Updating my site
Alright, so I've had the same old site for awhile now - basic HTML that I coded myself with the help of Dreamweaver. I use the site (which is currently not online) as my online demo reel, resume, "sell myself and make money", etc site. It's okay, but as I look around the web at other people's sites, I feel like it could be much better. But how?
What I'm thinking is incorporating flash to the site, but I'm not entirely sure of that process. I don't know Flash very well, but can certainly learn the program. However, when hosting a flash site, do you need a specific type of server? Can I create an entire site using just Flash? Or do I need to mix HTML with Flash to create a complete site? If I create the site using only Flash, would that simply be a Flash element that loads when you go to the site? These things I'm just not sure about....
Are there any basic outlines for going beyond HTML? When I load Dreamweaver it gives me the option of creating basic pages (HTML, CSS, XML) and dynamic pages (ASP, ColdFusion, JSP). What are all of these? Do I even need to know about them? If I use Flash, will I need one of these specific pages types?
Thanks for any help!
you are asking a lot of questions about very mile-high concepts here (technique, usability, design, standards, etc.), so it's very hard to answer, but i can try some specifics...
you don't need any special server to host flash - so that's not an issue. you can do your entire site in flash, but it becomes impossible for search engines to index and people to bookmark anything specific in it, and it is generally considered a no-no (or if you do a full flash version, make sure that you also do an accompanying html version and make a visible link to let engines and people find it).
css is cascading style sheets. if you do the site in html, you should definitely use css, and if you are using a later version of the flash software for development, you can let flash movies use css as well. xml is a markup language that is primarily used for data sharing, so it depends. things like asp, jsp, php, etc. are scripting languages that allow for the dynamic creation of content and db-connected sites, etc...
i hope that answers some of your questions at least - if you have specific follow-ups then please don't hesitate to ask!
Thank you for your response! I know this was sort of a high order question, but I appreciate your help!
My experience with flash is very limited, so knowing that I shouldn't create a website entirely from flash is great news. I going to stick with good old HTML. Keep it clean, keep it simple.
However, I'm still a bit confused about CSS. What do they actually do? I gathered from the internet that they give your website a certain "style", but I'm not sure what that means. Can you put it in layman's terms?
css is a tool that lets you assign styles to your website elements - for example, you can make all your page headers...
<span class="pageHeader">My Header</span>
green and bold in a style sheet declaration:
css either sets styles for classes (like above - all elements with the class attribute of "pageHeader" will be affected) or ids, which are single elements:
<span id="thisElementOnly">Some Text</span>
you can apply styles to just about any html tag, and the purpose is to make it easier for you to develop. you can embed styles in a page, or (and this is much more to their purpose), you can create an external css style sheet and have all pages reference it.
i highly recommend this site for learning css and other html stuff:
give it a shot and let me know if you have any questions!