Hi Doty. See my (inline) answers below.
I’ve been thinking of Coda quite a bit. I’m not sure I’m ready to handle hand-coding exclusively, but I do see the benefit of learning more about coding and being less dependent on software holding my hand. I’ve only used v1 of Coda and have not yet purchased the upgrade. But I have a few questions for you:
Aside from having absolute control over the end result I was able to mimic certain features like Master Pages.
How do you manage to mimic Master Pages? I’d love to hear more about this. And my 2nd question is related:
A Master page in FW is a template…a shortcut for making new pages, nothing more. It’s the scaffolding (HTML) of a complete page, and whatever else you choose to include be it CSS, js etc.
One way to mimic this “shortcut” is to simply create a Snippet (or many Snippets) of this outer HTML structure for a particular page or layout. What’s nice about Coda is that it allows to save Snippets for global use or for a specific project so it helps keep things tidy.
Once you have your Snippet(s) you can create a new (blank) .html file and with a click insert your complete “master page” Snippet code into it and you’re off and running. Then it’s simply a matter of adding content etc.
There are many ways to approach it and this is just one. What works best will depend in part on the type of site you’re building (static vs. dynamic), but at its most basic this one way to go about it and is how I began. In time I eventually broke the outer structure down into smaller components because that’s what I needed but initially I started with a complete page.
How is site management handled with hand-coded websites?
If by “management” you mean the actual content then I use a CMS of some flavor. However, if you’re referring to the actual site files (HTML, CSS, js, PHP etc.) then it’s entirely up to you to keep things organized. If you’re using a CMS then there might be certain folder/file structures you need to observe but generally speaking you put things where you want them.
When I finally began moving my sites (built with FWP) to Coda the “transition” was little more than me opening Freeway’s generated (HTML, CSS and js) files and looking at the code. That’s how I started.
This makes sense to me and feels like a logical next step. But I’ve read about FW creating bloated code, using weird or perhaps less-than-compliant names for things. How do I go about cleaning up the FW code? I know Coda has a split view, but I’m also thinking that I could delete something that seems unnecessary in the moment only to realize down the road that it was necessary in a given circumstance or in a different browser/device or something. How do I know what is superfluous and can be removed/changed/simplified?
I had the same concerns. Here’s what I did:
I started with a personal (not a client) site and I duplicated every file FW generated and I set it up as a separate Coda project, a sandbox of sorts. Because I was already visually familiar with the site it was easy to tell when I made a mistake. I used this copy to start trimming the (code) fat which was remarkably easy to do and if I seriously screwed something up I could hit Command+Z as much as I needed to back out.
This hands-on process was a tremendous learning tool. You would be surprised at how quickly you can pick up the basics this way. But I always made sure to type out the code (no copy/paste). You learn stuff faster that way.
Another perhaps related question, I’m using Backdraft to help me with most of the responsive aspects. If I pick up coding from scratch and I dig into the Backdraft templates I’m curious how I will know what is necessary code vs what Caleb added to make it work within the FW ecosystem.
Trial and error. Again, this is why you duplicate your projects and work on those instead of the “real thing” until you get comfortable.
I’m not sure Coda is where I will land when all is said and done, but it does seem a smart evolution of my skill set to me. Additional thoughts welcome…
At this stage, for you, which editor you use is kind of secondary. Coda has a nice Snippet feature and toolset but it’s certainly not (by any stretch) the only option out there.
Whether you eventually use an editor or not is irrelevant. Concern yourself with increasing your code literacy and that will serve you so much better than any tool or tools you end up using, be it an editor or WYSIWYG or some combination thereof.
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