Current state of web development - where do I start?

Hey there,

I learnt HTML, CSS and JS a few years ago with the intention of going freelance as a developer, and although I’m not there yet I still try and keep up to date with the industry via newsletters and the like, and the passion is still very much there.

I was recently approached by a local non-profit charity to create a website for them for free. The site needs to be developed before an upcoming event, which is in under a month, which means that learning whole new languages is out. The content will be largely basic, the most complicated it will get is probably hosting some videos and taking payment for donations, but most importantly I want it to look good.

I don’t feel like I’m technically incapable of the task since I do a lot of both design work and command-line tinkering in my day-to-day - my problem is that with the current state of web dev being as breakneck and fragmented as it is, I’m simply overwhelmed as to where to start.

I know they need a CMS, but I don’t know which one would give me the most amount of freedom whilst only requiring HTML, CSS and Javascript - does such a platform exist? Do I need a front-end framework? And I’ve never actually taken a website live before, so where do I even start with the back-end? Are there any other considerations I may need to take into mind?

I’d really appreciate being brought up to speed here and pointed in the right direction. Thanks!

1 Like

I mean, unless they have really bespoke needs, this sounds like a job for SquareSpace or Wix or similar. You could use your expertise to help them set it up and customise it - but I doubt this needs a tonne of real dev work.

1 Like

Edit: yeah, Wix/Squarespace :point_up::point_up:

Umm do you need the complexity of a CMS? A static site generator would mean you’d have to put it live every time you want to change anything, but in return for that you just use HTML/CSS/JS + a given template engine.

Also re static sites, Netlify is current hotness; it mandates React (which would possibly be a jump), and you need to use Git (ie you’re likely gonna be putting it on GitHub), but tutorial stuff is generally very good and it’s very easy to use, and you.can just dump a prebuilt theme in, and it’s built in a way that means updating it live is automatic when you make changes.

1 Like

Can they throw something like 50 bucks at the problem? That would let you go to someone like go-daddy and let you use one of their templates?

You can throw your time and effort into the project to give them a long term solution. However, I think that you could solve their immediate problem with a “cheapish” bit of outsourcing.

1 Like

I agree with all the above just wanted to add “BUILD THE SITE!!! (as simple as possible and no simpler)!!!” So much to gain by going for it! Reminds me I have homework to do about merchant accounts for non-profits! Great thoughts!!

1 Like