Archive for the ‘Web Development’ Category

Installing DotNetNuke

Monday, April 25th, 2011

DotNetNuke is a content management system available for use on Windows web hosting services. DNN is based on ASP.NET and can be used with either a Microsoft Access or Microsoft SQL Server database, meaning that the application will only be fully functional when used in Windows web hosting environments. What makes DNN different from other CMS systems is that there is a community edition that can be used by anyone for free, but for businesses and larger websites who are looking to get more out of a CMS then there are also professional editions available that will come with additional features and will be accompanied by full support from the software vendor.

Downloading DotNetNuke

To download DNN, you should point your web browser towards www.dotnetnuke.com. From there you should select the “Download” button that is located at the top of the page.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 17.34.11 Installing DotNetNuke

You will then be presented with the following download and installation options:

  • Microsoft Web Platform Installer – if you are a server administrator and have access to your Windows VPS server or Windows dedicated server via Remote Desktop then the Web Platform installer will provide you with a simpler installation path
  • Install package – this is the more traditional method through which you will download the files required, upload them to your web server and then will run the web-based installation wizard
  • Source code package – if you wish to make changes to the core of the application, you should choose his package as you will be able to modify the source code of DNN as you wish.

For the purpose of this tutorial we are going to use the “install” package. Once you have clicked the “Install Package” button, you will be taken to an external download website where your download will begin automatically.

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Once you have downloaded and uncompressed the files, you should be left with a directory structure similar to the one below.

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Beginning the Installation Process

Prior to uploading the DotNetNuke files to your web space, you will need to setup a Microsoft SQL Server database that you can use with the application through your web hosting control panel. You will then need to correct the connection string in your web.config file so that the installation wizard is able to establish a connection to your database.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 18.23.49 300x18 Installing DotNetNuke

Once you have corrected the connection string and uploaded the contents of the download to your web space, you should setup the following permissions on your virtual directory:

  • IIS user – this user account should be granted read, write and modify permissions on the virtual directory that DotNetNuke is located in
  • ASP.NET network user – this user account should be granted full control over the virtual directory.

Once you have corrected the permissions, you should navigate to the directory that you have placed DNN in through your web browser. You should be presented with the following installation page:

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 18.52.00 300x204 Installing DotNetNuke

There are three different installation options to choose from:

  • Custom – if you wish to customize your DNN installation then you should select this option as it will provide you with more options for the duration of the installation
  • Typical – if you want to use the “standard” configuration options used by a majority of users then this is the right choice for you
  • Auto – if you don’t want to muck around with the installations options and simply wish to install the application as quickly as possible then you should select this option.

For the purposes of this tutorial we will select the “Typical” option.

The wizard will then check that you have the correct permissions set on the directory that DNN is located in.

Screen shot 2011 04 24 at 18.54.50 300x192 Installing DotNetNuke

If you don’t have the correct permissions set, the installation wizard will provide you with instructions on how to solve this.

Next, you will need to setup the database connection so that the database can be populated with the relevant configuration information.

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You will need to enter the following data:

  • File or database – you can choose to attach the existing database file, or if you wish to use a separate Microsoft SQL Server database then you will also be provided with this option
  • Server – this is the server on which your Microsoft SQL Server database is going to be hosted, usually the local server
  • Database – this is the name of the database that you wish to use
  • Database login credentials – you will also need to supply the username and password of the Microsoft SQL Server database user that you wish to use with the database.

Once you have completed the form, click “Next” and the database installation scripts will be run for you.

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Once the database scripts have completed, you should click the “Next” button; you will then be taken to a page where you can setup the main admin user account for your website.

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You will need to enter the following information to continue:

  • First name and last name – you should associate your own name with this account as you are likely to be the webmaster of the site
  • Username – you should set this to something applicable such as “host” or “admin”
  • Email address – it is important for you to associate an email address with this account in case you happen to forget your password.

You should also configure the SMTP server settings so that the application can send out emails.

It is now time to setup the main options for your DotNetNuke website, including the name of your site, so that you can begin to customize the installation.

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It is recommended that you enter the following data to aid with the completion of the installation:

  • Full name – this is going to be associated with the admin account which will be used to manage the main website, unlike the super user account which is more important for the management of the technical aspects of the application
  • Username and password – these will also be associated with the admin account
  • Portal title – this is what you want the name of your website to be, for example it could be your business name if you are developing a business site
  • Template – if you are yet to develop your own design for DNN, you can choose to use a pre-built template.

