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Thread: Can you tell what type of software a site uses just by looking at it?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Default Can you tell what type of software a site uses just by looking at it?

    Can you identify the software used to design or run a site just by looking at the site? That may sound like a dumb question, but I'm just starting to learn about this stuff. I know some sites have info at the very bottom of the page that might mention the webmaster, web designer and/or software, but the site I'm interested in does not have any written information posted about the site itself. Any insight or info is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Carol

  2. #2
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    Apr 2007
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    Default

    Some software programs put info about the program in the < head > information so you can view the source code to see if anything's there. I know FrontPage used to do that but that doesn't mean people won't remove it. I think CoffeeCup does the same. It depends on the software. But unless you are familiar with the templates a particular software program uses, then I don't know how you would know. For example, Site Build It! sites often use the same templates so there are identifiable attributes of many SBI! sites.

    Also, it's important to note that a lot of sites are developed without software and they are hand coded.

  3. #3
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    Thanks very much for responding, Lisa. Ok, I'm showing just how little I know, but what do you mean by "the < head > information?" Where would I find that?

    The site has a banner on top w/animated graphics & text. A web designer who saw the site said that part was done in Flash. (He just viewed the site online, the way anyone could, he didn't have access to anything else.) Does Flash have a certain look to it? (like the identifiable attributes of common templates for Site Build It! in your example.) If part of a site is done in Flash, is it likely the whole site is Flash? Or is it common that someone might use other software for a site, then if they add animation, use flash for just that part?

    Thanks very much!

    Carol

  4. #4
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    Default Source

    In your web browser you can view the source code by clicking on the View menu and then view source or source.

  5. #5
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    An easy way to tell if a site was done in Flash is to right-click your mouse over the animation and you should see something like "Macromedia Flash" as an option.

    The entire site doesn't have to be done in Flash. A lot of people do their homepage with Flash for an intro and then you click through the "static" HTML site. But if you use Flash on your homepage or your entire site, I would highly recommend you give visitors an option to view it in HTML. Some people don't like Flash and I personally think it should be used sparingly. There are exceptions, but I usually don't like to see sites done entirely with Flash. Just my opinion.

    An example of a sites mixing it up would be many airline sites. They use a lot of static content for articles, but the route maps that show the destinations are often done in Flash. So you can definitely mix it up. Restaurant sites often use Flash for their menus.

    In order to find the < head > info you just right click your mouse and select "View Source" or "View Page Source" and you can view the very top of the page and you'll see the < head > tag. Right below that you often see details about what software was used in the meta section.

    If you use the Firefox browser, there's a plugin called Firebug and you can easily view a site's code. Once you learn more about web design you can identify code and see what was used to develop certain parts of a website. Also remember, many sites use a combination of scripts, software, etc. For example, you can use Dreamweaver to create most of your site, but you can use Flash or javascript to create certain elements on a page.

    It's just one of those things you pick up as you go along. There are a lot of tricks and tips when it comes to identifying what software/script was used. Some things you can tell by looking (I can usually spot Flash without viewing the code) and sometimes I have to use View Source to look at the code for clues. It just depends.

  6. #6
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    Default More trivia than important info I suspect...

    You can learn a lot by looking at the source code, but sometimes you can be misled as well. The program used to do the coding is one example.

    Most people do pages by copying bits and pieces from previous pages and the like. I have seen pages I know were written in one editor have a line in the head saying it was written by another. Obviously the head section, or a part of it, was copied from another page somewhere (very possibly to get the doctype written out or something, who knows).

    When people use templates they also import a lot of information and code. They also often add snippets of code or markup (navigation elements or whatever) coming from various sources. You may end up with a mix.
    Good Success!

    Website: Success With Money
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  7. #7
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    Default

    Yes I guess we can find out if its using wordpress bu looking at the comment form etc. Also you can find out if its using wordpress by typing this in your address bar http://sitename.com/wp-admin , when you do this a page shoul open showing the login form, then it uses wordpress.
    Here4mobile
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    person who loves to learn

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Default

    Thank you all for your very helpful replies. I was able to get quite a bit of info from trying the things you suggested.

    Lisa, I think you're right, only part of it's in flash (some graphics & animation) When I clicked view & page source I saw things like html and java mentioned a lot. I didn't design this site, but I'm doing marketing for the product they sell and if it's a bad site, I'll never make any money. I can drive people to the site all day long, but if it's bad enough no one will buy. I'm not really a web designer, (as you can probably tell) but I've always wanted to learn more about web design and this situation has forced me to start learning, if I want to be able to make a living!
    One of the main targets for the product they sell is Seniors 65+ yrs old. Up until last week the site consisted of a 3 and a 7 minute video and a spot where you can "register" for more info. And by register, I don't mean user name, email, password. I mean a 3 pg. form - that includes medical information. I felt it was a recipe for failure if the only way you can learn more from the site, is a choice of two things that require way too much of a commitment at that early stage of the sale - watch a video or fill out a long registration form. I also think those are 2 things someone with less computer experience (Seniors) are going to be less likely to feel comfortable trying. So, having no knowledge of web site building or design, I used Wix to create some samples of what I thought the owner should add to his site. He liked the ideas and had his web designer put the first set of changes on the site.
    So, it sounds like I should also be concerned about the use of flash on the existing site. If my 80 year old mother is any indication, there are probably seniors who don't have flash installed on their computers. I know my Mom gets very suspicious whenever her computer prompts her to download something. What do you guys think? Is it likely some of our potential customers are not able to view everything on the site as intended? They currently do not offer the option to view it in HTML, so it sounds like we should at least do that.

    Thanks again for all of your suggestions.

    Carol

  9. #9

    Default

    Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. I can pick out sites that run vBulletin, WordPress, phpBB, Drupal, etc. Mostly the widely used CMS's.

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