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Old 07-24-2005, 05:50 PM   #1
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As I feel the need to broaden my horizons and exercise my brain a bit, I am beginning the process of trying to learn web development. I am not sure where I am going with this, but I am very interested in the subject matter. (I already have a good career in accounting/finance and so do not have near term career ambitions for web design...but we shall see). I am starting at the bottom, from scratch. I am also starting with some of the free tutorial resources I have found so far on the web. I will see how it goes with those.

With that in mind, does anybody out there work or at least dabble in this field? It seems a lot of the people on this site seem to know a fair amount about this area. If so, if you have any good recommendations on websites to check out that will help my learning, it would be greatly appreciated. Also, let me know what your educational background is...did you take formal classes in college or are you self taught? Just curious as to whether I would be better off signing up for some classes at a local Tech school or college - versus going a self-taught/web based learning path. Your opinions are greatly appreciated

(p.s. Tony - I have no ambitions to design/develop a competing travel website - PROMISE!!)
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Old 07-25-2005, 12:53 AM   #2
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Well, first off, the field is technically split into two. There's Web Design, which comprises front-end aesthetic design and coding (i.e. HTML, Javascript, CSS, Flash, perhaps some interfaces to CGI, PHP, etc.) and then there's Web Development, which is usually the back-end - that'd be writing web-based applications in languages like PHP, VB, various database-driven stuff, etc.

I'm primarily on the design side, but since I work for a database company and our web site uses our own solutions, I have to dabble a bit on the development side, as well. I went the self-taught route, because in this arena, by the time you're done with a class, the specs oftentimes will have changed... all these technologies are kind of a living entity since they're so nascent, that it's good to just grow and learn along with them.

I used to always refer to Webmonkey, but they're long gone now... Not sure of a good resource for beginners, but just about any beginning HTML book can get you a foundation for web design.

Once you get the basics down, there's an amazing free resource called A List Apart that covers all SORTS of issues and provides tons of how-tos.

I also very highly recommend the book Eric Myer on CSS to get into good, standards-based coding - that is, if you end up going the front-end route. If you want to go back-end, put your programmer's cap on and delve into developer.com and the whole O'Reilly series of books on the various languages.
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Old 07-25-2005, 03:44 AM   #3
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webmonkey is still around.
http://webmonkey.wired.com/webmonkey/

I started writing html using that site. I use a mix of dreamweaver and hand coding these days. if you want to play with some scripts, hotscripts.com is the place.
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Old 07-25-2005, 06:47 AM   #4
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I'm with Omi on this one. I've been slowly getting into the field too and have decided to go the self-taught route as well. The web is absolutely brilliant as to what it has available!!! And you can customize what you want to learn as well, move at the pace you'd like. But you have to be dilligent!!!!

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Old 07-25-2005, 07:38 AM   #5
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Personally I reccommend PHP for the behind-the-scenes part of it. You can find a lot of good books and free tutorials on the web. Also, http://www.phpclasses.org/ has a lot of useful (ready to go) pieces of code.
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Old 07-25-2005, 08:03 AM   #6
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I learnt meself how to do it. I learnt html code but I didn't get to deep into it, I know enough to get me by using frontpage 2003. I don't see any point atall in handcoding these days it's a waste of time. I use photoshop aswell and that can make a huge difference in the look of your site, it's usually obvious when someones working off clipart and templates.

The best way to learn is to do it with tutorials or just come up with a website yourself and just start making it (start off simple and work into the more complicated stuff) you'll come across problems and learn how to fix them. Just reading up does no good for me, by the time I've gotten to the end of the book I've forgotten the begining.

It's not hard, there's no need to know how to make a forum like this for example because there's so many free version out there. That's what you'll learn when making a website yourself alot of the works already been done for you if you look around all you need to know is how to put it all together.
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Old 07-25-2005, 09:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
I don't see any point atall in handcoding these days it's a waste of time.
Purely hand coding is becoming a forgotten art, and rightfully so, but knowing the HTML, CSS, and scripting variants well enough to tweak them by hand is very important. Reason being, WYSIWYG editors (especially Frontpage, a little less so GoLive) add all sorts of inefficient, crap code that cause incompatibilities amongst browsers. Even the best of them in terms of keeping the code clean, Dreamweaver, isn't as clean as it used to be ever since Macromedia bought Allaire and lost focus of its products... Anyway, I digress. What I'm trying to say is that while you can design a whiz-bang site without knowing a lick of code, the more underlying stuff you know, the better you can do.

