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Pros And Cons Of Building An Html-only Website?

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The Simpleton

I have an idea for a website which I want to code entirely on my own. But the problem is that I have neither the skill nor the time required to learn languages like php and java which are required to improve the visual appeal of a website, and also make it dynamic and robust. In fact I don't think in my present situation I can't learn any language thoroughly except for HTML, which is of course, the most basic scripting language. I don't want my website to be "visually-appealing" - the primary intention is to get it loaded as fast as possible, and that's why I'm thinking of using only HTML and nothing else to build the site. The only concern I have is, will it be safe? Not many people will know about the site, but I'm planning to let some acquaintances at a reputed university to review the site, and they are capable of doing some mischief :P Actually I don't have to worry so much as it's an information site, pretty much like wikipedia but on a minuscule scale, so not many people would be interested in tinkering with it. But if something goes wrong when someone important is viewing the site, it would be really embarrassing; that's why I;m very concerned about security, and if using only HTML makes its security wafer-thin I would like to reconsider my options. So could someone please shed some light on this matter? (ooh it's been a while since I used that phrase ;) )


web_designer

i don't think there is a certain language secure than another, especially for HTML it is only a HyperText Markup Language, it isn't deal with database like PHP or ASP. i think you can use some scripts for security but you want only to use HTML then it is not an option.

in the other hand, you can make your website secure from your cpanal, submitting ssl security "but i don't think you need it here since your site only containing general information like wikipedia", our make sure you directories not chomd to777, here is a link to a topic i started before and have a lot of information about security

http://forums.xisto.com/topic/70656-how-to-make-your-website-secure/

good luck.


rvalkass

I have an idea for a website which I want to code entirely on my own. But the problem is that I have neither the skill nor the time required to learn languages like php and java which are required to improve the visual appeal of a website, and also make it dynamic and robust. In fact I don't think in my present situation I can't learn any language thoroughly except for HTML, which is of course, the most basic scripting language.

HTML, PHP and Java all perform very different functions. If all you want to do is display static information that you don't mind editing by hand then HTML is perfect. It's simple to learn and there are plenty of excellent resources out there to help you. If you need advanced features, such as creating a login system, allowing people to edit the content online, etc then you will need to use PHP to create that code.

I don't want my website to be "visually-appealing" - the primary intention is to get it loaded as fast as possible, and that's why I'm thinking of using only HTML and nothing else to build the site. The only concern I have is, will it be safe? Not many people will know about the site, but I'm planning to let some acquaintances at a reputed university to review the site, and they are capable of doing some mischief :P

HTML is infinitely safer than PHP. As HTML doesn't process any user-inputted information, there is no way HTML allows any form of hacking or malicious activity by your visitors. If you introduce PHP and start processing input from the user then you open up loads of security problems.

Actually I don't have to worry so much as it's an information site, pretty much like wikipedia but on a minuscule scale, so not many people would be interested in tinkering with it. But if something goes wrong when someone important is viewing the site, it would be really embarrassing; that's why I;m very concerned about security, and if using only HTML makes its security wafer-thin I would like to reconsider my options. So could someone please shed some light on this matter? (ooh it's been a while since I used that phrase ;) )

HTML doesn't affect security in any way. Your site is as secure as your FTP password.
PHP makes a site much less secure (if coded badly).

Ash-Bash

Well you may know my site Tiny- L-X, the index page is HTML though contains PHP and .CSS to make it look good and for the URL script to work (Obviously) now for a site with just content and maybe a few web widgets I would go with HTML and maybe make it in DreamWeaver or something. Though if It is going to be mine and you don't have the time just code it in PHP.I have to agree with you on the time thing about learning languages I rarely do though some how fit it in.


The Simpleton

i don't think there is a certain language secure than another, especially for HTML it is only a HyperText Markup Language, it isn't deal with database like PHP or ASP

. i think you can use some scripts for security but you want only to use HTML then it is not an option.


I don't want to bring in all the stuff like databases - I want to keep the site as simple as possible. It may not be very easy to edit large amounts of text with HTML, but at least I'll know what I'm doing!

HTML, PHP and Java all perform very different functions. If all you want to do is display static information that you don't mind editing by hand then HTML is perfect. It's simple to learn and there are plenty of excellent resources out there to help you. If you need advanced features, such as creating a login system

, allowing people to edit the content online, etc then you will need to use PHP to create that code.


