As it says on the front page, several friends and others have asked me for help with web sites. I did do some web development many years ago, back in the days when you just hard-coded some HTML in a WYSIWIG editor such as NVU (or maybe even in Microsoft Word). That was long ago, and I've had to learn it all over again.
Today, few people ever write web sites from scratch. Like almost everyone else, I use a Content Management System to provide the structure for separating design and content. The "big three" are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal - and I don't use any of them. My ideal CMS is one that doesn't get in my way - one that lets me put together my own site layout and design without being forced to structure it somebody else's way. For me, an ideal CMS is one where I just drop in an existing working web page to become the template, and all I have to do is replace the menu, sitename, page title and page content with placeholders to automagically drag in the required stuff for each page.
I've found two CMS that let me do just that - yes, I know there are others, but these are the ones that I've used - MODx and CMS Made Simple, both of which have really straightforward templating mechanisms to create your site design.
I started out with MODx but abandoned it at a time when it needed at least 2GB available RAM on the server, which just isn't friendly with cheap web hosts. They've since fixed the problem, which caused a string of really unfriendly and useless error messages if you only had 1GB RAM, but in the meantime I had moved on.
So I then adopted CMS Made Simple, which at the time was running version 1. When version 2 came out in September 2015, there were warning signs that all might not be well, particularly after the dummy-spit published by Goran Ilic.
With support for v1 being stopped in Septemeber 2016, I started migrating my sites to v2, and soon found major problems. None of my sites migrated succesfully from v1 to v2. Some lost their page titles, others lost half their pages. The problems seem to stem from errors in the database table that contains the pages; presumably the v1 code tolerated these errors but the v2 importer does not.
What I've done to fix this is not the same for every site. For the more complex sites, I've re-created the site from scratch in CMS Made Simple v2, by copying across the page template, the content, and the scripts that I'd written. The result seems to be nicely stable, so I'm happy to stay with CMSMS.
For other sites, where I don't have lots of code in the page template, I've gone back to MODx. It is a bit more complex to set up but has a really nice extra feature - the ability to add as many extra variables to your page template as you want - which I'm using on some sites to add extra per-page settings to improve the look.
So, like most people who design web pages, I'm now choosing the CMS for a site from my preferred shortlist on the basis of what's best for that site - MODx for the extensible template variables, CMS Made SImple for features such as the on-click GUI to change which page is the homepage and for complex template logic.
These are the websites that are online so far:
In this part of my website, you'll find a few pages about what I've learnt and how I've put the websites together.