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How I used to make my websites

Well, I thought I should let you in on my methods for making this website. It's not too complex, but I've got a great set of tools that I will likely continue to use for some time.

I do everything in a Unix environment. I started off doing everything in Linux, but have occasionally used FreeBSD and OSX as my workstations. The server is running Debian GNU/Linux, but was been hosted by a FreeBSD machine for a year.

I usually run Debian GNU/Linux as my desktop machine too. I usually start out with Stable, try to resist the temptation to run Testing, but always seem to end up using the unstable branch. ;-)

As for the actual tools I use, I remotely log in using OpenSSH, a BSD'd secure shell v2 implementation available on *BSD, Linux, Solaris Win32 etc. For editing HTML, I mostly use VIM which again is available on almost all platforms. It's a really great editor. It is vi-based but offers some great add-ons, such as syntax highlighting, and a great GUI under BeOS, win32, or X-Windows (So all Unicies.)

I've also been using Quanta+ for large editing sessions. It's a great web development tool for KDE.

On the graphics front, I almost exclusively use The Gimp. It's a GPL'd bitmap editing program on par with Photoshop. It is also the founding program that created the GTK toolkit, a (now) cross-platform graphics toolkit that is the base of all Gnome development. It's one of the many great programs aimed at users available on Linux/Unix machines. Lately it has also been ported to Win32, MacOS and QNX.

The webserver is running Apache (of course.)

Because of my webHancer work term I've learned the joys of HTML preprocessing. They used ASP, which is a Win32-only way of doing things.. It made me finally get into PHP which I think is just fantastic. I've converted my site and the other sites I maintain to it. It's absolutely amazing, and is a much nicer way of doing dynamic HTML content.

I have also done some database-based web worl. Myself, I prefer to use PostgreSQL, but I've also used MySQL. To be honest, I'm not sure why MySQL is so much more popular than PostgreSQL, Postgres just works, is very feature-complete and scales much better than MySQL.

As for testing, my main target browser is now Mozilla followed closely by Konqueror. My secondary target browsers are IE 6.0 and Opera. I finally gave up on Netscape 4.0 when I converted most of the site to CSS and stopped doing my layout with tables. Netscape 4 was great in its day, but that day has long since past.

If you see any graphics that look "off" in IE 5.x, that's because it has lousy support for the excellent PNG graphic format. I don't understand how such a capable browser get caught up by such a simple issue, but that's MS for you.. Anyway, if it really bugs you, try virtually any other browser, as I'm not changing them on principle.

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