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Software for producing websites - to replace Serif WebPlus

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by paulears, May 28, 2017.

  1. ffox

    ffox UKBF Regular Free Member

    1,145 200
    The answer is - yes.
    It doesn't look hard -

    and you're starting from your own existing web site and not from scratch.

    I was a Dreamweaver user many moons ago, I switched to MS Visual Studio because I had a valuable customer who required it. As I remember there was a designer function in DW which allowed for drag and drop positioning of objects and the resultant code was slim and elegant.

    I would say that DW is overkill for a site like yours and the cost would not be justified, but as you already have the application the cost is irrelevant. You have nothing to lose by trying it.

    WP is good and CMS is good if you have many people managing content and you want to ensure that they don't damage the layout and presentation, but from your OP you appear to do the entire site yourself, so why bother fitting your wants into someone else's framework.

    I'd recommend staying away from anything open source as far as you can. The fewer applications you have on a system, the better the system. Open source is what it says on the box. Anyone and his uncle can contribute to the code behind the application. Unless you have the time to parse it up and examine every line you will never know what it does in the background.
    The same applies to purchased applications, but you have a vendor and a support structure to fall back on. That may, or may not be a good support framework, but if you don't like it you can always ask for a refund.

    Hope this helps.
    Posted: May 30, 2017 By: ffox Member since: Mar 11, 2004
  2. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    6,044 1,668
    Not strictly true definition of open source.

    It does mean anyone can read the code or create their own branches.

    Microsoft's has a lot of products that are Open Source, all of the ASP.NET and .NET Core CLR runtime components and the Azure SDKs for any language and Visual Basic are open source. And I'm pretty certain that anyone and their uncle cannot contribute to the master branches.
    Posted: May 30, 2017 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
  3. antropy

    antropy OpenCart Experts Full Member - Verified Business

    3,175 548
    I really don't want to write a long reply about how terrible WordPress is or get in to a which platform is best debate, so I won't.

    But what I will do is say that WordPress is like the Internet Explorer of CMSs in that people only use it because they don't realise how bad it is and that far better CMSs exist. WordPress's main/only advantage is its popularity which means it has lots of themes, extensions and developers. That was also the reason why us web developers had to support Internet Explorer for so long, even though we know how poor it was.

    Now let me backtrack a bit and agree with some of the comments above: WYSIWYG was never ideal for generating code, but it did work and I have heard many good things about the Serif software you use but now that websites have to be responsive for mobile, it's even more difficult for a piece of software to generate decent code that works.

    So one solution would be learning to hand code HTML and CSS, which I admit is difficult and takes years to master, but probably only months to become productive.

    Another solution might be starting from one of the CMSs that are free and better than WordPress in terms of: code quality, simplicity, ease of use, flexibility such as:



    But those would be fairly complex to set up and configure for a beginner, so how about something like:
    Posted: May 31, 2017 By: antropy Member since: Aug 2, 2010
  4. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,346 8,657
    I've used concrete and while a decent cms it's not really a DIY platform. Wordpress (even with all its many faults) is easy to install and works straight out the box and comes bundled with all sorts of useful tools. You can't do this with concrete.
    Posted: May 31, 2017 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  5. antropy

    antropy OpenCart Experts Full Member - Verified Business

    3,175 548
    I think you probably can to be honest. The default Concrete5 theme is pretty basic but does work out of the box but if you don't like that there is an app store with plenty of free themes and they can be installed with a few clicks and no coding or FTP nonsense. So in many ways it's easier to get up and running than WordPress.
    Posted: May 31, 2017 By: antropy Member since: Aug 2, 2010
  6. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,541 853
    I've looked at wordpress and while I see the advantages, it doesn't really work the way my brain does - but - I discovered Adobe Muse. It seems to do all the nice sizing things that WebPlus doesn't and my tests so far seem to indicate it can do the things my sites need to - downloading audio files, paypal buttons, and lots of images - in either simple formats or slideshows.

    Am I missing something important here? It does most of the things I need, and while it means more work in Photoshop to tweak images and do some shading and the things Serif did rather well - like taking overlapping elements and then saving those as a single graphic, I think the way Muse works - with master pages, and then individual pages, seems quite similar. It can handle inserting blocks of html, and then moving them about.