I said wikipedia only in the sense that it's supposed to provide information, and not in the sense that users will be allowed to edit the content ;) So I'm not planning on any of the complex stuff you mentioned. And reading your words I'm beginning to think HTML is indeed perfect for my purpose.

 

HTML is infinitely safer than PHP. As HTML doesn't process any user-inputted information, there is no way HTML allows any form of hacking or malicious activity by your visitors. If you introduce PHP and start processing input from the user then you open up loads of security problems.

That's a relief to know. Thanks a lot!

The Simpleton

Well you may know my site Tiny- L-X, the index page is HTML though contains PHP and .CSS to make it look good and for the URL script to work (Obviously) now for a site with just content and maybe a few web widgets I would go with HTML and maybe make it in DreamWeaver or something. Though if It is going to be mine and you don't have the time just code it in PHP.
I have to agree with you on the time thing about learning languages I rarely do though some how fit it in.


Obviously I too want my site to look good but I have only one month of holidays in June to spare. If I use up that time tinkering with new languages I may not create anything impressive. On the other hand if I use HTML progress will be faster as I already know a little bit about that; and somehow I think amongst the crowd of php sites, a plain HTML site will stand out ;) On top of that it will be easier and faster to load on all computers with all types of connections. That's my theory...

web_designer

Obviously I too want my site to look good but I have only one month of holidays in June to spare. If I use up that time tinkering with new languages I may not create anything impressive. On the other hand if I use HTML progress will be faster as I already know a little bit about that; and somehow I think amongst the crowd of php sites, a plain HTML site will stand out smile.gif On top of that it will be easier and faster to load on all computers with all types of connections. That's my theory...

if you use only colors in HTML then you are right, your page will load so fast. but if you use images and flash in your site even you are using HTML then it will load slow too. if you compare plain HTML page with plain PHP page " with plain i mean with no images or flash" then HTML certainly will load faster, because php needs to connect to the database most of the time.

the point here, images, flash or java scripts will slow your pages even if you use it with HTML. also, keep in mind not using a lot of tables, because tables are slower loading than divs in CSS.

i think since you have a background about HTML, in a month you can make a good website if you use a little of CSS too. CSS will make your site look better and you will have more control of it. anyway, we are ready to help, if you need any help. good luck.

truefusion

This is why you use advanced content management systems (i.e. those that can create, edit and delete content). However, i won't say that designing a template that is compatible with the content management system is easy, but the popular ones tend to have user-submitted templates. It is true that you won't need a database, nor a system that allows you to manage files from your own website, but one of the major conveniences a content management system provides is menu generation. HTML-only pages implies that you would have to manually update the navigation menu everytime you, for example, upload a page that you want others to see. For my website i have a flat-file content management system that i coded from scratch do that for me (and a few other things for convenience)?though the system itself doesn't completely manage the content in the way one normally thinks of "management."


StvenWesley

Actually HTML is very easy if you just want to create a website using this markup language, you could not nearly learn it because most of the time you can edit webpage visually in Dreamweaver. of course,you can get a book about HTML for reference. And BTW, it is easy to learn PHP or ASP, you can learn them fastly in the course of edit your website.For SEO, people says that static page is more friendly to search engine compared to dynamic page, I am not sure about it but it is meaningful in some extent. I suggest if your site is a smaller one, static would be better and if it is very large and contians tons of information, try dynamic settings, which would be good.


shadowx

Pros: ... Um.... Nothing to play with for script kiddies or failed hackers?

Cons: Not dynamic, looks and feels like a site from the 50s, hard to maintain, useless for anything more than about 3 pages, hard to edit and add to, hard to organize, boring, dull, no form of interaction (let's face it, how many HTML only sites do you regularly visit? None)

with plain i mean with no images or flash" then HTML certainly will load faster, because php needs to connect to the database most of the time.

In a comparison this is true, however, the time difference will be on the order of MILLISECONDS for a site that does not use a database, and for a site with a medium to small sized DB, like the one the OP would probably use the time delay would be far less than .5 seconds. Regardless of internet speed. This time delay, as you probably know is that of the processing needed to run the PHP code on the server and is NOT affected in any way but internet speed or connection type.