Once you have completed the form and click “Next”, you should then proceed to click “Start Building Your New Site”. From there you will be taken to your new website.

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In conclusion, DNN is a highly functional ASP.NET CMS that will provide Windows web developers with a reliable platform on which they can develop scalable websites that will be able to stand the test of time.

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Installing the Joomla CMS

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

Joomla is one of the most powerful content management systems available and as a standard installation will provide webmasters with an application through which they can manage their websites without having to constantly update multiple pages, but there is also the opportunity to expand the application through the use of third-party plugins. As Joomla is an open source application, you won’t have to pay a penny to use it meaning that it is ideal for big businesses as well as not-for-profit organizations. It is recommended that you combine Joomla with a low cost web hosting service such as a Linux shared web hosting plan as by doing this, you will be able to save yourself quite a bit of money.

Downloading Joomla

To download Joomla, you will first need to navigate to the Joomla website, which is located at www. Joomla.org; from there you will want to click the “Download” button.

Screen shot 2011 04 23 at 17.44.45 Installing the Joomla CMS

You will then be presented with different options depending on the version that you wish to use; unless you have a reason to use an older version, it is recommended that you choose the latest version to ensure that any security issues that have been raised with previous versions have been patched.

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To commence with the file download, simple click the “ZIP” text located next to the specific package that you wish to use. You can then simply save the file to your desktop.

The extracted root folder structure should be similar to the one below.

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Uploading the Joomla Files to Your Web Space

Once you have downloaded the Joomla files to your desktop and extracted the ZIP file, you will want to upload the uncompressed files to your web space so that you can commence with the installation of the application.

You will also need to setup a MySQL database through your web hosting control panel prior to running the installation wizard so that your Joomla installation will have a central location in which it can store all of its configuration data.

Once you have uploaded the contents to your web space, you should navigate to the folder that Joomla is contained in through your web browser. You will be directed to the page below.

Screen shot 2011 04 23 at 18.36.41 300x129 Installing the Joomla CMS

Once you have selected the language that you wish to use, click the “Next” button.

From there you will then be taken to a page that will carry out checks to ensure that your web hosting environment is capable of running Joomla properly.

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If any errors occur then the installation wizard will provide you with the instructions that will direct you on how to solve individual errors. If there are no errors then you should be able to click the “Next” button to continue with the installation.

You will then need to agree to the GNU license, which governs the use of certain open source applications and is applicable to the use of Joomla.

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Next, you will need to enter your MySQL database connection details so that Joomla can function properly.

Joomla installation database configuration Installing the Joomla CMS

You will be required to enter the following details:

  • Host name – this is the name or IP address of the server on which your Joomla database is going to be hosted
  • Username – you should configure a separate MySQL user account other than the root user to improve security
  • Password – all MySQL user accounts should be password protected as to ensure that hackers and other malicious attackers aren’t able to gain unauthorized entry.

After that and depending on the web hosting service that you are using, you may need to enter your FTP login details.

Screen shot 2011 04 23 at 18.38.00 300x128 Installing the Joomla CMS

You can simply skip this step by clicking the “Next” button if it doesn’t apply to you. If it does apply to you then you will need to enter the following details:

  • FTP username – this should be an FTP account that is separate from the main one that you use to upload your main content to your website and should be limited to the Joomla directory for added security
  • FTP root path – this is the root path to the location of where Joomla is installed in your web space.

You will then need to enter the main configuration details for your Joomla website as the connection to the database has now been established.

Screen shot 2011 04 23 at 18.38.23 300x182 Installing the Joomla CMS

To create a site that suits your needs, you should fill out the following information fields appropriately:

  • Site name – this should be the name of your company or related to the topic of the website that you wish to create
  • Your email – you should enter a valid email address as this will be used to reset the admin password if you happen to forget it
  • Admin username – your username doesn’t have to be “admin”, you can set it to be anything that you want
  • Sample data – you can even choose to install sample data, a practice that is recommended if you are a beginner, which will give you an idea on how Joomla works if you haven’t use the CMS before.

Once you have set out the main configuration to meet your needs, you can then proceed to use the application as you wish. It is recommended that you remove the installation folder so that no further amendments can be made to your configuration, except by yourself through the admin area.

