Why is it so hard!

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Bought to C5 by the severe limitations of every other CMS on the market - they force you to be a developer, not a designer.

Only to find C5 is exactly the same.

(I am beyond frustrated at the moment - its driving me to distraction!)

I want to do some pretty basic stuff. Stuff that is incredibly easy in, say a DTP program. Resize a block. Not EVERY occurrence of that block, just one block. Change a line of text. Alter colours. HOW!!!

I'm using the Greek Yoghurt 'theme'.

1. Via dashboard, I change the header and footer colour from light blue to something else. It works in the preview, but not on the website

2. How do I change the light blue 'sidebars' (for lack of anyother word) that are to the left and right of the pages?

3a. I dont want two columns on the first page, just one. I can delete everything - except the 'Add to sidebar' block on the r/h side, although in fairness it does publish.

3b. I replaced the text in the welcome block. But I can't resize it? The Design tab lets me edit the attributes of the block, but not the size. It appears I have to edit the theme CCS code??? I dont want to learn CSS, I want to DESIGN :-) Actually, I want to resize a text box, using a GUI and a method thats been around since at least 1985 and the C= Amiga!

3c. How the hell do I modify the footer? To get rid of of "Built with", or the "logged in as".. let me guess... I need to learn CSS and edit themes.

Anyone can knock up a "page" in seconds using Xara, for instance. One can drag, drop, resize to hearts content. Keeping changes across pages is another matter. Yet, anyone can use a DTP program (or even Word templates) to create documents - or pages - that have a consistent look and feel, are easily editable (and keeping changes local or global). When will web DESIGN software match document DESIGN?

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VidalThemes replied on at Permalink Reply
VidalThemes
"Resize a block. Not EVERY occurrence of that block, just one block. Change a line of text. Alter colours. HOW!!!"

Place your site in edit mode, click on a block that has dotted red outline, select edit fron the menu, highlight the text you wish to change, alter the size colour etc using the text colour and size options. hit publish.

"1. Via dashboard, I change the header and footer colour from light blue to something else. It works in the preview, but not on the website
"

Clear your browser and or concrete5 cache. if it changes in the preview it means its working, its just your browser showing a cached version.

"2. How do I change the light blue 'sidebars' (for lack of anyother word) that are to the left and right of the pages?"

They are not sidebars thats the background this is changeable by going to "themes" and next to greek yoghurt click the "customize" button, here you can change your background and font colours etc.

"3a. I dont want two columns on the first page, just one. I can delete everything - except the 'Add to sidebar' block on the r/h side, although in fairness it does publish.
"

Use the full width page type, place your site in edit mode, hover the header button, on the pop up that apperas select "full".

"3b. I replaced the text in the welcome block. But I can't resize it? The Design tab lets me edit the attributes of the block, but not the size. It appears I have to edit the theme CCS code??? I dont want to learn CSS, I want to DESIGN :-) Actually, I want to resize a text box, using a GUI and a method thats been around since at least 1985 and the C= Amiga!"


If you look you can do all this from the editor, Tiny MCE which is built in, place your site in edit mode click on a red dotted outlined area, click edit, use the toolbar at the top to alter fonts, colour sizes etc, no css required, if it doesnt show at first clear your browser cache.

"3c. How the hell do I modify the footer? To get rid of of "Built with", or the "logged in as".. let me guess... I need to learn CSS and edit themes."

This has nothing to do with CSS, but this would require editing in the source code, its a copyright notice for yourself and enables a handy log in link, I wouldnt remove it if I were you.

Finally, calm down dude, take a breath, have a coffee, chill, think of your blood pressure!!
frustratednewbie replied on at Permalink Reply
Vidall - many thanks for taking the time to reply

["Resize a block. Not EVERY occurrence of that block, just one block. Change a line of text. Alter colours. HOW!!!"

Place your site in edit mode, click on a block that has dotted red outline, select edit fron the menu, highlight the text you wish to change, alter the size colour etc using the text colour and size options. hit publish.]

This doesn't achieve what I want to do. It resizes the block, but only by resizing the text inside. All I want to do is resize the block such that it stretches the width of the page. If I change the font size, the block shrinks. Why is changing the size of a text block so hard?




"1. Via dashboard, I change the header and footer colour from light blue to something else. It works in the preview, but not on the website"

Clear your browser and or concrete5 cache. if it changes in the preview it means its working, its just your browser showing a cached version.

