Introducing PHP AutoRun and a CSS Tutorial

Posted March 2nd, 2007 by Mike Cherim

PHP AutoRun I’m making two announcements for the price of one today: One is the completion of my PHP AutoRun System; The second is my first use of the AutoRun system in the making of this “How to Make a CSS Web Site” tutorial. The idea for this goes back at least six months. It took me a while to make it happen because it’s, well, pretty involved, and I’m a busy guy. Finally, though, I have completed this project. I’ll explain here what these two things are all about and maybe get some [hopefully positive] comments and feedback.

PHP AutoRun Presentation and Tutorial System

You’ve seen those tutorials where you go from page-to-page, right? They use JavaScript and all the content is on one page. They’re pretty slick I think. Well, my hope was to make one that used PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) instead of JavaScript, and to make it even more accessible and nice looking in situations where JavaScript wasn’t supported. I did it! The content isn’t on one page in this case, but it is unlimited, accessible to the best of my knowledge, and easy to use. I know setting it up is a two minute task — I did package it for distribution, but my plan is to actually sell it. I can’t give everything away.

When you visit the site you have two options: Use the AutoRun feature where you enter a page duration in seconds and go through the pages automatically. The other option is to go through the pages manually. It’s the user’s choice; the user is in control. I also designed it to be an intelligent system so it knows where the user is at, and what the user is doing, and provides the proper feedback to the user. It uses cookies. It does have a little bit of JavaScript on the system-embedded Help page to offer users more flexibility in getting back to their last position. I could have done this with PHP, too, but I didn’t. Maybe next version. [Update]

To be truthful, I’m absolutely overjoyed as I think I really pulled it off nicely. I tell you what, though, it wasn’t easy. It was a ton of work just making the system.

My “How to Build a CSS Web Site” Tutorial

The second part, actually using it to make a CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) tutorial, was a big task on its own. I learned the best way to do this is to start with the finished page then work backwards. It was a pain in the butt to be honest, but hopefully the effort put forth was worth it.

This is a twenty page tutorial, not including the Introduction and Summary. It starts the tutorial with a plain, unstyled content-first web page. Step-by-step the user is taken through the process of styling and positioning the page’s elements to make a decent, hack-free, single style sheet web page or template (fixed width, 760 pixels). I think it’s pretty solid. I haven’t tested it on any Mac browsers, but I suspect it’ll be just fine. It’s simple and straightforward so there shouldn’t be any issues. It looks good in Opera, Firefox, and Internet Explorer 6 and 7 using Windows. I didn’t do a screen reader or text browser test, but I don’t think I have to because I was careful to make sure it was accessible and I hopefully already know what the outcome of such testing would be.

If I did a good job maybe it’ll prove to be a good example of how to make a CSS web site and possibly helpful to newer developers just getting into the whole CSS design thing and/or web accessibility.

Here are the links again.

Please tell me what you think. Is it good stuff? :-)

14 Responses to: “Introducing PHP AutoRun and a CSS Tutorial”

  1. Elliott Cross responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Very nice!

    Bravo! I like the simplicity of the CSS tutorial, as it encompasses alot of basic items that pages and sites should have, as well as how to correctly get them functioning.

    Good job and thanks for all the hard work!

  2. Cole responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Hey Mike
    Nice idea - one suggestion might be a drop down list so that people can jump to particular pages from anywhere in the presentation

  3. Marco responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Hey Mike.

    Wow! You must have put a great deal of work into this. Very good! I really dig the CSS tutorial!

    The AutoRun tool is something different. I haven’t seen anything like this before. Do you think it will be a lot of work to get it completely JavaScript-less? It’s very cool :)

  4. Mike Jolley responds:
    Posted: March 2nd, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    Hey Mike, Nice to see you got it finished, well done its great!

  5. Jermayn Parker responds:
    Posted: March 5th, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    I have just sent the CSS tutorial to my brother who has just started Tafe and is currently getting taught table styled websites and I am just about to have a look at your php autorun….

  6. David Paul Robinson responds:
    Posted: March 29th, 2007 at 12:26 am

    This is great! Thanks so much for putting this together.

  7. Best PHP Books responds:
    Posted: November 22nd, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    hey thanks for this tutorial. this was really informative. its gonna save a lot time.

  8. Best of the Beast in 2007 - responds:
    Posted: December 23rd, 2007 at 12:19 am

    […] March: Introducing PHP AutoRun and a CSS Tutorial […]

  9. css tutorial responds:
    Posted: June 21st, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Why is it always a better choice to use external stylesheet file rather than inline styling? Does it matter for saving loading time?

  10. Putra Eka responds:
    Posted: February 2nd, 2010 at 11:08 am

    It help me so much, thanks for sharing the tutorial

Sorry. Comments are closed.

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