Let me begin by saying that I'm not sure if this fits in this category, so any advice / correction from a mod would be much appreciated!
My name is Richard, and I am a Computer Science Major at DePauw University. I also manage a small, 6-person web design company, Refined Sites (Not intended to be spam, relevant to post).
I will be working on an Independent Study project next semester, and my advisor would like to come up with an idea relevant to web design. I was hoping that I could give a brief outline of my idea here, and that you all could help me refine the concept before I write the petition.
My idea, put simply, is this: Create a PHP application that would allow someone with no CMS or web design experience to create a potentially stunning website by simply filling out a form.
This concept stems from the reason that I started my business: to allow non-profits and small-businesses to have a web-presence without paying large sums of money for it. My team and I develop websites for local non-profits for less than $400 per site, and it is having a huge impact on our community. We're selling more sites than we can keep up with, and it's made me realize that the need for this type of work is greater than we can currently supply, even though I'm training new designers as fast as I possibly can.
My very rough, unrefined Independent Study idea is as follows: I would develop a PHP application that could be uploaded to a server. It would then go through the "installation process" which will prompt the user for the following information:
- Database Username and Password (with a built-in screen cast for how to retrieve that information)
- The contact information for the organization
- A prompt to ask how many pages the user would like to have
- A title field and content field for however many pages the user indicated
The application would then install and configure Joomla, automatically delete Joomla's installation folder, and then populate the database with the information that they provided. Finally, it would configure Joomla's database so that the menu options would reflect each of the pages that they provided content for, with the inclusion of a contact page. The site's template would also be one that I create specifically for this project (with a small link to the project homepage), and it would be automatically assigned as default.
Then, if the user was so inclined, they would use the links and documents provided in the downloaded file to learn the basics of Joomla so that they can expand upon their website when they have time. They'll at least have a basic site with the ability to be expanded and improved upon at any time.
As I mentioned, this is a very rough plan, and I know that this won't create a high-quality product. I just need to have a basic plan to take to the petitioning committee to show them that I've put thought into this idea, and that the concept is unique.
I was hoping that some of you might be willing to help point out possible issues that I might run into, or ideas for how I can make this basic plan a bit better?
I've seen many forums where noobs like me get torn apart, so I hope you'll be gentle. I certainly don't claim to be an expert on anything, and I will be the first person to say that I know very little about PHP and MySQL, aside from navigation and basic reading. This is why I'm looking to work with it as an Independent Study -- it'll give me reason and motive to learn quickly. My Joomla knowledge is all self taught through 4 years of fumbling and many rounds of trial and error.
Thank you for your time and any support you're willing to offer!