Learning how to build a better website

Welcome to our web development learning website. The puropose of this website to learn how to build a better website using content management systems. The site itself is a working example of the process of choosing a content management system and the issues involved in the process.

If you aren't interesting in the evolution of website building, you can start with answering the question: What is a CMS?

Since 1998, the technology websites of Tom Peracchio have attempted to provide self help and tutorials for learning basic computer and networking technology concepts, maintaining the theme, "Geek Speak Made Simple."

From the Guru's Perspective: a timeline of our web building adventures.

1998:  We registered a few domains and started building websites built by hand coded HTML as well as using some simple HTML editors. In the days before content managment systems became popular we used Dreamweaver, a popular desktop software package that was a WYSIWYG HTML editor and website manager.

2001: My original Web Dev Learning site using a CMS was born, a portal based on phpWebSite Development.   The initial focus of this site was to illustrate the old cliche of working smarter instead of harder. From my business experience I wanted to have some content on helping folks define the use of Content Management Systems in their technology plan.

2003:  Experimented and researched other content management systems. 

Postnuke seems to have an active community, but it did take me much longer to get it up and running.  While I had phpWebSite running and customized by the end of the second evening, I spent about 2 evenings, and large chunk of the day on Saturday and Sunday learning, and configuring to get a Postnuke up and running.  While there is a larger volume of information, modules, and templates for Postnuke, this actually hurt more than it helped.  Of the numerous templates I downloaded, many did not work.  It was only through a day of experimentation that I found a template I liked, and actually worked.  From there I analyzed the code, and edited it to my color theme.

While phpWebSite was a nice script, easy to install, and not overly difficult to configure, there was not much action with the script, and not many users on the community website.  The Postnuke community was not well organized, and much of the downloaded content did not work as advertised. Abandoned the use of phpWebSite. 

Eventually decided on XOOPS as the CMS script of choice.

2005: Recreated site using CMS XOOPS.  Site was used quite a bit as a learning tool, and as a message center to supplement my teaching at two different community colleges, DTCC and WorWic, as well as a working model to those who are seeking ideas for using a Content Management System.

2007: Leaving teaching for the consulting world, the site was not being updated.  Rather than letting a stale site linger, the Web Dev Learning site was torn down.

2008: Began the process researching which CMS to use. 

Briefly had the Web Dev Learning site back up as a XOOPS based CMS. After another round of experimenting and testing made the commitment to concentrate on Drupal as the CMS of choice, and brought site back to life based on Drupal CMS.

2018: Looking beyond Drupal.

After working with Drupal for more than 10 years starting with version 6 and the version 7, I'm a bit burned out on Drupal. I had begun testing Drupal v8 a few times, but it was a big change from Drupal version 7, and it was like starting from scratch. Some of my sites are very simple, only a handful of pages, and I really started thinking about whether I needed something as complex as Drupal to build some very simple sites. I started looking at flat file CMS that did not require a database.

2019: Once again searching for which CMS to use.

In the blog posts on this site, as well as the pages that follow, you will see our process as we sort through the many available CMS and select a few to use to develop our websites.