Ah ha.

1 & 2: many thanks. That was so simple it didn't occur to me! :-)

["3a. I dont want two columns on the first page, just one. I can delete everything - except the 'Add to sidebar' block on the r/h side, although in fairness it doesn't publish."

Use the full width page type, place your site in edit mode, hover the header button, on the pop up that apperas select "full".]

??? I'm missing something here? I go into edit mode. Hover the header button.. means what? If I click on any of the red dotted squares I get the Edit Copy Delete Design Custom popup. Ditto similar popups on other areas, but nothing that says "full"

["3b. I replaced the text in the welcome block. But I can't resize it? The Design tab lets me edit the attributes of the block, but not the size. It appears I have to edit the theme CCS code??? I dont want to learn CSS, I want to DESIGN :-) Actually, I want to resize a text box, using a GUI and a method thats been around since at least 1985 and the C= Amiga!"


If you look you can do all this from the editor, Tiny MCE which is built in, place your site in edit mode click on a red dotted outlined area, click edit, use the toolbar at the top to alter fonts, colour sizes etc, no css required, if it doesnt show at first clear your browser cache.]

Not quite. I can change the style and format (paragraph, heading1, heading2, etc). And again, I can't change -and fix- the size of th text block itself, only make it change by changing the text inside.

["3c. How the hell do I modify the footer? To get rid of of "Built with", or the "logged in as".. let me guess... I need to learn CSS and edit themes."

This has nothing to do with CSS, but this would require editing in the source code, its a copyright notice for yourself and enables a handy log in link, I wouldnt remove it if I were you.]

Yep, I can understand that - but what if *I* want to? Especially if I want to change or remove the C5 notice?

[Finally, calm down dude, take a breath, have a coffee, chill, think of your blood pressure!!]

Best advice anyone can give :-) No seriously, if you take an objective look at web design tools, such as Joomla, Drupal, C5 - you can do whatever you want provided you either accept being defined by the template, or learn to code. Tools that allow the freedom to concentrate on the look of a site are a nightmare to manage content. Tools that allow you to manage content are a nightmare to design with - from the perspective of someone who wants to design. I had a play with artisteer earlier, which alleges that it makes it easy to create Joomla templates. Yep - provided you want a template that follows the same layout as every other template, complete with seemingly millions of vertical menus, a blog or two, three horizontal menu items, etc. But hey, you can change the colours.

But thanks for the help - it IS appreciated!
VidalThemes replied on at Permalink Reply
VidalThemes
Hi Frustratednewbie

Just to clarify, I was assuming you were using the latest version 5.5.1, which will produce a menu when you hover on the "edit" button in the top left corner, on this menu there is an option that says "design" if you click on this it will give you access to your themes page types, you can then swap to a new layout.

If your using an older version, click the edit button instead of hovering and then when the buttons appear next to the edit button there should be a "design" button there.

I get what you mean now about the sizing of your text box,I believe you can alter that using the layout feature, click on the red dotted areas in edit mode and choose "add layout" you may be able to achieve what you want this way, I dont use this feature myself, so dont hold me to that.

As far as editing the login/copyright footer goes, it would have to be removed in the themes footer.php template, which would mean accessing your sites theme files and altering a template, to be honest I advised you to leave it put as you had already stated that your HTML/CSS knowledge was limited, and I thought this may give you more headaches than you already had.

I really do think you should stick with C5 it really is, one, if not THE most user friendly CMS, once you get to know it, I think you will find it to be very accommodating and easy to work with. If you were to extend your knowledge somewhat to some basic html and CSS then I think your appreciation would sky rocket, as a little knowledge with C5 will take you much further than a little knowledge with other systems.

And dont forget there is a pretty big user doc available from the site and tons of how to's, and the community here is really helpful, if you dont put their backs up ;-)
mesuva replied on at Permalink Reply
mesuva
"When will web DESIGN software match document DESIGN?"

I don't think you will ever see this because they are very different things and can't (and shouldn't be) looked at the same way. The problems they solve don't match.

You have to remember that websites are ultimately more about content and text rather than visual presentation. With web, unlike print, content and visual styles are purposely separated to allow the content to be able to presented in alternate ways. Print is fixed, while web is dynamic and flexible.

