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Volume 68, Issue 136, April 18, 2003

Arts & Entertainment

Website design isn't only for the experts

By Michael Twigg
The Daily Cougar

Not everyone can write HTML code. There are even fewer people who understand layers, or know why a certain tag is not defining a proper function within a page. The next obstacles in creating a website are even less inviting, DHTML, Java Script, Java Applets, CSS, PHP and so on. Even database functions and include files are a bit outside the average knowledge of website construction. 

The process is not rocket science, a sexual knowledge of mathematics is not even a prerequisite; but, you do have to trade obscene amounts of time. Time is a commodity the average college student does not have. The tools are often offered for free and websites like cnet.com can allow you to find shareware and freeware products that can help you just as well as expensive programs, plus the added bonus of personal comments from users of these programs.

Generous souls have spent countless months discovering every technical aspect of website development and usually offer services to help the average novice create their own website. A myriad of sites offer free templates for HTML pages ranging all the way through flash driven secure virtual storefronts. Remember you can buy a program to do anything, but most often what you just paid money for is offered for free.

One of the best websites that offer free art is, deviantart.com. But the layout of a site is just the beginning. A list of tools to do things right is good for newbies. A really nice program is phpnuke.com. The best advice anyone can give is to get a good hex editor like ultra-edit, which will allow you to edit any file at the most basic level. Once you have a program like macromedia flash or FrontPage you can begin searching the internet for free web templates. Companies like designgalaxy.net offer paid for services and cheap pre-made templates, but many sites offer templates for free.

MSN, AOL, Geocities, Yahoo and many other free email resource sites offer free guestbookis and bulletin board services. You can utilize online step-by-step instruction or you can go that extra step and spend a little extra time making your site "Leet." One of the best free open source BB services is PHPBB.com.

Whether you want to embed winamp (javazoom.net) into your website and stream the latest Rammstein or simply want to add movable windows to your pages (bratta.com) take the time to search for what you want to do. 

Send comments to dcshobiz@mail.uh.edu

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