We have an intranet site which was done in .net with plenty of functionality but management wants it to look more visually attractive and get the graphic designer involved. The graphic designer is NOT a programmer nor has any desire to learn how to code. She would be updating the main page only. I was trying to figure out how to make it easy for her to update the site. I was looking into Joomla but it requires PHP, MySQL, and Apache. Our box is .net/iis/sql. Does anyone have experience with this? Just a bit concerned about compatibility issues. or maybe there is an easier way. I'm more of a back end guy than a graphics guy.

  • Can the graphic designer use HTML/CSS? – Florian Margaine May 25 '12 at 6:34
  • No, she just wants to design a web page using another software app without any code (something like Joomla and/or Artisteer) – Rich May 25 '12 at 6:37
  • Joomla requires HTML/CSS code. Artiister looks cool :). She can export the HTML and you just integrate to your existing website? – Florian Margaine May 25 '12 at 6:44
  • That's kinda what I was thinking but wanted to make sure that I am on the right track and there are no drawbacks that I'm not thinking of before spending the money. Also willing to consider other options in case there are any better ideas :) – Rich May 25 '12 at 6:52
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    +1 to counter the (IMHO undeserved) downvotes. This question could be improved indeed, but it attempts to describe a real, concrete, solvable problem. Are we really going to accept only "perfect" questions on this forum? – Péter Török May 25 '12 at 8:34

Typically designers will create the look and feel of the site in Photoshop.

Then someone (possibly the designer, possibly a front-end developer) will take the Photoshop (psd) file and convert it to HTML/CSS. Some parts of the psd will be replaced with pure HTML/CSS and some of it will need to be sliced up and used as background images.

Once the redesign is in HTML/CSS then your .NET developer can implement the new look and feel into the intranet site.

As far as I know there is no tool that will let a designer that does not want to touch any code create a .NET site AND let them have full control over the look and feel. WYSIWYG editors are getting better but they still will not deliver the quality custom look of a site that was designed in an app like Photoshop and hand coded into HTML/CSS.

If you don't have a developer that is experienced in converting a Photoshop file to HTML/CSS then I suggest you let management browse the templates at http://themeforest.net/category/site-templates/admin-templates they are pretty good and many will include a layered psd that your designer can customize if needed.

  • Thank you for the links. I could create the site that she constructs, but they want her to be able to edit the site without going through me since I am not always available (I am also involved in IT support). – Rich May 25 '12 at 14:45

I'm not sure that there's any 'easy' way: somewhere along the line, someone is going to have to turn the designers non-code ideas into code. Unless you can find a tool to do that automatically, but I somewhat doubt it exists (for pure HTML maybe, but you'll still have to 'weave' that into whatever flavour of .NET you have).

Does the graphic designer have any web experience? It's important, because even if she can't code html/css, she should at least know some of the basic things that you can/can't/shouldn't do.

What you really need is a web designer. Rub the lamp :)

  • She took a class in web design. I believe she used Dream Weaver in the class but she wants to use software which will allow her to use Joomla templates. I'll have to see if she can export these templates into some third party app and then export into HTML when she is finished. I though there might be an easier way which is why I thought I'd throw this topic out there in case anyone else has run into it. I will also need to figure out a way to let her edit the site as needed without involving IT – Rich May 25 '12 at 13:46
  • So she is suggesting that your company scrap your custom intranet site written in .NET to Joomla? I would consult your developers first before letting a designer make platform decisions. – programmer May 25 '12 at 14:01
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    That is correct. I am one of the developers, and if it were up to me, I'd stick with what we have. :) However, they want the graphic designer to reo the main page and update the page on the fly without having to contact IT first. I am perfectly content with the site we have now, it has functionality, but they are looking for something more "visually attractive". – Rich May 25 '12 at 14:43
  • The graphics designer should have 0% input on your technologies and infrastructure. They typically lack even the most fundamental knowledge to make that decision. Stick with .NET. Have her do whatever she does with photoshop or something then translate that to the current platform. Actually, I think Microsoft has a tool that might help. You may want to look at Expression Studio...mostly Expression Design. microsoft.com/expression/web.aspx – Rig May 25 '12 at 15:29
  • She has a friend who uses Joomla an their IT department installed it for her so that is there that came from. Sounds like a good plan and I will check out ES. Thanks for the link! – Rich May 25 '12 at 16:22

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