    I'm guess the experts will tell me to persevere with Wordpress as it has the largest share - but it's just not friendly to me and my brain. Should I continue - or is something suddenly going to leap out and derail what I'm doing?

    If got more testing to do to see how it deals with things like large pages of individual tracks of audio people can download - where people can hear a sample, and then download what they want - with the integration of paypal and the software on the site to enable downloading and links that expire - but that's just a huge amount of copy and pasting of code, with all the filenames and obscured links. I can't see anything at the moment that will get wrecked?

    It would actually be rather nice to be able to use Muse because it appears I can open it on both the macbook and the PCs, which I cannot do with Serif, being PC only.
    Posted: Jun 3, 2017 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  7. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,346 8,657
    What's not friendly about it? What are you struggling with?

    The problem you will have is building a responsive site using any tool like muse. But if you aren't worried about this then crack on.
    Posted: Jun 3, 2017 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  8. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,541 853
    I'm not sure that a 'responsive' site is something I could be certain of doing with Wordpress either. What I dod do is look for clueless people asking questions on forums, and (to me) many of their questions were the kind of issues I would have, and the responses from the professionals were patronising, and always seemed to suggest modules were missing or plug-ins old, or other perhaps obvious stuff, but because the combination of components everyone has are different, there was never one answer, requiring a level of sophistication in your design that I'm going to struggle with.

    In every piece of software I have that uses plug ins, or downloaded extra modules, the real problem is that you cannot simply experiment, and already I see the great business in supplying the bolt ons that do quite simple things - but finding the right one is tricky if you don't know it exists.

    I shall continue to experiment - so thanks for the advice folks.
    Posted: Jun 3, 2017 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  9. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,346 8,657
    You are approaching this from the wrong direction. Begin your Wordpress journey by adding all your content and sorting out the menus. You can then see how it all fits together and adjust as necessary. If you want a contact form or a testimonial thing or payments you can add a plugin or two. Once you happy with the general structure you can then play with layout. And this just means choosing a theme you like, most of which will be responsive.

    What you are trying to do is make Wordpress work as a site builder, and it don't do that.
    Posted: Jun 3, 2017 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  10. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,541 853
    ah - gotcha, kind of backwards to my old way of working - which is probably why I'm getting resistance from my brain. It also explains why I've seen people mocking up websites in photoshop then moving to wordpress? Thanks.
    Posted: Jun 3, 2017 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  11. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,573 1,181
    Spot on!

    You are not alone.

    Wordpress is a horrible solution to your problem. It's complicated, bloated, needs various (uncertified) plugins to add functionality, is a top target for hackers, needs to be constantly updated ... and if you screw some little thing up you might have to dig into editing PHP and/or getting more intimate with phpMyAdmin & MySQL than you ever figured on doing.

    People who are very familiar with WP will swear by how easy it is. But it ain't. It's a steep learning curve but, more importantly, you'll have to keep learning and keep learning to keep fixing the bloody thing.

    There's a reason why there's so much support around for Wordpress - it's because there are a million bits and pieces in WP that can get broken! And do get broken on a regular basis.

    If you've got an alternative that avoids using Wordpress (or any CMS really), go for it!
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
    Posted: Jun 3, 2017 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  12. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,541 853
    Love it! Rather like watching the General Election Polls - I suppose I will have to do what I usually do - gather the info, try things out and then when I find the one that matches me - go for it. My life seems to always be forced into making selections. Some I stick with for ever, others, I swap a little.

    I worked with VHS and Betamax sitting on the shelves- which one for home? Betamax
    Time to buy a broadcast camera, so BetaSP and Sony was the one everybody recommended. I Took BetaSP, but bought an Ampex branded camera - never found anyone else with one.
    Strand lighting consoles were the only accepted brand for virtually every single UK theatre for ever, it seemed then, they were bought by Phillips, and they wee scrapped. I bought Chamsys MagicQ and love them, everyone else seems to have bought ETCs!
    I bought a Behringer X-32 digital sound desk, despite everyone slagging the brand off viciously - oddly, it now appears to be the most popular one around!

    Video editing - Adobe Premiere and for music recording, Cubase.

