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MIDI_EVIL
Feb 24, 2006, 08:12 AM
... but i don't have a clue where to start.

I would like to be able to build nice simple websites with a professional look, for anyone from hobbyists to business clients.

Where do i start ?

Please excuse my newbie question, i understand how broad this question could be.

Thanks,

Rich.



jsw
Feb 24, 2006, 08:29 AM
One approach is to buy professional tools (Adobe GoLive, Dreamweaver, etc.) and a couple of books and go from there.

Another is to learn the basics (places like http://www.w3schools.com/ help), get some books, and write your own sites.

Or you could just get iLife '06 and play with it - it's not the best app out there (at all) but useful to see if it's really an interest.

Are you more of an artistic "this is my vision - just help me display it" type or a "I want to know the nuts and bolts of how it works" type?

CanadaRAM
Feb 24, 2006, 08:30 AM
You can either take training at a uni, college or trade school; or you can teach yourself with books and websites and practical experience.

IN either case the first 5 or 10 or 20 websites you make are going to be absolute $#!te, so practice on sites of your own, or makes sites for free for friends or family, then graduate to making sites for clubs, churches or non profit organizations who have no money to pay. Once you have developed some skill, and have some decent sites in your portfolio, then you can think of hanging out your shingle. Along with the 1000 other people in your immediate area who have had the same idea.

Whether you can make a living depends as much on your marketing skills as programming skills.

MIDI_EVIL
Feb 24, 2006, 08:54 AM
Thanks for the replies.

I'm definately the more artistic type, and would like to just have the freedom to build a website and display work for myself or other artists etc.

I also like the point CanadaRAM made about it being a competitive industry. It seems that every random Joe can build a website these days, i don't think i would seriously turn it into a career, it would be great for it to generate a little income.

Basically, i'm studying Video in University, and i'm worried about not being involved in it after i graduate. I'm definately the creative aspect of a film rather than technical. I want to learn something new that i can fall back on if theres no work after graduation.

Cheers guys,

Rich.

Josh
Feb 24, 2006, 09:19 AM
I'd start by downloading the free app called "MAMP" , which will install a set of web tools to help you manage the default Apache server that comes on your Mac.

With it, you will be able to easily start/stop your local (and private) Apache, MySQL, and PHP server.

All your sites will be stored in the 'htdocs' directory within the MAMP folder.

Then, as others have said, read books and practice, practice, practice.

My advice would be to avoid university courses on it. Why pay thousands of dollars to go through the same book you can buy on your own?

A degree is not important in this field - a portfolio is what matters. An employer will choose someone who has no degree and an outstanding portfolio over someone with a degree who's work is lackluster. In short: in this field, portfolios speak for themselves.

I'd suggest learning things in this order:

-HTML 4.0 --> easy transition to XHTML
-Then learn CSS. Your skill in CSS will make all the difference when it comes to stunning presentation.
-Graphics. Now that you know how to use CSS to the best of your abilities, practice graphics in Photoshop to give your CSS skills some real style.
-PHP. Static pages can look nice, but dynamic content is king.
-MySQL. MySQL is the icing on PHP's cake. This way you can store data in a database, retrieve it with PHP, and style it with CSS.

Avoid WYSIWYG editors! This is HUGE. Learn the proper code and learn to do it by hand. This will help you understand what is going on and give you absolute control over your site. Don't let a program code for you; it will only hold you back. Learn to type all your code by hand. TextWrangler (http://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/index.shtml) is an excellent (and free) editor perfect for websites and CSS. Please, if you ignore any advice, do not ignore this. I cannot stress just how important knowing how to code is. Seriously...please please please do not, ever, for any reason, use WYSIWYG editors. It is not difficult at all, and is much more helpful in the long run. It will be much harder for you to "unlearn" the terrible code generated by these foul programs than it will be for you to learn to code by hand. This is essential if you want to be good.

Sites you might want to check out, are the w3 schools (as mentioned above), http://www.csszengarden.com (they have an excellent book), and I HIGHLY reccomend Jeffrey Zeldman's book Designing with Web Standards (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735712018/ref=nosim/002-2770064-2176841?n=283155).

But above all: Practice, Practice, Practice!