I hate HTML only sites.... They just dont work. Even if you only learned a little CSS and a tiny fraction of PHP, or even used a premade PHP script your site's appearance would sky rocket, not to mention that users would return for the interaction. Web 1.0 died long ago, Web 2.0 is here now and we need to embrace it!

web_designer

another suggestion, if you have only little time and you want a good plain website, with good visuals. use adobe dreamweaver cs3, through it you can create a good website as stvenwesley said, and better you can use HTML template that gives you a great and fast way to create websites, you can choose how many columns in your site, choose if you want it fixed, liquid, elastic or hybrid, you can even attach CSS file to it and do all these in visual "from design tab". in the same way you can learn all about your code "from code tab".


Little Asterisk

Though in one part that is true, WYSIWYG aren't that bad when people who don't know and don't want to learn HTML would like to make just a simple website. Because, they might be building out of "lego", but their house isn't meant to be used by "real people" (if we use the lego analogy :P).So, in Simpleton's case, he can just write some text, eventually add links or some simple tables and that's it. He doesn't need more than that yet. And he can download Dreamweaver's trial to make the site since there isn't much logic in learning HTML for only one simple page viewed by people just to read the content.Notepad is the first step when trying to build a career/part-time/freelance job around website coding. :PP.S. Dreamweaver also has some useful options, you know? ;) Why bother in notepad with remembering exactly the name of a property in CSS when Dreamweaver has the help menu which appears when coding. And I'm not saying you shouldn't learn their meaning and purpose, just that it's not important to memorise "Margin, padding, background color, I'm a make a dollor" (okay, a stupid song, but important message :D)


shadowx

Oh god please dont suggest WYSIWYG!!! They are *awful* it's like building a house out of lego, they look amazing, if indeed you can make the program do as you tell it, but they just dont work!!They are massively graphically intense on bandwidth, they often use pixel widths as standard thereby making your site look ridiculous in other screen sizes, you have to pay inordinate amounts of money for second rate software and the free ones are awful too. They are horrible little programs that just dumb everything down.A webmaster should know what a webserver is, what it does, how it does that. They should know HTML and CSS at the very least. They should never need a WYSIWYG editor (well, i have used them to get precise measurements) and should be able to bring up a website with nothing but hosting space, a domain name, notepad and the GIMP.Otherwise you get second rate webmasters and you ask them a question and they just dont know the answer! Something goes wrong and then they have to pay someone else to fix it! That's assuming they can get the thing online in the first place of course...Everyone starts somewhere and for me notepad was the first step!


shadowx

Im just glad you havent mentioned frontpage... IMHO WYSIWYG has no place at all on the web!


web_designer

P.S. Dreamweaver also has some useful options, you know? smile.gif Why bother in notepad with remembering exactly the name of a property in CSS when Dreamweaver has the help menu which appears when coding. And I'm not saying you shouldn't learn their meaning and purpose, just that it's not important to memorise "Margin, padding, background color, I'm a make a dollor" (okay, a stupid song, but important message

i prefer dreamweaver as an editor, for many reasons. the most important reasons are it helps me debugging errors, i can find the error easily in dreamweaver, especially when forgot closing tags or semi colon, the thing i do most of the time ;)

The Simpleton

Thank you everyone for your valuable suggestions ;) They've made a lot of good points.

 

@web_designer : I do intend to use some images but not flash, and even the images that I want to use will be compressed so I don't think it'll make a lot of difference. And yes, using CSS does seem to be a sensible thing to do.

 

@web_designer part 2: I've used WYSIWYG editors in the past and even tried Dreamweaver (not cs3 though; an earlier version maybe) once for a sample page, but maybe I didn't do everything right; it didn't make much sense to me and I ended up using notepad to code the sample page. I think I'm going to stay away from those editors in the beginning and if things get too messy I'll take their help.

 

@truefusion : I've considered using a CMS already, but it'll just make things too heavy, even with the little matter I have, and I don't think I'll be needing any complex features like the ones you mentioned. My site is mostly like a reference site, so the visitors will focus on the matter, instead of the design, and in any case they won't be spending a lot of time over there. So I think using a CMS will just slow down things....

 

@StvenWesley: Many people have told me that PHP is really very easy but it also makes the code hackable, doesn't it? That's the main reason I'm staying away from it. And no matter how easy it is to learn, it'll still take some time, and that is exactly what I don't have right now.

Your point about SEO was interesting - it makes me all the more excited to use HTML.