The reason this stuff is big is that as the browser market is finally becoming diversified again, it's important that the stuff you design professionally is as compatible as possible across as many browsers and platforms are out there. It was a little easier when IE became the dominant browser, but I'd rather work a little harder on my stuff to support an environment with more competition (and in turn, better products from everyone) and better adherence to web design standards.

For more on standards, check out the World Wide Web Consortium at http://www.w3c.org
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Old 07-25-2005, 01:27 PM   #8
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I used to be heavily into Flash, then moved to CSS, then PHP/mySQL...i just keep changing my mind about what kinda development I like. But regardless, my favorite site of all is Kirupa.com It's got great tutorials, but even better than that, killer message boards. Always get good prompt responses, tons of help and feedback, reminds me a bit of here actually. Definitely check it out.

-Mbo108

P.S. I think I use the same handle on there as well...
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Old 07-25-2005, 06:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by omisan@Jul 25 2005, 12:58 PM
Quote:
I don't see any point atall in handcoding these days it's a waste of time.
Purely hand coding is becoming a forgotten art, and rightfully so, but knowing the HTML, CSS, and scripting variants well enough to tweak them by hand is very important. Reason being, WYSIWYG editors (especially Frontpage, a little less so GoLive) add all sorts of inefficient, crap code that cause incompatibilities amongst browsers. Even the best of them in terms of keeping the code clean, Dreamweaver, isn't as clean as it used to be ever since Macromedia bought Allaire and lost focus of its products... Anyway, I digress. What I'm trying to say is that while you can design a whiz-bang site without knowing a lick of code, the more underlying stuff you know, the better you can do.

The reason this stuff is big is that as the browser market is finally becoming diversified again, it's important that the stuff you design professionally is as compatible as possible across as many browsers and platforms are out there. It was a little easier when IE became the dominant browser, but I'd rather work a little harder on my stuff to support an environment with more competition (and in turn, better products from everyone) and better adherence to web design standards.

For more on standards, check out the World Wide Web Consortium at http://www.w3c.org
learning html is very important. people who only use wysiwyg editors (especially frontpage, bleh!) aren't very good designers and are very limited to what they can do.
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Old 07-25-2005, 06:23 PM   #10
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Thanks for the tips everyone. Some of those recommended sites look great!
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Old 07-26-2005, 03:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
people who only use wysiwyg editors (especially frontpage, bleh!) aren't very good designers and are very limited to what they can do.
Are you calling me stupid.
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Old 07-26-2005, 10:58 AM   #12
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No, he's saying you aren't a very good designer, and you are limited in what you can do.

You should kick his ass
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Old 08-08-2005, 12:59 PM   #13
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Booo to FrontPage.... It is a dirty dirty word.... From now on refered to as the F******** word. heheh. Nah seriously if you want quality go with Dreamweaver MX
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Old 08-08-2005, 06:39 PM   #14
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It seems your sentiments are generally shared with much of the pro "community" out there, based on all my research. However, based on reviews I have seen of Frontpage 2003...a lot of the crap that people didn't like...extraneous tags (or non-conforming tags), etc has been greatly improved upon. In any event, it does seem DW is the gold standard, so if/when I decide to learn one......it will be that one. (Unless someone wants to talk me out of that...??) I am still working on the basics right now...basic HTML and CSS. Have to walk before you can crawl.
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Old 08-09-2005, 06:49 AM   #15
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FP 2003 is a big improvment on FP 2002. I just didn't like the way dreamweaver worked or the layout for a longterm microsoft user FP is very easy to use. There's a heap of new features in 2003 that are really easy to use as well.
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:08 AM   #16
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Dreamweaver 8 is coming out soon.. woohoo! Now that Adobe's buying Macromedia, DW will have a little better support for using files out of Photoshop and Illustrator... and better CSS/XML support to boot. w00t!
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Old 08-09-2005, 10:42 AM   #17
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Whoa... it's like a whole other language and subculture in here. I am not ashamed at all (well, okay, maybe a little) to admit that I have absolutely zero knowledge about web development. Eventually I should probably try to change that.
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Old 08-10-2005, 01:16 PM   #18
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CSS... Hell yeah... Learn that shit inside and out.... And learns some server side script like Cold Fusion If you ever decide to throw up a big site and are gonna maintain it that shit is golden.
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Old 08-11-2005, 04:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
to admit that I have absolutely zero knowledge about web development
You say that like it's a bad thing, I only have 10% knowlage and it gets me by. But then people ask you questions on how to do stuff and I of course haven't a clue but to protect my pride I make things up that always turn out to be fatal.
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Old 08-11-2005, 02:11 PM   #20
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I would say get a copy of Dreamweaver - it rocks and can produce very professional looking pages.
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