I went to the national meeting for the Huguenot Society in Richmond at the start of June, and was introduced as the new webmaster. When I got back from the meeting Ann and I got to work copying about 50 pages from the old frames based site into the new template I created. By last weekend we had finished, and I made the change in the site configuration so that visitors will now see the newly redesigned site.
After considering one of the various content management systems, I decided to create my own templates from html. This turned out to work fine, and I didn’t need to learn a new program that I might not need to use in the future. The template was written in html5, with some php, mostly to create separate files for the header, navigation section, etc. If you look at the site you might remark that it looks nice, but probably if you are a professional graphic designer it appears that the layout was not done by a professional.
There were several books I found helpful in designing the site – a book about html5 , one about typography, and a book by Jeffrey Zeldman. Zeldman it seems is very influential in modern web design. I heard of him by attending the local web design meetup group.
I used parts of a template file from the web site html5 reset. If you are planning writing an html5 site I would recommend you look at the template. Among other things it resets all the attributes of the elements to zero or default. This can be helpful, but then you have to go out and find the browser defaults for all the elements and add them back in. At least you know what you have. A program you will run into with html5 is modernizr. I didn’t use this for my site and if you are just starting you can get by using html5 shiv. They both fix Internet Explorer for html 5, but modernizr also detects what features are available in your browser.