Screen shot 2011 04 23 at 18.38.41 300x129 Installing the Joomla CMS

Once you have completed the configuration wizard, you will then be taken to the admin control panel, from which you will be able to configure the application further.

In conclusion, Joomla is a powerful CMS that can be used in a number of different scenarios to meet the requirements of big businesses and individuals who require a reliable framework on which they can develop stable websites capable of coping with high visitor loads without facing any issues. Although there are many open source CMS solutions available, Joomla is able to provide businesses with a custom solution that can be modified further through the use of a plugin framework that can be used to extend the functionality of the application, along with a styling framework that can be used to develop additional themes and designs to enable the application to fit in alongside existing websites.

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Developing Websites for Linux Web Hosting

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Linux is the most popular operating system for web hosting because it is able to offer a combination of reliability with a choice of open source applications and components that will enable web developers to create web applications that make the most of what the operating system has to offer. As a Linux web hosting customer you won’t have to pay much for your hosting package because Linux web hosting services are often the cheapest web hosting services available from most web hosting companies; however, you should still expect to pay a reasonable sum for VPS servers and dedicated servers. Developing a website for Linux web hosting will take time depending on your experience, with the most professional web developers having the ability to create a dynamic database-driven website in an incredibly short amount of time. The main tools of the trade for creating websites suitable for hosting on Linux are PHP and MySQL, with PHP being a popular open source scripting language and MySQL being a highly scalable database hosting solution; these features are common to all Linux web hosting services and are usually utilized in conjunction with the Apache web server to offer a capable and proven development solution.

Technologies for Linux Web Development

There are several different applications and technologies that will aid your Linux web development experience to allow you to develop highly useable and functional web applications, these include:

  • Apache – if you require a scalable web server application that will be able to cope consistently with high loads without putting pressure on the resources that you have available then Apache is the application for your website – as an open source application you won’t have to pay to use Apache on Linux, but one of the main benefits of this web server is that you can also use it for free on your desktop machine if you want to test your website before uploading it to a live environment – Apache is highly expandable with there being additional components and modules available if you wish to make the application more secure or if you wish to add support for an additional scripting language
  • PHP scripting language – in order to develop a dynamic website you will require knowledge of a particular web scripting language, with the recommended language for Linux development being PHP – this is an easy to use scripting language and will run without any issues from the outset on any server running the Apache web server – you can also integrate PHP web scripts with the features and components of Linux distributions with ease, an ideal solution for those wishing to tap into their server’s resources at a higher level to create more stable web applications that can offer greater functionality
  • MySQL database server – if you are wanting to create a truly dynamic website then it is important for you to have a database backend that you can use that will be able to store the information that you feel every web script will need to manage – MySQL provides you with a central location in which you can store all of the data that you require so that it can be accessed from any web script that you create that has access to the database – the benefit of MySQL databases is that you can easily password protect them using user accounts to ensure that only authorized users are able to see the content that is stored within your MySQL databases.

Hosting Websites on Linux

Hosting websites in a Linux web hosting environment will offer you a reliable hosting experience accompanied by access to features and components that will mean that it is easy to develop feature-rich websites. Linux provides you with the perfect platform for hosting simple static HTML websites or dynamic database driven websites, making a basic Linux shared hosting package ideal for beginners right up to the most experienced web developers. Any good web hosting provider will feature cPanel control panel access as one of the perks of using its web hosting services, with cPanel offering advance features for Linux hosting that just aren’t available with other Linux web hosting control panels. As cPanel is available with most Linux web hosting packages, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the control panel so that if you do come to use it, you will be able to make the most of it when it comes to using cPanel in the long term.

In conclusion, developing websites for Linux web hosting is easy for beginners as you can easily create a simple static HTML website. If you wish to take web development further then you can capitalize on the core features of PHP and MySQL to create dynamic database-driven websites that will allow you to take your business’s website to the next level. As opposed to static websites, database driven websites offer you the opportunity to develop web applications such as online stores so that your customers can order your goods or services online, providing you with an extra course of income as well as another way in which your customers will be able to contact you.

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Developing Websites for Windows Web Hosting

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

Windows web developers are tasked with the job of creating websites that are specifically for use in a Windows web hosting environment, a task that is fairly specialist because as well as using proprietary technologies they also need to be well versed in the features of the Windows operating system. Developing websites for Windows web hosting requires skill and knowledge of specific applications and scripting languages, as the use of Microsoft applications and ASP.NET is common with Windows web developers and helps to guarantee good results.

