One of the issues with Freeway has been its inability to cope with externally edited HTML - whether from Freeway, or indeed from another source. This is a curse, and a blessing.
Your client wants to update the site - and it's created by Freeway. You know that any changes you upload will overwrite those that your client has made. This is not a situation that is comforting or helpful.
However, it is entirely possible to build client-editable Web sites in Freeway, and what's more, you retain full control over what your client can and cannot edit. Unlike other Web design applications (including FrontPage), this protects your hard design work from the ravages of a client’s blunderings and saves your client the cost (and embarrassment) of calling you up to fix the site when it is broken! This is the blessing; somethingn that may have been overlooked.
So, what are the options? There are a few, some more complex than others, but all possible and viable with Freeway. Let's explore some of the issues here.
Your client buys a copy of Freeway (and a Mac if necessary - an Mac mini is a great machine, and is cheap). You hand over a section of the site in a separate Freeway file that can be updated as necessary. It could be the part of the site where available stock is listed, or it could be one where news items are regulalrly updated. Use the Lock feature in the Inspector palette to indicate to your client that there are some parts of the site that should not be edited. Apart from that, they’ll have free rein over that section of the site.
You can also find a (silent) movie showing how WebYep works by clicking on the "Click here to the see the video" link at http://www.max-izzat.co.uk/
If you want to roll your own then you could build a system which
allows your client to create and maintain a database of stock and other
content. There are many options available to you to achieve this. If
there is an exisitng database, you have some of the work done for you.
You would use a server-side scripting/database system that will run on
on the server being used for the site. For example, a common UNIX web
server would be running the Apache server with MySQL for the database,
and PHP as a scripting language to take content from the database and
place it into the HTML (there are other UNIX server solutions
There are Actions that aid in building sites using PHP & MySQL, though you would require a knowledge of PHP/MySQL to create the site and functioning code. PHP and MySQL are both open source, and are free to download and use. If you are running Mac OS X, you can run these on your machine, and turn your Mac into a fully blown development server very simply. If you have a portable, you could develop dynamic web sites anywhere you go!
Actions for PHP and MySQL can be found by searching at ActionsForge.com.
If you are running on a Windows based server, you would be more likely to need ASP (Active Server Pages) and either a Microsoft Access or SQLServer for the database. These are all proprietary Microsoft products, and there are development costs involved. To develop a site for this platform, you will need a Windows machine (ASP and Microsoft Access or SQLServer do not run on Macs), and you would need to link it to your Mac for the development and testing of your pages.
More about these technologies can be found on Microsoft's site - www.microsoft.com
There are also ready-built systems online which would allow you to provide this kind of functionality out of the box. You would have to do some work in integrating some of the code provided with Freeway. What you use is dependent on the server you are running the site on. a good selection of open source content management systems can be found at www.opensourcecms.com
Whichever option you choose, you would provide your client with a web interface that would allow them to add content. As far as Freeway is concerned, the layout is all there is - and you can freely make changes and upload new designs without disrupting the content.
We run a mail list that lets you speak with those users who are knowledgeable in this area. This is separate from FreewayTalk as it’s more specialised, and can get more in-depth than FreewayTalk does. It may well be worth exploring this avenue as it would offer you and your client much more freedom for your requirements, as well as provide you with the skills to produce this kind of site for other clients. You can join the Dynamo list here.
The Softpress site uses such a system for the majority of the site. This KnowledgeBase, for example, is all held in a database, and additions are made via a form in a web browser, rather than via the Freeway file.
- Some Freeway users have a policy of not letting clients edit the site at all. This assures the client that an expert is working on the site. This seems to be a satisfactory way of working, and it means that there are no upsets caused by broken HTML files.
22nd of January, 2009