommend. Eventually I do

need to create ASP.NET applications so I will end up using VS.NET but I
can always use the version 2003 for that unless of course the latest
version does most of what I need.

Thanks for you help
Johann Blake

May 2 '06 #2
Does Web Developer 2005 Express support the "Master Pages" you
mentioned or is this feature only available in the latest version of VS
2005?

May 2 '06 #3
Yes,

Visual Web Developer 2005 supports Master Pages.

Richard

May 2 '06 #4
Have you ever used Master Pages? If so, I'd appreciate some comments on
their usefulness, good points and bad points.

May 2 '06 #5
I've not been using them for long but my experiences with them have
been pleasant enough thus far.

They're great for creating a template for your site in fact that's what
they're there to do.

You can arrange your template exactly how you want to using the same
methods you would an existing page (css, tables ...)

Within your master page you set content placeholders, then all you do
is add a page to your project and it will prompt you to select a master
page you want it to belong to.

Plus points - it's a fast way to create a standardised looking site,
with very little effort, and all the flexibility of html / css.

Bad points - I haven't come across any yet. (That's not to say they
don't exist) Like you I'm a software developer but I have not been
using .Net 2.0 for long.

It's horses for courses like most things: If what you want is a
standard looking site with the same menu / look and feel for each page
then they are just the thing for you. If you want a site where each
page is very different then probably best left alone.

May 2 '06 #6
Thanks for the helpful insight. I want the website to have a consistant
look and feel so that I can update menus, headers and footers in one
location. It appears that Master Pages is what I am looking for.
However, I have just been reading about Themes and I am somewhat
confused. The Microsoft docs indicate that Themes are designed to do
more or less the same thing as Master Pages. But there is obviously a
differences between the two. Have you any knowledge about what Themes
are about and their relationship to Master Pages?

Thanks
Johann

May 2 '06 #7
I agree what you describe sounds like it best fits master pages.

In all honesty I have not used themes before but my understanding of
them are that they are akin to css in classic asp, in that they are set
up in your project to describe a consistent feel to your server
controls.

There may be more to them than this like I say I've not used them
myself. The enclosed link seems to be a good overview of them and how
to implement them.

http://www.codeguru.com/vb/vb_intern....php/c7937__1/

I guess that the main difference is that the masterpage contains
content as well as formatting.

May 2 '06 #8
<jo*********@ya hoo.com> wrote in message
news:11******** **************@ v46g2000cwv.goo glegroups.com.. .
Have you ever used Master Pages? If so, I'd appreciate some comments on
their usefulness, good points and bad points.


Master pages are extremely useful for common markup. You can have as many
master pages as you'd like. Nesting is supported. With this scheme, you
can create a master template with company logo. Then each department can
have it's own nested master page with a common banner strip or customized
menu, and so forth.

Master pages are very beta IMHO. The "visual" portion of VS won't work on
nested master pages. Intellisense slows down. There's a known bug where
intellisense breaks altogether unless the master page is opened in VS. That
is, the mymasterpage.ma ster file needs to be opened for editing. Weird, I
know. Master pages are a very peculiar one-way road that offer a lot of
advantages but hampers some of the editor bells and whistles.

The more you deviate from the beaten path in VS, the more you'll wrestle
against it. This is somewhat tragic as it leaves a choice between a
drag-and-plop looking website (but with rapid development) and a very nice
customized website (with pretty significant toolset issues). VS itself
won't handle much customization. I doubt a third-party tool will either.

If you do decide to use Dreamweaver, shoot for mockups. Macromedia, cough,
Adobe, has decent integration between the graphic suite and web development
suite. It's not perfect either. But its a good rapid start for proofing
concepts and communicating ideas. I doubt you'll find much success
integrating Macromedia products on a daily basis with Microsoft products.

HTH.
May 2 '06 #9
On Tue, 02 May 2006 15:25:17 GMT, "chaz" <ir********@nos pam.com>
wrote:
Master pages are very beta IMHO. The "visual" portion of VS won't work on
nested master pages. Intellisense slows down. There's a known bug where
intellisense breaks altogether unless the master page is opened in VS. That
is, the mymasterpage.ma ster file needs to be opened for editing. Weird, I
know. Master pages are a very peculiar one-way road that offer a lot of
advantages but hampers some of the editor bells and whistles.

The more you deviate from the beaten path in VS, the more you'll wrestle
against it. This is somewhat tragic as it leaves a choice between a
drag-and-plop looking website (but with rapid development) and a very nice
customized website (with pretty significant toolset issues). VS itself
won't handle much customization. I doubt a third-party tool will either.


It does stink that the current VS version doesn't support nested
masters in the designer, but I'm unaware of any "known bug" that
causes IntelliSense to not work unless the master is open. I am unable
to reproduce it either.

As for deviating from the beaten path, I seriously disagree with your
comments. VS 2005 (and specifically ASP.NET 2.0) is designed with just
that in mind! Just look at things like the provider model and adapters
in ASP.NET 2.0. Those are two excellent examples of technology built
into the product that _encourage_ developers to stray from the beaten
path, and your experience in doing so will be one of amazement in just
how cool the technology really is.

Jim Cheshire
Jimco Software
FrontPage Add-ins and Software Reviews
http://www.jimcosoftware.com

Author:
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003
Special Edition Using Microsoft Expression Web Designer
May 2 '06 #10

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