[Semi-off-topic] Building a landing page


(Dan) #1

The recent discussion on removing the link to the server manager from the default landing page got me thinking. I haven’t changed the landing page from its default because I haven’t had anything to replace it with–my main domain isn’t intended as a web server as such, but I do provide a number of web services (webmail, Nextcloud, a weather station). It’s a family domain, and a number of members of my family have accounts there. I’d kind of like to build a decent-looking landing page there with links to the various services I’m hosting. Adding some instructions on email client setup would be nice too.

The problem is that, to put it kindly, my knowledge of HTML is very limited. I could hand-code a page like this, but it’d look like it was from 1995 (though I fortunately know better than to use the <blink> tag). I can see three options, none of which sounds very appealing; I’m hoping you can suggest others:

  • Teach myself enough HTML to hand-code the page I want
  • Install a CMS like Joomla! or Wordpress
  • Use Dokuwiki to build such a page
  • ???

I’m sure teaching myself HTML would be a worthy endeavor, but I don’t see me using it much in the future, so it seems like a lot of work for relatively little return.

Joomla! and Wordpress both have plenty of nice templates, attractive themes, and make it relatively easy to build content-rich, attractive sites. I’ve dabbled in Joomla!, and I know there’s a module for Wordpress, but both seem like complete overkill for a page like this.

As I was writing, I realized that I might be able to use Dokuwiki for something like this–I could at least do the links and text, and it’d certainly look better than if I hand-coded it. I don’t think it’s exactly what Dokuwiki (or any wiki) was designed for, but it also seems like less overkill than Wordpress or Joomla!. I don’t know, though, how (if at all) that would interact with my existing Dokuwiki installation.

Or… what? What I’d like to find is a relatively easy, lightweight way to produce a reasonably-attractive (I know, that’s pretty subjective), hopefully relatively responsive (should look OK on mobile as well as desktop) page for free. Software that I need to install could work, a web tool could work. Heck, I could probably take a HTML page template and edit it, assuming there were good instructions for dummies like me. Any thoughts?


(Markus Neuberger) #2

What about skeleton? Seems to be a simple and responsive template.
You just need little HTML knowledge. You may use some editor from wordpress or joomla and copy/paste the source code too.


(Rob Bosch) #3

I think the idea for a custom landing page could be a great community initiative. There must be plenty of members that do know how to code HTML. See it like some kind of template for the landing page.
I can imagine that members start editing the landing page and make it available for other members to use.
I found a website that can generate landing pages. https://instapage.com/blog/html-landing-page-generator I don’t know what the costs will be eventually. But for creating 1 page you have a 14 day testperiod for free. I can imagine there must be several websites like this. Not to mention the hundreds of websites that offer free or paid HTML templates.
We can create a separate section in the wiki for those custom landing pages. And if we give a bit of guidance how to replace the original page with a custom page, this could be a very nice feature.


(Dan) #4

Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll have to check them both out further. @robb, do you know if it’s possible to download the raw and complete HTML from Instapage once you’re done? Because from the demo on that page, it looks like it wants to publish your page to Wordpress/Drupal/Facebook/etc.

Edit: I actually already have Dokuwiki, Wordpress, and Joomla! installed–the former two from the Neth modules, the latter from source. If it were easy to set up any of these with a multisite configuration, that would do the trick–but it looks like the way to do it with Joomla! involves paid extensions, while the modules for the other two don’t support that configuration. It would be really slick, though probably really difficult to implement, to have the virtual hosts configuration in the server manager directly configure the relevant multisite implementations.

Edit 2: I was able to do what I needed using skeleton. It’s pretty basic, but then, I really don’t need bells and whistles for this. The “little HTML knowledge” it requires is more than I had, but I was able to muddle through it to get a page put up with the information I wanted. I’ll see about adding some color and such later.


(Rob Bosch) #5

I just tested if it is possible to download from instapage: ‘Update Your Plan To Unlock This Feature’ So, no not with a free trial.
Maybe it’s better to have a look at the many free HTML template websites around.


(Dan) #6

So, as I noted above, I’ve settled on using skeleton, at least for now–it gives enough styling that my hack-ish hand-coded HTML looks decent, is readable, is reasonably responsive for mobile use.

Another possibility I found is PicoCMS. It’s a CMS, so in that regard rather like WordPress/Joomla/etc., but much lighter-weight. If I wanted to do more than a couple of text-based pages, I’d be leaning this way, I think.


(Marc) #7

skeleton or PicoCMS sound good. Haven’t used myself but other options are Grav, Hugo or Jekyll.

Grav has an admin interface but requires a higher php version than the CentOS default. The other two static site generators require some CLI foo.


(Dan) #8

PHP-SCL to the rescue!


(Michael Kicks) #9

IMO there are two major cases:

  1. simple page with “links” useful to the enviroment (public or lan)
  2. website

Case 2 should be managed as most webservers… Apache is there, be kind and make it manage from a skilled webmaster (supported by the sysadmin). Also, add CMS or Weblog platform could be a double edged knife on a multifunctional server (adding overhead and vulnerabilities). If specific webapps are needed, they have to be installed separately (for instance, Webtop or Sogo)
Case 1… find a smooth and simple visual webeditor with a little of CSS support, design your page, upload the data, have fun. Adding a framework IMVHO could be a little overhead…


(Dan) #10

Do you know of such an animal that’s available for free? On the overhead issue, Skeleton uses about 20 KB of .css, so I’m not too concerned with that.


(Markus Neuberger) #11

I used kompozer some time ago.

EDIT: But it’s too old (2010).

Maybe you have more luck here:


(Michael Kicks) #12

SeaMonkey composer? Or scratchpad.io.