    Why is life so full of choices that you have to then stick with because they're so expensive and 'consuming'?
    Posted: Jun 3, 2017 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  13. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,573 1,181
    I've owned hundreds of WP sites in my time. No, that's not an exaggeration. I really have owned hundreds. And the sites in my signature run WP. I consider myself very familiar with WP (and many of the main plugins). Over the years I've learnt more than the odd bit of Wordpress fixing.

    But I still run into problems that I can't fix and for which I have to go hunting for solutions. It's a right pain in the butt.
    Posted: Jun 3, 2017 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  14. dave archer

    dave archer UKBF Regular Free Member

    790 165
    Well, I know less than Zilch about putting a website together :(
    I thought that it was about time that I had a "bit of a bash" at it.

    There are so many cheap website software packages to choose from, all competing over their own individual benefits and functions.

    For a beginner, would anyone comment on this website builder, for example ?

    Posted: Jun 4, 2017 By: dave archer Member since: Mar 8, 2014
  15. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

    7,677 2,992
    Until Uli Behringer bought Midas, he had absolutely no proper in-house engineering know-how. The X-32 was one of the first Behringer products designed by the engineers at Midas - so without all the design faults that caused the 'Euromix' series to go up in flames (16-frame) or just good-old-fashioned fail, channel by channel (24-frame).

    Until he bought Midas, his products were slagged off for a reason - they all either failed, or had very serious technical faults in their designs.

    Try HitFilm and Reaper - both are better and far cheaper and have considerably faster work-flows. Links at the bottom here -


    On a lighting side, I am looking for a DMX desk that does not require all that pre-production programming, i.e. one that allows the lighting guy to chop and change during the show, without having to worry about which channel does what and to whom!

    At the mo, we are using good old analogue power packs, but the cable runs are killing us! Any suggestions?
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
    Posted: Jun 4, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
  16. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,541 853
    Well - realistically, all the lighting controls need serious continual updating now and the emphasis seems to be plenty of work before the shows, and perhaps a bit less once you are running.

    I actually like MagicQ because it's free for the software that runs on practically anything, and all you pay for is hardware - so you can buy a cheap dongle that gives you 1 DMX universe for £10, if you can accept a time limit before it times out. A 24/7 version is about £60, but they also have a number of different size hardware controls with real faders, knobs and buttons. These go from under a grand, and once you get to around four grand, you then buy an all in one control. The beauty is that you can programme the advance stuff on a laptop, then run the shows from either that laptop, or any old PC you have around. The other manufactures are jumping on the idea quickly now. My shows start in 3 weeks and I'm heavily into the programming now - they also have built in a visualiser so you can see what it looks like - BUT - to make these things work takes a lot of effort - entering the type and position of every bit of kit, and this does take time. It's not really to allow the chop and change, but really essential to make anything work. If you only have a few dimmer packs, it's probably cheaper to buy a few DMX cheapie from the usual places. If you have say, 4 dimmer packs and conventional lights, then the programming to make MagicQ or the others work is pretty simple - a straight 1:1 patch. DMX 1=channel 1, DMX2= ch2 etc.

    Your lighting op just has to change mindset from 1 knob per channel to groups, and then you make progress. Behringer, as a funny example, do a pretty popular 'simple' DMX control with lots of faders, but the thing is horrible to try to use in any other way to manual.

    Schools have used Zero 88 for years simply because of the one knob per light approach, but frankly this is now outdated so they struggle buying cheap LED lights that do so much for so little. Pre-production is now the way it works, but once you get used to the system, it's much easier to do the things people ask for nowadays.

