Making a website for an interactive book

(Scott C) #1

Hello Chris,

For the 3 past months, while semi-unemployed, I’ve been cramming everything I can about tech and programming in my head. My goal is to create a website that I can put my book on, although I wish to make it an interactive book, so that is why I’ve gone through the extra trouble.

I have read from both the entire W3Schools site, MDN, and other supplemental sources on the following: HTML, CSS, JS, jQuery, XML, DOM, BOM, SQL, PHP, HTTP, and all kinds of related materials, but I’m having difficulty integrating all of that. I have Win10 Pro, which comes with IIS 10, so I have enabled it and engaged it in a staring contest until it does my bidding. It has defeated me thus far.

Simply put, I find that the articles here are much easier to read than TechNet’s, but it seems Apache is the focus of the article I am on now, and I cannot reconcile the elements needed to progress further.

The last time I tried TechNet I spent an hour reading a purportedly introductory article to IIS - I felt like a car with brick tires, stuck in unforgiving quicksand. It was an unfortunate experience.

What I want is a website that: doesn’t limit me to bland templates, is extensible, I fully own, and which allows me to experiment with what I’ve learned without making it public, until I’m confident it’s secure, reliable, and professional. I am confused if this requires Wordpress and Bluehost. Those are the CDN and host, but how does my ISP figure in? Do I need to change my plan there, or… I hope I’m making sense.

As far as other articles, they outline the other components I need, and I have everything except the web host, CDN, fonts, and I haven’t created any actual stylesheets, HTML, JS, etc., but I figure that I need the aforementioned to have a clear idea of how all of that performs in tandem.

Learning web development: Marking guides and questions
(Chris Mills) #2

Hi Scott! Thanks for getting in touch; I am glad you are enjoying the articles and finding them useful. So it sounds like you are getting to grips with the actual website code OK, but are having trouble with the other moving parts around it? I’m not completely surprised — it can be quite confusing when you first start. Let’s go through each of these in turn.

Web servers — that article you’ve found that details setting up your own Apache config is too complex for beginners; I’m thinking of removing it, and redirecting readers to This shows you how to set up a local HTTP server for setting simple static files.

If you want to test PHP code locally, then I’d recommend using MAMP, which is a package that sets up PHP, MySQL and Apache for you automatically and is really easy to use.

Don’t bother with IIS — Apache is the industry standard.

You don’t need a CDN just for experimentation — this is an advanced tool that you will want to use only when your website starts to get a lot of traffic and you want to think about serving it to your users more efficiently/effectively.

When you want to start sharing experiments publicly, for static examples GitHub is a good option. If you want to share dynamic examples and create your own independent web site, you’ll need hosting and a domain name. See this article for more details on that kind of stuff:

Once you’ve got hosting and a domain name and set it all up, installing Wordpress on your domain is fairly simple. See this guide:

I think that should do you for now. Let me know what other questions you have.