Building your own website is all about choices. Right from the ‘Get Go’ you need to make decisions. When building your site in EverWeb, one of the fundamental choices you have to make as soon as you create your site is “What type of page do I want?” If you’re new to EverWeb, this can be quite a challenge, as making the wrong choice here could mean more work later. This blog post is here to help you make the choice that’s best for you by looking at EverWeb’s page types and what the jargon means. We’ll also discuss along the way how these choices relate to making pages in your site that are suitable for mobile and desktop devices.
The Theme Template Chooser
When you create your project file in EverWeb, the first thing that you’ll need to do is to create a page. You can’t have a project file without at least one page in it, so having you create a page immediately as you create the project is a logical step.
The Theme Template Chooser is where you select the style that you want for the pages of your website. EverWeb has over 200 different themes from which to choose from. Each theme includes templates for typical pages that you would find in your site e.g. Home, Contact, Online Shop, Photo, Video and Blog pages. That’s useful for a quick start to get your site up and running quickly. If you want to design your own pages from scratch, there are also the Blank and Blank Responsive themes to choose from.
When using the Theme Template Chooser, use the ‘Check for New Templates…” button to see if there are more theme templates available. Typically, each EverWeb release includes new templates. You can quickly find any recently added themes using the dropdown menu at the top of the themes on the left hand side of the dialog box. By default ‘All’ themes are displayed, but you can change this to ‘Fixed Width’, ‘Responsive’ or ‘New’ to the system themes. The dropdown menu is a useful filter for the type of page layout that you may want, but what are ‘Fixed Width’ and ‘Responsive’ themes?
Fixed Width and Responsive Themes and Page Layouts
The first thing we need to do is to explain the different types of page that you can have in EverWeb. Pages in your site can either be
- Fixed Width or
The ‘Fixed Width’ type of page is one where the width of the page is set at a fixed pixel width. You can, therefore, set the page width to suit either desktop, tablet or mobile devices. When adding a new page to your site, if you select a Fixed Width Theme Template, you may notice that the pages the theme contains has a mix of desktop and mobile pages.
By default, the page width is set as 1000 pixels for desktop devices and 480 pixels for mobile devices. You can adjust the page width if you want in the Page Settings tab of the Inspector Window on the right hand side of the EverWeb app. In the ‘Page Layout’ section, change the ‘Content Width’ value as you want.
The ‘Fixed Width’ type of page originally came about at the start of the personal computer era when computer screens were all typically about the same size. This made developing a ‘standard’ desktop page size easy. When mobile devices came along, however, it was necessary to introduce a page with a width suitable for them as desktop pages were too wide the width of a mobile phone.
Since this time, the explosion of electronic devices has led to all manner of different screen widths and heights becoming available. How can you properly fit your website’s desktop and mobile page types in to all of these devices? This question ultimately led to the development of the ‘Responsive’ page type. This page type scales automatically to fit any device width from small mobile phones to very wide desktop screens. When using this page type, there is no Content Width to worry about as the page will always occupy 100% of the width available to it.
Making Your Choice…
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong choice between which type of page you choose. In fact, you can combine the different page types mentioned above within your site if you want. The important thing to remember is the goal that you ultimately want to achieve for your site. How easy is it going to be getting there? Also, remember not to forget that you can change your mind later on and it’s not the end of the world if you do.
What is important to think about is the goal of your site, the time you have available to develop it, and your level of knowledge and skill in website design. There are many different factors to consider. It’s recommended that you read through the Responsive Web Design chapter of the EverWeb User Manual before you make your choice about which page type to use. You can find the User Manual on the first screen (The Projects Window) when you launch EverWeb, or from the Help menu in EverWeb itself. This chapter gives you an in-depth overview of the merits of fixed width and responsive page types, so should help you make your choices easier.
If you’re new to EverWeb and are creating your first website, it may be easier to start with developing a Fixed Width site. There is less to learn and Fixed Width sites let you be more ‘free form’ with your design. You can always develop a Responsive site later on if you want. If you do have some experience in website design and know the principles of Responsive Web Design, then you may want to immediately jump in using a Responsive page layout.
Left Aligned, Center Aligned and Responsive Page Layouts
When developing your site, if you choose a Fixed Width theme template, the page layout in the Page Layout section of the Page Settings tab, defaults to ‘Center Aligned’ (the ‘Left Aligned’ Fixed Width page layout is seldom used). If you choose a Responsive theme template, the page layout type is’Responsive’.
You can change the Page Layout style from one to another, however, it’s generally recommended that you start with a fresh blank page and build up the new page with its new page layout rather than trying to re-jig an existing page.
EverWeb gives you the flexibility to build your website the way in which you want to. It’s also good to know that the choices that you make at the start can be changed along the way if you want. Above all, if your website looks great and works well, then you’ve achieved your goal, no matter which page layout type you ultimately choose!