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First time user - introductory help needed :-) (4 posts)

  1. jetblack61
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Hi all!
    I'm new to this forum and also new to the field of web design and am after some advice!

    I'm currently studying for a PhD (medical field) and am wanting to create a website as the final part of the research, but as I am totally new to it, I don't know whether this is a realistic target. At present, I am waiting for results from previous studies to know exactly what the website will need to look like, but I think as a broad outline, it will need to be a bit more than just 'text on a page' and will need to have some sort of interactive element. For example, if the first page displays a short questionnaire, dependent on the individual's answer to those questions, the following pages will be tailored to that information e.g. if person 1 answers 'A,B,B', the next page will be different to person 2 who answers 'B,A,B'.

    I am computer literate and happy to spend 3 months in front of a computer working it out, if it's possible, but I don't want to take it on if I'm way out of my depth. I was wondering if anyone was able to advise as to whether this is something that needs serious programming knowledge and isn't something an amateur is able to do, or whether it is a realistic target? The wesbite will only end up as a prototype, it won't be all shiny and complicated - but it needs to work!

    I've been told that WordPress would be a good tool, but I'm wondering if you have any confirmation that this system will do what I'm needing?

    I'd be really grateful of any hints and tips and generally any expert knowledge!

    Thanks in advance,

    *jet*

  2. ty
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Hi Jet,
    I don't think this would be too complicated to achieve with WordPress.
    You can make the whole site WordPress and have it up in under a half an hour (maybe up to 3 for your first time). Then WordPress allows for the creation of custom page templates.

    What you can do is write your own custom page template that has a form where users can answer the questions, and targets itself as the action for the form. In the top of the page you'll then need some php script that handles the user's input.

    The WordPress codex are a great place to learn how to format a custom page for addition to, and use in any WordPress theme. Try looking at and around the docs concerning creating your own page template.

    Essentially you could use the default WordPress theme and spend all your time working on 1 custom page. That one page will change its display based on the php script you write in the top.

    Take a look at the wp-login.php page in a default wordpress install for a somewhat complex example of how to format a page that catches and deals with its form's inputs.

    Basically, you'll need a little bit of knowledge of php, which generally follows the same formats as any other coding language, and you can search the php.net documentation to find functions you can use to deal with the data you're catching.

    You won't need to know how to style with css if you use the same classnames as the default template pieces (or whatever template you choose), but you'll also need to know a little bit about html to make the form and the page output. This stuff is web programming 101, so 3 months and a good understanding of basic logic, and the knowledge that whatever you want to accomplish has likely been laid out in smaller pieces across the net with handy examples, should be plenty of time.

    If you know a little bit about coding languages and the structures common to all languages like strings and arrays, you'll want to be googling phrases like php string and php array. If you don't know what things like a string, an if/else statement, a for loop, or a while loop are, then you might have to spend a bit more than 3 months, depending on how fast you learn, but the knowledge is around the web (w3schools is another good resource).
    peace~

  3. jetblack61
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Thanks very much for this - it's really useful!
    Do you happen to know of any sites that do the sort of thing I'm trying to achieve that I could have a look at? Or anyone that's done something similar?
    It seems there is a fair bit for me to get my head round, but with perseverence and some research, it sounds like I might be able to do it!

    Hopefully if I get stuck I can post questions on this forum and some good people will help me out!

    Thanks again,
    *jet*

  4. ty
    Member
    Posted 5 years ago #

    Well I should have provided you a good example from the start :)
    Check out the tizag php form example for a nice starting point.
    peace~

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