Forum: Ruby on Rails RHTML designer

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65eccd74f8c0d771743bc09b9dc18ea1?d=identicon&s=25 Sandeep Chandra (Guest)
on 2006-03-28 12:04
Hi

I have just started playing with ROR and I think its very good. My only
problem is that I am new to web development and know much abount html. I
was wondering if there is any tool/plugin I could use to design rhtml
pages.

Regards

Sandeep
00973881979aa0a660ffbbb2f7a907fb?d=identicon&s=25 Peter De Berdt (Guest)
on 2006-03-28 13:11
(Received via mailing list)
> I have just started playing with ROR and I think its very good. My
> only
> problem is that I am new to web development and know much abount
> html. I
> was wondering if there is any tool/plugin I could use to design rhtml
> pages.

I wouldn't try to use a WYSIWYG editor, they just suck when
outputting code. It may look good, but it's bloated and none of them
has been able to reliably produce CSS (layer) based designs.

I had to tackle the same problem a year ago and this is the best way
to go:
? Have a real designer design you a mockup of your site in Photoshop
or have a look around at some sites and gain inspiration (don't steal
their css, just remember the good elements) from their work. I tend
to make small selection screenshots with Snapz Pro (SnagIt if you're
a PC user) from the parts I like. That way, I'm not tempted to copy a
complete site
? Pick up a few books on CSS design. I really really really liked CSS
Mastery (http://www.cssmastery.com/) and The ZEN of CSS Design:
Visual Enlightenment for the Web (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/
ASIN/0321303474/203-5958976-9142326). CSS Zen Garden (http://
csszengarden.com/) will also be a good help. Also, there are some
nice blogs out there that deal with CSS and design (http://
cssbeauty.com, ?)
? Practise, practise and more practise. The first time it will
probably take you a few days to get a layout looking the way you want
it (the culprit: Internet Exploder, it sucks when it comes to CSS).

I believe most of the other mailing list members will agree with me
CSS designs are best done by hand as they yield compact coding and
offer more control over your design.


Best regards

Peter De Berdt
Cf17040cecb2618506f5ca4c14957957?d=identicon&s=25 Robert Dempsey (flatekmonkey)
on 2006-03-28 13:59
Sandeep,

I have all of the Macromedia and Adobe tools at my disposal and have
gone to creating the rhtml pages by hand. As RoR uses layouts and views
(which go into the layouts) I find it easiest to code by hand. As Peter
mentioned it is a good idea to look into using css. Even better, have a
pro design the site so that you can essentially "wrap" your views into a
shell (layout) for a consistent look and feel. Your learning as I did -
the fun way.

Good luck,

Robert Dempsey
C402e1150580c153c1368573f70e7e82?d=identicon&s=25 Cody Skidmore (cskidmore)
on 2006-03-28 21:50
Sandeep Chandra wrote:
> Hi
>
> I have just started playing with ROR and I think its very good. My only
> problem is that I am new to web development and know much abount html. I
> was wondering if there is any tool/plugin I could use to design rhtml
> pages.
>
> Regards
>
> Sandeep

Dreamweaver has been very good for working visually with other
templating languages.  I wonder if something is in the works for RHTML
templates?  It is true GUI designers (in general) do a poor job working
with generating code, but IMO, Dreamweaver does a great job keeping
templates lean.
00973881979aa0a660ffbbb2f7a907fb?d=identicon&s=25 Peter De Berdt (Guest)
on 2006-03-29 12:02
(Received via mailing list)
> working
> with generating code, but IMO, Dreamweaver does a great job keeping
> templates lean.

It's been a long time since I last used DreamWeaver, so I'm
wondering: does it generate css-based layouts that work on all major
browsers (especially Internet Explorer 6) and aren't bloated with
needless css classes and/or ids? What I hated about all GUI web
editors, is the fact that you generate an XHTML page with just
content, logically structured and by the time they're finished, your
XHTML looks nowhere near what it was and you have a css file full of
garbage classes.

Best regards

Peter De Berdt
34f5b045aec62235c17458650ea75353?d=identicon&s=25 Steve Koppelman (hatless)
on 2006-03-29 15:23
Particularly because RoR is a Model-View-Controller framework and so
much of its power is accessed through element IDs and classes in a
page's HTML, you're probably not going to get very far or make much good
use of Rails' features without a decent understanding of HTML.

The sorts of WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver that are suitable for
templating and won't mess with hand-edited code (a requirement for any
kind of templating environment) are not for people who don't know HTML.
They can help a knowledgable person work faster and help a programmer
who isn't very good at design do somewhat better design, but they'll
actually make things much harder for someone who doesn't understand the
underlying HTML and CSS.

I strongly recommend hand-coding your RHTML and CSS until you get the
hang of things and understand the basic rules of markup and have a good
grasp of the different uses of DIVs and SPANs and CLASSes and IDs and
how to make use of them  in styling a page with CSS and making Ajax
calls from Rails. Worry first about making your program do what you want
it to do. Worry about looks afterward, and learn the HTML and CSS you'll
need to achieve that as you go. This is not because I am some elitist or
troll out to punish you, but because I think you'll waste enormous
amounts of time and end up with a much worse application if you start
using something like Dreamweaver right away. In the hands of someone who
knows what s/he is doing, Dreamweaver is a powerful tool that can
generate good HTML and speed development of complex sites and templates.
For someone who doesn't understand what they're trying to achieve
underneath the WYSIWYG view, it's worse than using nothing at all.

And don't even think about using some cheap, simple WYSIWYG HTML editor
for web development that has substantial code running behind it. It'll
just screw everything up.

That said, a Google search for Dreamweaver and RHTML turns up some
results, including these basic directions for configuring Dreamweaver to
edit RHTML files. If you want to launch it from inside RadRails (which
is a terrific IDE, by the way, and *will* increase your productivity
even now), that's up to you. I suggest making it not the default
behavior but rather something you launch from a context menu when you
right-click on an RHTML file in your project's file tree.

http://codesnipers.com/?q=node/175

-sk

Sandeep Chandra wrote:
> Hi
>
> I have just started playing with ROR and I think its very good. My only
> problem is that I am new to web development and know much abount html. I
> was wondering if there is any tool/plugin I could use to design rhtml
> pages.
>
> Regards
>
> Sandeep
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