Consider these things:
- You site might need to resize for large screens, smaller screens, mobile devices.
- Viewers of your site might have a visual impairment or be totally blind. Your site may be read aloud, put on a braille reader or the contrast changed significantly.
- Your site has to be 'indexed' by search engines and they need to be able to 'understand' the meaning of the content you have created, what are headings, what is less/more important on your pages.
- You might change branding down the track and need to change all the headings of your site from green to blue. Or your boss has complained that the paragraph text size is too small. You have 1000 pages
- Your site may need to pull in information from another website, like news, stock data, etc
- You may need a large dynamic menu or areas that expand/collapse

If you treat building websites just like laying out a print document, all of those things for example become problems. People often just think about what a website looks like, but that's only half the picture.

I do understand your frustration, as I think it can be misunderstood why concrete5 is touted as being 'great for designers'. Concrete5 does have a huge amount of flexibility to be able to implement visual designs and it does have some designing features built into it that makes things easier. But it's not a visual designing tool and concrete5 sites still use the same technologies as the rest of the web - HTML and CSS.

You'll also find that there is a big difference between general graphic designers who design for print, signage and other formats, versus those that handle web designs. Good web designers have an understanding of the considerations that need to be made, limitations and the technologies available.

I know you say you don't want to learn CSS, but I know lots of designers who can't really code as such, but are much happier for being able to go in and easily edit a style to tweak something. It's not THAT hard.

It's best to think in terms of headings, paragraphs, lists and other elements that make up content FIRST, then think about styling them later. It's worth doing a bit of research on this.

A final little tip - the Design option for blocks is really just a backup plan for one-off little tweaks, not for styling your site - again that's what CSS is for. Sites that have been styled by having each piece of text highlighted and changed using the content editor are an absolute nightmare to change down the track. CSS is something you'll appreciate being there, not be resistant to.
frustratednewbie replied on at Permalink Reply
mesuva - many thanks for the reply.

["When will web DESIGN software match document DESIGN?"

I don't think you will ever see this because they are very different things and can't (and shouldn't be) looked at the same way. The problems they solve don't match.]

You have to remember that websites are ultimately more about content and text rather than visual presentation. With web, unlike print, content and visual styles are purposely separated to allow the content to be able to presented in alternate ways. Print is fixed, while web is dynamic and flexible.]

[Consider these things:
- You site might need to resize for large screens, smaller screens, mobile devices.
- Viewers of your site might have a visual impairment or be totally blind. Your site may be read aloud, put on a braille reader or the contrast changed significantly.
- Your site has to be 'indexed' by search engines and they need to be able to 'understand' the meaning of the content you have created, what are headings, what is less/more important on your pages.
- You might change branding down the track and need to change all the headings of your site from green to blue. Or your boss has complained that the paragraph text size is too small. You have 1000 pages
- Your site may need to pull in information from another website, like news, stock data, etc
- You may need a large dynamic menu or areas that expand/collapse]

It is also equally fair to say that they might not change. It also fair to say that some of those points apply to content presentation - ie style, which is exactly the same as changing the style in a printed document (one changes the font size for paragraph font, et voila all 1000 pages are now in 11pt freehand).


[If you treat building websites just like laying out a print document, all of those things for example become problems. People often just think about what a website looks like, but that's only half the picture.]

I would disagree. Again, style libraries in both a DTP/WP or a CMS handle presentation. I want to use a CMS because going forwards I dont want to handle page design on a page-by-page basis, as I would with Xara. But I want to determine a page layout for my site- and that what CMS are very poor at. Any template you want, as long as it's the provided ones.


[I know you say you don't want to learn CSS, but I know lots of designers who can't really code as such, but are much happier for being able to go in and easily edit a style to tweak something. It's not THAT hard.]

Its not a style I need to edit - its the layout, the template. And that is where CMS seem to fall over.

[It's best to think in terms of headings, paragraphs, lists and other elements that make up content FIRST, then think about styling them later. It's worth doing a bit of research on this.]

Um, I have done! My entire site is sketched out on paper, I have the content. The difficulty is in fighting the CMS over how it is presented; the TEMPLATE is inflexible. Not the styles or themes per-se, but the "page layout" itself is very rigid.

But thanks for taking the time to reply.
mesuva replied on at Permalink Reply
mesuva
-- It is also equally fair to say that they might not change. It also fair to say that some of those points apply to content presentation

Very true, and I'm not saying there aren't many similarities, I'm just saying there are dangers in treating web as if it were print in its development. Things like typography, readability, general aesthetics, yes, take all these good things from print. But also consider all the other things about web that make it different.

