[thelist] can someone build a 100-page website with only HTML/CSS skill?

Zhang Weiwu zhangweiwu at realss.com
Mon Nov 10 19:30:11 CST 2008

Hello. I am helping my girlfriend to start a web-design carrier. I am a
4-year web developer in PHP, she was fresh to HTML knowledge before
started. I have no web design experience or know-how but knows all
technology needed for a web project. (Lucikly I understand knowing web
technology is not knowing how to do a web project! There are many other
things to look for.)

We managed to let her capable of creating small websites using pure HTML
editor and CSS editor. She also did a few small projects for small
websites. She does all these with simple gedit (from gnome), because her
XHTML tutorial book was written assuming user using pure text editor
("Head First HTML and CSS"), also because I also work in this way.

Recently we are trying to get a bigger project of about 100 pages of
HTML. Then a lot of management requirement may rises that make the job
difficult to do without CMS or website building tool with management
features. By "management requirement" I mean:

   1. re-organize navigation bars or add new item to navigation bar;
   2. inclusion of 2 navigation bars into 100+ web pages;
   3. easily rename an HTML page while automatically update all links to it;

I am not sure if I should introduce a CMS because

   1. it adds complicity, learning curve and require my attention from
      me when she hits problems;
         1. CMS also add whole lot of complicity of having to set up
            MySQL in her workbench and maintain it,  mess with DB error
            when it might happen;
         2. Learn configuration files and the concepts of templates;
         3. she has to work with a web server on her notebook instead of
            just opening the project locally with browser, and I am
            going to have to add and maintain that web server;
         4. backup become more difficult than just drag the website to
            DVD driver (that's how burning DVD is done in Gnome) and she
            has to learn them.
   2. the website is maintained by her, HTML skilled, instead of by
      customer themselves, making CMS less demanded. And it's not
      frequently updated neither.

Maybe I introduce CMS later, but is there a way to work easily without CMS?

I am thinking, should I just start to work with her with a CMS, or just
use some management methods to make us workable on HTML level without
CMS? For sure that depends on the task. One example of the task is to
maintain the 3-level navigation bar.

For static HTML websites the navigation bar sometimes is done by simply
a server-side include:

<body id="aboutus"><!--- below are included from navigation.html_seg -->
<ul id="nav">
  <li class="home"><a..>Home</a></li>
  <li class="aboutus"><a..>about us</a></li>

Currently highlighted navigation bar item is highlighted using:

body#aboutus #nav .aboutus { font-weight: bold; }

For this method to work with a 100-page website the navigation bar is
probably long (50 lines, because half of the pages are not supposed to
be accessible through navigation bar but only when user opened some
page), and the corresponding CSS highlight file is also long. I start to
think without good text editor automation support this is hard to do &
maintain. A CMS seems inevitable in this case.

How do you think? Should we start with CMS or with plain old HTML? I am
thinking the place for HTML-based website nowadays are those websites:

   1. do not update frequently (thus the HTML-skilled ones can do the
   2. mid-to-small size. But how big is "mid"? Is a 100-page website
      "mid-size" or "big-size"? I dealt with much bigger ones using CMS
      and know CMS is mandatory, but having no idea how much work is
      necessary if maintain 100-page website.

Real Softservice

Huateng Tower, Unit 1788
Jia 302 3rd area of Jinsong, Chao Yang

Tel: +86 (10) 8773 0650 ext 603
Mobile: 159 1111 7382

More information about the thelist mailing list