    On the music front - I'm on Cubase Pro 9 now, having started in 1994 on a b&w Atari with it, and while Reaper gets excellent reviews, Cubase does everything I need to make money from music, and the learning curve to time consuming to even consider changing. This is why I'm cross with Serif, even though I'm sure for them, it's the right solution.
    Posted: Jun 4, 2017 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  17. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,346 8,657
    No it's not. People make it complicated and bloated but out of the box it's a simple thing.
    No it's doesn't
    If properly set up it's very secure.
    Really? I've never had to mess with phpMyAdmin or MySQL in over 10 years of working with WP.
    Any new platform, app or tool has a steep learning curve. But nobody I've even built a site for has a problem with WP after a bit of guidance.
    No you don't. WP doesn't break. What breaks are the things you do to your website.
    See above. What breaks are the things you do not the things WP gives you.
    Posted: Jun 5, 2017 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  18. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,541 853
    Tha snag as I see it is that if you are a competent and expert user then WP appears to be the most flexible because of the open architecture - BUT - to people who use the building elements less regularly, it's to complicated. The system I use for downloads has excellent tech support, and so does my hosting company, as I guess they both deal with ordinary people each day, but from my own experience, changing versions of php mean upgrades to function software, which too is supposed to be easy, but then discovering thousands of lines of code have to be updated with just a comma and a number, or something else extremely small means that because I don't know how to automate this with some kind of script (my friends tell me, but don't want to do for me) I do it by copy and paste, and then in three weeks time discover I made a small paste mistake in one line, and a download fails.

    If you work with this kind of thing, my issues with new software are insignificant and seem trivial. To me, they are not. I sometimes wish progress would just stop for a while. It works, it does not need 'upgrading'. I really understand Clinton's comments - I feel very similar, and I also understand why fisicx disagrees.

    In my case this really says it all - it IS the things I do to the website that break it - I don't want to, but if the software allows you to change things badly so you wreck it, then that puts the software into the user category of expert in my book, and while it would be nice to be at that level, I won't be, ever - because I use computers and consider them essential for my business but they frustrate me by always needing to be fiddled with. I've had to become pretty proficient with some software because I use it every day. Updating a website might be once a month - I have no wish at all to waste my decreasing brainpower on software that takes the P - which frankly, so much does.

    I've wasted 30 mins today trying to programme a bit of kit to take out with me on a job - using a laptop that programmes about 30 other similar items, yet it will not do this one. Struggling through to the workshop with a heavy rack, another computer with the same software programmes it fine. It's this kind of stupid thing that annoys me. No doubt a driver mismatch in the cable, or the version of C++ was built on a Tuesday morning, not afternoon, or the USB connector is a mm too short to make that vital connection, or maybe the computer has renumbered the USB ports so port 3 is now 6? Hate them!
    Posted: Jun 6, 2017 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  19. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,346 8,657
    I wasn't competent when I built my first wordpress site. I had no idea how it worked or what to do. But I read the instructions and read a few tutorials and it soon all made sense.

    I bet the very first time you used Serif it was the same - you were confronted with the this blank page with no idea what to do next. Same with Cubebase Pro.

    As to breaking Wordpress - you can't. You have to go in and mess with the code to break anything. And there is no need to ever mess with the code.

    Give me call and I will show you how simple things really are and how difficult it is to break anything.
    Posted: Jun 6, 2017 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  20. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,573 1,181
    Some of the things that you find fairly simple now and which people like you do on a regular basis are a nightmare under WP.

    Think you can create a folder and move a page from one folder to another? Computer says no. Seriously! No folders in WP!

    Think you can move your pages from a folder to root or move your whole blog from www to non www? Computer says no (well, not unless you want to go find some support threads.) Make "simple" changes like this and you will crash your whole site, I promise. The thing is that WP will tempt you to make easy changes - for example, it gives you a screen in settings where you can change the URL of your site. Looks simple. Change theURL here from to and voila ... but er, you've just broken the whole bloody site!

    Think you can make a couple of simple edits to your htaccess? Computer says no (not unless you want to crash WP).

    Think you can work on a page offline and then FTP it to your site when you're done? Computer says no.

    Don't like that link to the theme's creator in your footer and think you can delete it? Computer says no.

    But you're determined to remove that footer so you go learn a bit about editing php files, hooks and all kinds of other jazz; find which of the million WP files has this link; and remove the bloomin' thing (keeping your fingers crossed that you haven't messed up the PHP code on that page).

    You then discover that you shouldn't mess with code in theme files anyway and you should be creating a "child" theme if you want to make changes. So you need to go learn some more about child themes and how to create them!

    WP is a lot, lot better than the piece of crap it was in the early days. But it's still not for everyone and a site like yours that has just a few pages is probably best to be CMS-free. Horses for courses. And the course that WP was designed for is blogs - regular posts, with categories and tags and all the other Web 2.0 BS ... and with options for visitors to add comments etc.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
    Posted: Jun 6, 2017 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010