General Question

chucklmiller's avatar

What software (platform, utility, whatever) is used to design Q & A websites like this one?

Asked by chucklmiller (386points) May 28th, 2009

Just curious…

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

16 Answers

phoenyx's avatar

This site is written in Python and uses the Django framework.

chucklmiller's avatar

Interesting…thanks phoenyx.

chucklmiller's avatar

@phoenyx…May I ask how you knew that?

Lightlyseared's avatar

If you view the source code for the site it says so at the bottom. (Any browser will be able to display the source code of a web page)

chucklmiller's avatar

AAaaahhhhhhhh…....thx, lightly!

richardhenry's avatar

You can run a Q&A website on a variety of platforms, there’s nothing specific about a platform or language that makes it possible.

Fluther is hosted on several servers running Apache, the database is MySQL, and MogileFS is used for the avatar server. It is indeed written in Python using the Django framework.

Fluther is hosted on VPS boxes from Slicehost, running Ubuntu Server.

chucklmiller's avatar

I asked this question because I’m interested in creating a more professional website than the one I have now (www.chucklmiller.com) for promotional purposes and possibly a Q & A component. I’m not a computer expert, don’t know code, and I have only used the Webs templates for creating my site.

Any suggestions…?

richardhenry's avatar

@chucklmiller If you’re looking for something more professional, I’d recommend hiring someone to build and design it for you.

If you’re unwilling to do that, maybe some of the features at Squarespace would interest you? It’s a pretty good service for people who aren’t “technically orientated” that allows them to completely customize the look and feel, use a custom domain, and some more stuff.

If you mean ‘professional’ in the literal sense though, then the only way to go is to work with someone who knows that they’re doing. You could hire a freelancer over a studio if your budget is small. I run a small development studio myself, but we’re probably not suited to what you’re looking for.

Good luck, hope this helps!

richardhenry's avatar

Oh, and Fluther was developed from scratch by hand, by Andrew and Ben, if you were wondering that. There’s more on the about page.

dynamicduo's avatar

Hi @chucklmiller. This site was created using a bunch of different technologies, the basics of which include interacting with a database and dynamically processing the information. This type of website requires a completely different skillset than static web design (although that is required too). Web design is tricky enough when it’s static HTML (just getting it to look the same in all the browsers is hard), but when you add dynamic stuff in, there is a chance that a hand coded application will have security holes in it. Thus I recommend you hire someone to create and install the core website, leaving you to do things such as adding posts or moderating comments.

Perhaps something like a Wordpress blog with a custom template would be suitable for your needs. Using a pre-existing system like this has its benefits including ease of use and many plugins and templates available. You can then put your money towards paying someone to create a custom template to your design specifications.

noyesa's avatar

Most of these answers seem to pretty much hit the nail on the head, but keep in mind that web sites are developed in a bazillion different platforms, languages, and so on. Just for example, the Q&A site Stack Overflow is developed using ASP.NET MVC, which is a Microsoft-made rival to Django, which in turn is a rival to industry heavyweight Ruby on Rails. Many developers still build web-sites from the ground up without an application framework like Rails or Django, which generally don’t scale as well as an application built from the ground up. There’s nothing on this site that absolutely depends on Django, it’s a tool for making the developer’s life easier. This same site could have been built in PHP, Ruby, Python, or Perl and the end product would have been the same, even if it would have taken longer to get there.

Link's avatar

Agh, wait a minute. Aren’t sites created with HTML and CSS? I’m still slowly learning Web design and it kills me when I run into threads like this. I’m thinking Web sites are created using XHTML and CSS and then I hear you guys talking about Web sites being created with PHP, Ruby, Python, which are names/phrases/topics I know nothing about. So frustrating.

-Link

noyesa's avatar

Websites are ultimately built in XHTML and CSS, but these are the visual end of the deal. XHTML has no native facilities for dynamic web sites, so there would be no way to have the site automatically update with the latest questions and answers and do complicated things like sniff out questions that a user might be interested in answering.

Languages like Ruby, Python, PHP, and Perl are high-level programming languages that are used for computational work. These languages have robust facilities for working with the file system or a database, and can generally do so with much fewer lines of code than languages like C++.

When you request a website like Fluther in your browser, you aren’t pulling .html files sitting on the Fluther web server. Fluther uses the Django framework to pull the contents of your page from a database, which it then assembles into an XHTML document and serves it to your browser. What you’re seeing is HTML, but it was assembled on-the-fly with the most up-to-date content at the time of the request.

If you’re learning web design, you likely won’t even need to know how to do any of that. Frameworks like Rails and Django work with template files there are very close to static HTML files that they use to assemble pages. Computer programmers handle the heavy duty programming logic.

Link's avatar

Noyesa : Thanks! You’ve answered many questions for me and helped put things in perspective. I guess I’ll get to the PHP and Ruby languages when I get to them. For now it’s just XHTML and CSS.

-Link

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