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I'm trying to set up a website according to this model: http://s7.postimage.org/vxv4w5rih/site.jpg (sorry I can't post the image directly). It's very small (about 10 pages) and static (texts updated once or twice a year), but I have some doubts on how to actually put it together (I'm no pro, just amateur). My questions:

1) Would it make sense to create a static website and just insert a light-weight blog where necessary (retaining the same style)? Or it's better to base the whole site on a CMS (I know installations can be tedious)?

2) If static is ok, would it be a good idea to simply use a HTML table to put together all the images and leave the texts in dedicated cells?

3) Some menu items should display sub-items when hovered. Can you suggest a simple script?

4) Can you suggest a (possibly free and easy) software to help building it?

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2 Answers 2

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Long time no see such questions, but here we go:

First point to make sure is about the updates frequency. If it really is one or twice a year, then I see no problem going static instead of going with a CMS or blog platform (they aren't that tedious). The point I'm making is, you would need to learn how to install and configure, then customize, and struggle a little to get it working and looking as you want. Going static can be faster in this context. Just make what you need and you are fine. Side effect? Your page probably will load 3 to 4 times faster.

From now on, I'm assuming you've opted for going static (but it also serves if you want to customize a CMS or blog platform).

Do not go with HTML tables to make your layout. Learn the right elements to use and CSS to style them. HTML tables for layout is something from past millenium. CSS rules out for at least the last 6 years and more important will make your life easier in the future.

For the menu rollover, just google it. There are thousands (I'm not kidding about the numbers) of sites with hundreds of scripts t do that for you. Just pick one and adapt. My suggestion: http://www.dhtmlgoodies.com/index.html?page=menuScripts

There is no software cool enough to make this, even paid ones. But if you really want one, I suggest you looking for editors with WYSIWYG capability into http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_HTML_editors

UPDATE:

ok, I've made a list for you based on wikipedia:

  • BlueGriffon
  • KompoZer
  • Maqetta
  • Microsoft SharePoint Designer
  • Microsoft Visual Web Developer
  • OpenBEXI
  • SeaMonkey Composer

These are the softwares you can look for.

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Modern CMSes all support full-page caching, which makes them practically as fast as serving static HTML, and perhaps even faster with web accelerators like Varnish. Besides, unless you're running a really bloated app on shared hosting, it's going to be the loading of assets that take much most of the page load time, so a 3-4x performance increase is unlikely. IMO, goingg CMS-less is a really bad idea these days (especially with all the static CMSes), as it takes about 5 minutes to get started with WP, much quicker than even using WYSIWYG editors. –  Lèse majesté Mar 19 '13 at 2:45
    
Besides, 10 pages might simply be an annoyance to manage without a CMS, but, realistically, websites that are actually being used (as opposed to ones which exist simply to say one has a website) will grow over time. The HTML will get messier and messier. Broken links will be introduced as different pages have different versions of the navigation menu (will you remember to update all 10 pages 100% of the time?). And by the time you come to your senses, you've got 50+ pages that need to be manually ported over, creating a headache for the poor sap stuck with the task. –  Lèse majesté Mar 19 '13 at 2:55

I think it's better to choose a CMS if you don't have enough information about html and Javascript. You need a bit CSS knowledge, to create or customize menu script. I suggest using a CMS such as wordpress / joomla on linux or mojoportal / Dotnetnuke on windows hosting.

Also you can use Artisteer to create wordpress/joomla/DNN skin or creating static web page by Menu / submenu an many other features. and another software is Xara web designer.

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