-- But I want to determine a page layout for my site- and that what CMS are very poor at. Any template you want, as long as it's the provided ones.
-- Its not a style I need to edit - its the layout, the template. And that is where CMS seem to fall over.

Yes, and that's what CSS is for. However, I think you are missing one key point in this process. The systems are called _content_ management systems for a reason - they aren't meant for developing the appearance and layout of sites, they are for placing and managing content. Yes you might be able to change appearance a bit with them, but that's more for convenience, some colour here, some extra padding there.
The layout stage is handled by editing page templates and CSS. What you are actually looking for is something more like Dreamweaver. CMS systems don't handle anything but small layout changes simply because they aren't the appropriate tools for this.

If you aren't interested in CSS:
- Design your site visually first
- Create that design in Dreamweaver using it's WYSIWYG tools
- Convert your files from DW into a theme for your CMS.
The problems with this though are that it's laborious and the quality of your code will be questionable for maintenance and additional changes. Once you learn CSS you can whip up and change layouts just as easy (and I think quicker and easier) than you can in something like Dreamweaver.

--My entire site is sketched out on paper, I have the content. The difficulty is in fighting the CMS over how it is presented; the TEMPLATE is inflexible. Not the styles or themes per-se, but the "page layout" itself is very rigid.

This is great, you're already ahead of most others. But I think your fighting the CMS because you're expecting it to do something it isn't designed to do. It isn't designed to change the template or theme. I wouldn't want it to - Dreamweaver doesn't even do this well (IMO) and that's a massive, mature product. CSS is quite efficient at handling layout tasks, warts and all. The page layouts are complete flexible, you're just approaching the way to do this incorrectly.
PauloCarvalhoDesign replied on at Permalink Reply
PauloCarvalhoDesign
Hi,
I think that create a username like yours to write a post like that shows you have a lot of things to re-think before you pickup any cms whatsoever.
frustratednewbie replied on at Permalink Reply
Really, what would those be then?

Thank you for your ever-so helpful reply.
vincedelaking replied on at Permalink Reply
vincedelaking
Hi Alan,

I quess revolutiumstudio is trying to say that it takes some time to get comfertable with the logic of any CMS. If your really do not want to learn some CSS and do not want to look at some template code it is maybe better, just for your healty, to find someone how can convert your PSD's into HTML/CSS. Or just PNG your design and put it one to the web.

PS. life is to short to get fustrated, take a small walk and re-think your approach.

Best,
Vincent
arrestingdevelopment replied on at Permalink Reply
arrestingdevelopment
Maybe you'd be better off using one of the online, WYSIWYG website creation tools like:

SnapPages: http://snappages.com/

SquareSpace: http://www.squarespace.com/

Weebly: http://www.weebly.com/

DoodleKit: http://doodlekit.com/home

I don't have any experience with them. Some are free, some have monthly fees. All of them will tie you to their platform. But from a quick glance at them, they may have more of a WYSIWYG, drag-and-drop kind of editing interface that you may like better. They are all intended to allow you to "design" your site AND manage the content.

Might be worth a look, anyway.
arrestingdevelopment replied on at Permalink Reply
arrestingdevelopment
**************
3a. I dont want two columns on the first page, just one. I can delete everything - except the 'Add to sidebar' block on the r/h side, although in fairness it does publish.
**************
Sounds like what you want to do is change the entire page's layout... you want it full width, without the sidebar. In Concrete5 parlance, that means you want to change the page's "Design" (which equates to a "Page Type" that the designer created and included in the Theme). The Greek Yogurt theme *should* have a page design for "Full"... which would make your main content area the full width of the site.

You can change a page's "Design" any number of ways... from the Dashboard/Sitemap, click on the page and choose the "Design" sub-menu. You'll get a dialog window showing you the different page "Designs"/Layouts available to you. Pick a different one and apply it.

Or you can navigate to the page while logged in, put it in edit mode and look for the option for "Design". Same procedure (although it varies depending on whether you're running Concrete5 v5.4.2.x or 5.5.x).

You WILL be limited to the page layouts available to your themes. And changing them, or adding new ones, DOES require that you know how to code. OR you have to look through the marketplace for a theme that has the layout your want. Some are free, some aren't.

Sorry you're so frustrated!

- John