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So I was free for a couple of weeks and hence I wrote the php script for a website that I had in mind. To be honest; I am not the best; I am just an amateur; I have read a couple of books (o'reilly) and that is all i know about php.

Now my website so far looks nothing but a few links and their working. I am thinking of giving it to someone who have some experience in designing and all.

How good is this approach towards launching a website.

I had this idea about the website, and wanted to do it on my own, but as already stated i am not the best at it. I dont have any long term plans for the website; I might go for an experienced programmer later; but at the moment; all i want is to have the feel of start-up if you'll call it the same.

Am I going in the right direction; by doing the php coding on my own; and now looking for a designer? Any suggestions.

P.S. Shall i post this question on Onstartup?

Edits: The website will be like an online competition that will last for 8-10 months, it will not store any personal information of the people associated with it.

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This question is too broad. There's no way to give a correct answer. –  JMC Dec 30 '11 at 15:46
    
@JMC have i managed to narrow it down somehow? Edits! –  Kraken Dec 30 '11 at 16:43
    
I always recommend learning Smarty. It doesn't take long at all! It helps the programmer and the designer to keep their work separated. –  Tyler Crompton Dec 31 '11 at 10:48

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

This question is hard to answer without understanding your aptitude for scripting languages (you've stated you are a novice, but that doesn't quantify your abilities in a meaningful way). It's really your decision alone to make.

The biggest concern for someone trying to build a site that relies on scripting languages is security. Hackers have armies of bots ready to exploit the weaknesses in your application. As a novice trying to post a public website written in php, make sure to regularly backup the site and be prepared to make up for your lack of knowledge in application security with appropriate catastrophe planning. Your site will get hacked, but it's how you respond to it that matters.

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It's fine if your purpose is to learn how to program. But if your primary goal is to build a successful website through which to launch a business, then this is not a good idea for the reason JMC outlines and others.

Because you describe yourself as a novice (and the terminology you use sort of reflects that, e.g. "the php script" instead of "the application", "the CMS", "the platform", etc.), you probably are unaware of many of the common pitfalls and best-practices in web development:

  • Are you familiar with XSS, CSRF, SQL injection, and the vulnerabilities of the platform you're developing for?
  • Are you familiar with MVC or similar patterns for organizing your code? Are you familiar with programming concepts such as OOP, separation of concerns, loose coupling, DRY, database normalization, etc.?
  • Are you familiar with the common solutions to many web development concerns, such as a routing engine, a templating system, ORMs or a database access layer, plugin systems, caching engine, slugs, REST architecture, ACL, etc.
  • Are you familiar with SEO, UX design, and web accessibility? How good is your HTML and CSS? Do you understand the need to separate content and presentation? Are you familiar with semantic markup? Do you know SEO/UX/accessibility best practices?

If you can't answer yes to all of these questions, then you're likely not up to the task of developing a web application that's going to be used in a production environment. And if you aren't familiar with good software development practices (e.g. commenting, top-down development, OOP, etc.) then you're probably gonna run into problems when your website grows beyond a simple "script".

And by then it'll be very costly to fix the problem. In the worst cases (which comes up more often than you might expect), you'll have to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. And it'll be a nightmare for whoever has to port the content over to the new system.

It's much better to just get it done right the first time. Either use an off-the-shelf CMS and save yourself the time and money, or at least use an MVC framework that will force you to follow many best practices and also give you the benefit of the collective knowledge of hundreds of experienced professional developers.

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That's actually one of the typical approaches to make a website for a person who's not a professinal site creator.

Some people make nice and handsome design with HTML5, CSS3 and then hire a programmer to enrich it with dynamic content, some make a so-called content management system of their own and then hire a designer to make this content look nicier. The lattice is exactly your case.

One more thing need to be said here. You may not use your PHP programming skills because there's a plenty of CMSs of all kinds, so you can just choose the one you like and the one you can afford (some of them are commercial, some open-source and free).

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