ASP.NET Development Tools

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There are various tools that you can use to develop the ASP.NET scripts needed to form the basis of your website. Some web development applications are simply text editors that are designed for coding only, although a majority are also accompanied by a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor that will allow you to develop your web application visually rather than having to rely on code.

One of the most popular applications to use for the development of ASP.NET web applications is Microsoft Visual Studio; the main features of Visual Studio and its free sibling, Microsoft Visual Web Developer, include:

  • A WYSIWYG editor is provided for website developers who may be more comfortable with developing a website visually – all of the necessary code will be created for you in the background
  • A full library of ASP.NET components will be provided so that you can simply drag and drop these into your web scripts as necessary instead of having to code them in yourself, this can save you a fair amount of time.

Another popular cross-platform application recommended for ASP.NET development is Adobe Dreamweaver, as this is also able to provide beginners with assistance with regards to implementing complex code and functions correctly.

Database Management Applications

As a Windows web developer, you have the options of Microsoft Access and Microsoft SQL Server if you are developing a dynamic website that will be running off a backend database. Whereas Microsoft Access is a desktop database application, Microsoft SQL Server is a far more powerful database server that is targeted at websites that require a scalable database solution.

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The desktop nature of Microsoft Access means that in order to mange a database, you must first download the file from your web space and then open it in Microsoft Access on the desktop. However, Microsoft Access can provide web developers with benefits including:

  • Microsoft Access is fairly cheap to implement because you only need to purchase the application for yourself
  • It is the ideal database solution for small websites and beginners who haven’t developed for Windows web hosting before because the interface is fairly easy to follow and the risk of any issues occurring is minimal.

Microsoft SQL Server is a professional database server meaning that it has advance support for different data types and can be integrated into Windows desktop applications alongside ASP.NET Windows web applications. Microsoft SQL Server databases are manageable through Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio which is a free application available from the Microsoft website, although it is only available for Windows desktop computers. Additional benefits of using Microsoft SQL Server include:

  • A free version of Microsoft SQL Server is available, allowing you to use the application for free when developing small websites
  • The scalability of Microsoft SQL Server provided you with the opportunity to develop web applications that will be able to cope with high visitor numbers as well as spikes in the number of visitors that they receive.

In conclusion, developing websites for a Windows web hosting environment is something that will require the knowledge of at least one Windows compatible scripting language along with at least one database server that will run on Windows and is also compatible with your chosen web scripting language. However, by using ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL Server to develop a website for a Windows web hosting environment, you are guaranteed full compatibility with the operating system and ASP.NET will allow you to tap into additional features of the operating system – this will be something other scripting languages won’t be able to offer.

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A Simple Guide to Installing WordPress

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

WordPress is a popular application that can be used as a CMS for websites or as a blog hosting system for writers and websites that wish to setup their own blogs; the features of WordPress stand it in good stead for either option. Any web hosting service that can offer PHP web hosting will be able to support WordPress as the two most important system requirements are support for PHP and MySQL databases, both of which are features common to most web hosting packages; from this you can also deduce that WordPress will work on a majority of Linux and Windows web hosting plans. The installation of WordPress has been made to be as painless as possible so that even the most inexperienced of users can do it with little assistance. The purpose of this guide is to aid you with the setup of WordPress as well as the basic configuration options that will provide you with a highly function content management system base on which you can develop your blog or website.

Downloading WordPress

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This is probably the simplest step of them all; simply point your web browser towards http://www.wordpress.org. Simply click the “Download” button that is on the homepage and then simply choose where you wish to save the download.

Uploading WordPress to Your Web Space

Once you have downloaded WordPress and extracted the files to your desktop, you will need to upload them to your web space. This is can be done using your favourite FTP client as all you need to do is follow the standard FTP login procedure.

Pre-requisites

Prior to running the WordPress installation wizard you should make sure that you have completed the following steps:

  • Setup a MySQL database for WordPress
  • Set the relevant permissions.

Installation – Step 1

2 300x189 A Simple Guide to Installing Wordpress

You will need to open your web browser and navigate to the location that you have uploaded the WordPress files to. As this is a fresh installation, you should be prompted with the following web page, which is the start of the installation wizard.