 

@shadowx : You made a really strong statement that HTML-only sites are really boring, and even a small part of the site coded dynamically would make it look better; I agree with that point. However, that's one of the factors egging me on to use HTML. How many HTML-only sites have a good reputation today? I'm aiming to make my site look unique by using the old-fashioned way of coding :P

 

@shadowx part 2: I'm on your side about the WYSIWYG editors. I don't know how they help new coders. Maybe I'm just too stupid but I learned more by using notepad than with Dreamweaver. It just ended up confusing me more. Frontpage wasn't so bad in the beginning but it lacked a lot of features. So there I was, back to notepad.

 

@Little Asterisk : WYSIWYG editors are useful for some people but maybe I'm just not one of them. I've tried twice in the past but it just didn't work out. Maybe I need to get a For Dummies... book for using those editors!

 

 

Once again thanks to all for the help. I hope to start work on the site in early June and post it here for your stern reviews by early July :P


truefusion

Many people have told me that PHP is really very easy but it also makes the code hackable, doesn't it?

The only way to hack the code is if you have access to the code. The user accessing the page will always be given the already parsed compilation. However, the browser will always render any and all HTML (and JavaScript). The worst case scenario of an incompetent developer would be using eval() on unfiltered user input. That's the same as giving anyone the ability to write their own PHP scripts on your server. It's not necessarily PHP with the flaws but the developer. PHP provides you with all that you need to keep your code safe, you just have to make use of them. Yeah, it'll take some time to learn all of this, especially if you don't have any previous knowledge on other similar languages, but this knowledge should be necessary for anyone seeking to learn the language.

Little Asterisk

Im just glad you havent mentioned frontpage...

 

IMHO WYSIWYG has no place at all on the web!

Hey, everyone has the right to their own opinion. I don't personally use WYSIWYG for the "see" part, but just because of the things web_designer said.

 

@Simpleton

Frontpage is crap, Dreamweaver better. If you have used Frontpage, it's possible you didn't like what you saw. ;)

 

But hey, if you'd like to make your own website (which I see you will) go to http://www.w3schools.com/ and download a program like Notepad ++ and GIMP to make your sites.

 

Also, I don't know if anyone recommended this to you, but Blogger or Wordpress.com could be the solution you're looking for because they are a simple CMS, there are some pre-made templates for them, Blogger has a simple website builder and you can change your template's HTML,... Maybe you could think about that.


The Simpleton

The only way to hack the code is if you have access to the code. The user accessing the page will always be given the already parsed compilation. However, the browser will always render any and all HTML (and JavaScript). The worst case scenario of an incompetent developer would be using eval() on unfiltered user input. That's the same as giving anyone the ability to write their own PHP scripts on your server. It's not necessarily PHP with the flaws but the developer. PHP provides you with all that you need to keep your code safe, you just have to make use of them. Yeah, it'll take some time to learn all of this, especially if you don't have any previous knowledge on other similar languages, but this knowledge should be necessary for anyone seeking to learn the language.

Oh, if there's all that stuff to learn about before making the code safe, then I guess I'm better off without PHP. I want to build everything from scratch so silly errors on my part are risky. Anyway it was good to know my options and I knew there was a reason for PHP to be so popular :P

@SimpletonFrontpage is crap, Dreamweaver better. If you have used Frontpage, it's possible you didn't like what you saw. wink.gif


Yup there wasn't anything too impressive in Frontpage; it just showed me what a basic website would look like. I guess the only positive point about Frontpage is that even confused folks like me can get the work done faster, even though that work is below standards!

But hey, if you'd like to make your own website (which I see you will) go to http://www.w3schools.com/ and download a program like Notepad ++ and GIMP to make your sites.

I have gedit in Ubuntu which I think is almost the same as Notepad++? And GIMP is pre-installed on Ubuntu so all I have to wait for is the time to start!

Also, I don't know if anyone recommended this to you, but Blogger or Wordpress.com could be the solution you're looking for because they are a simple CMS, there are some pre-made templates for them, Blogger has a simple website builder and you can change your template's HTML,... Maybe you could think about that.

Actually I'm already using Wordpress to power my blog and am very impressed with it. But as I said before I want the work for this new website to be done by me; A-Z! :P That's why I've ruled out using all kinds of CMS. Still, thanks for the flow of suggestions ;)

kleong

If the main ojective of your website is to serve information to users, then html is good. But if you want fancy stuff like forum, comments, poll etc etc, then you will need more than just html.



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