The more things you try, the more you will learn. We never learning anything without first failing at it, so never get discouraged. With each mistake, you learn something. The practice process is always fun to me, and if you keep positive about, I think you will learn very fast and have a blast while doing it.

jsw
Feb 24, 2006, 09:20 AM
Rich - just because it's a competitive industry doesn't mean you can't thrive in it. I'm not a website developer (I write applications which use web technologies, but for products we sell). However, I am a web user - and I see many, many poorly designed sites. Just because anyone can go buy Dreamweaver or iWeb doesn't mean they can design. You'll stand out if you can do a good job of actually planning the site to make it usable and - hopefully - memorable and attractive.

You will likely need to invest in software unless you can do it by hand, and that doesn't sound like what you want to do. But those are just tools. Yes, your first attempts at using the tools will likely suck. And, yes, if you come up with something great, nearly anyone can steal it. But, if you are talented at design, you'll easily edge out all the Dreamweaver hacks out there.

dornoforpyros
Feb 24, 2006, 10:05 AM
You can either take training at a uni, college or trade school; or you can teach yourself with books and websites and practical experience.

IN either case the first 5 or 10 or 20 websites you make are going to be absolute $#!te, so practice on sites of your own, or makes sites for free for friends or family, then graduate to making sites for clubs, churches or non profit organizations who have no money to pay. Once you have developed some skill, and have some decent sites in your portfolio, then you can think of hanging out your shingle. Along with the 1000 other people in your immediate area who have had the same idea.

Whether you can make a living depends as much on your marketing skills as programming skills.

Ditto, not to discourage you, but getting into the industry is very much an uphill battle as web designers/developers are a dime a dozen these days.

soapyfish
Feb 25, 2006, 01:26 AM
You might want to have a look at a book called "Creating Web Sites: The Missing Manual". I picked up a copy a few days ago after realising I wasn't getting anywhere with wysiwyg editors and I am honestly surprised at the speed I have progressed. The best part is I've actually enjoyed it. Firing up textwrangler and trying out what I've learnt is ten times better than Halo 2. :)

YS2003
Feb 25, 2006, 05:48 PM
I am also learning various aspects of computer graphics/web designs. Now that I have CS2, MX2004, Alias Sketchbook, Painter IX, I have to learn to use them all so that I can use them to approach computer graphic/web design from different angles at the same time. I have bought several books from Amazon to learn those topics. I think the good training books tend to include some actual examples so that you can play with the actual files as you go through each chapter.

MIDI_EVIL
Feb 25, 2006, 06:20 PM
Thank you all for your thorough posts. I am really appreciative.

I will check out the missing manual, i think it's always best to start from scratch in at the deep end.

Rich.

desenso
Feb 26, 2006, 12:33 PM
Sites you might want to check out, are the w3 schools (as mentioned above), http://www.csszengarden.com (they have an excellent book), and I HIGHLY reccomend Jeffrey Zeldman's book Designing with Web Standards (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0735712018/ref=nosim/002-2770064-2176841?n=283155).


Zeldman's book is great. Personally, though, I prefer Dan Cederholm's book 'Web Standards Solutions' (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590593812/sr=8-1/qid=1140978605/ref=pd_bbs_1/102-6796331-2200145?%5Fencoding=UTF8). I feel like it has a better layout and flow than Zeldman's. Both are required reading, as far as I'm concerned.

A few other sites to check out: Simplebits (http://www.simplebits.com), A List Apart, (http://www.alistapart.com) Andy Budd (http://www.andybudd.com/), etc. There are so many. A lot of these guys are really at the forefront of web design. If anything, find inspiration in their work.

dornoforpyros
Feb 26, 2006, 12:41 PM
One thing I will say is the more skills you have at a working level the better. I know in the past I had some trouble finding work because all my work was web based and I didn't really have any print experience. Now I actually do more print then web work.
I haven't been looking for work at all but I imaging having a few extra things on your resume never hurts.

carltonomegaman
Jun 7, 2008, 03:30 PM
this will halp you help you out
http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=875597

roamy
Jun 7, 2008, 03:56 PM
a very easy fun to use program is "Create" from Stone Design . you can try it free. I have done quite a few static website and it is great.
If you want to move on the dynamic or database driven sites then you have to decide how involved you want to get. Unfortunately Apple screwed us good when they depreciated WebObject Builder and EOModeler. The replacement is Netbeans visual web.

I have no interest in manually coding everything a am a big supporter of visual tools that write code. I have no interest in sitting around writing HTML code in a text editor. So to each his own.

Also if you are ever going to design a website with a very active database you had better check on the ability of the programming language you use. A big majority of these site are written in Java.