To begin installation you will need to click the “Create a Configuration File” button; the purpose of this is to create a base file in which all of the basic options for your WordPress installation will be stored, such as your database connection details.

Step 2

The next page offers a checklist that you should go to prior to the installation process so that you can make it as quick as possible. The options noted in this check list will all be needed at some point in the installation process.

Step 3

This page requires that you enter your database connection details so that WordPress is able to connect to the MySQL database that you have setup so that it has a location to store all of the data that is required for the operation of the web application.

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The following details will be needed to create a database connection:

  • Database name – this is the name of the database that you have created in your web hosting control panel
  • Username – as well as creating a database, you will also need to create a separate database user that can login to your database
  • Password – this will be the password associated with the database user that you have created
  • Database host – in most cases this will be “localhost”, although if you are running WordPress in a server cluster or your web hosting company uses separate database hosting servers then this may indeed be different
  • Table prefix – some shared web hosting plans come with the limit of a single MySQL database and this feature will allow you to use different table pre-fixes if you wish to host multiple instances of WordPress off a single MySQL database.

Step 4

Just hit the “Run the Install” button and this will configure WordPress using the database configuration settings that you defined in Step 3.

Step 5

WordPress is now installed and is now functioning with the MySQL database that you have hooked it up to. It is now time to configure the core of WordPress with the settings that you require to access the administrator area of the application.

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You will need to define the following settings in the final step:

  • Site title – this is the name of your website, or the name that you want to be displayed in the titles of your web pages and as the title on your web pages
  • Username – this is the username you want to be assigned to the first administrator account, this can be changed later and additional administrator accounts can be added as you wish
  • Password – this will be the password for the aforementioned user account
  • Email – this is the main system email that will be associated with the WordPress installation.

Once you click the “Install WordPress” button the application will be configured with the settings and options that you have defined; you will then be taken to the administrator login page.

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Using a Content Management System

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

A content management system (CMS) will minimize the amount of work that you will need to put into the management of your website; in effect CMS systems allow webmasters to spend more time developing content for their website rather than having to maintain it. Content management systems are available in a variety of different scripting languages and utilize different database backends, ensuring that you will be able to choose a CMS system that will work with your web hosting package with ease. There are different content management systems available for different situations with some being design specifically for use with websites whilst others are designed to be the bases on which blogs are developed. In any case a CMS system will provide you with a way to manage your website as well as opportunities to expand as most systems allow plugins to be added, whilst the most popular of CMS systems have large communities that contribute plugins that other users of the same CMS can use for free; there are plugins designed for different purposes, with some being designed to add functionality whilst others will improve the performance of your website and the content management system that you are using.

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CMS Hosting Service

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

A CMS (content management system) will provide you with a better alternative to how you can manage your website and will make it easier for you to add and modify the content that you display to your visitors. CMS systems are based on various scripting languages and there are different CMS systems available for different scenarios and web hosting platforms meaning that choosing one to integrate with your web hosting service shouldn’t be too much of a task on its own. Any content management system should be expandable through the use of plug-ins that are available; most open source CMS systems have large plugin databases for you to choose from as you wish, although the number of plugins available for commercial CMS systems is going to be smaller simply because it is unlikely that there is going to be such a large user base. A web hosting account capable of hosting your CMS based website will be available depending on the exact CMS system that you have chosen to use because all content management applications will have different requirements in terms of the scripting language that has been used as well as the database application that is required to drive the backend.

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PHP Scripting Language

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

PHP is a popular, open source scripting language that is used for the development of dynamic websites, usually in conjunction with MySQL databases that act as a backend store for the information required by the website. PHP is available across multiple platforms meaning that your choice of operating system shouldn’t restrict you from using PHP, more so your skills are going to be the main factor that could hold you back with regards to PHP development. One of the main reasons that businesses choose to use PHP for their development needs is that they can easily modify the core of the scripting language if they wish to add additional functionality or improve certain factors and functions in order to provide their web users with a more stable user experience. PHP is the best scripting language to use in a Linux web hosting environment as it will provide you with the best level of interaction with the operating system and when you’re trying to develop scalable web applications, you want to make the most of what the operating system has to offer. There are many websites that will also be able to aid you with PHP development if you are having issues with a certain aspect of dynamic website development.

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