Absolute beginner looking for basic advice...

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Gumbercules, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. Gumbercules macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2009
    Hello all,

    I have decided to take a year out of work to lean how to make web sites, but am at the moment particularly uncertain as to how I should be going about it.

    At the end of university I bought the CS5 master collection (because of the discount), and so I have all of the programs that the package affords, but am really looking for information as to:

    1) which programs are best to start with, and

    2) what are the best tutorial books to get to teach me them...any recommendations?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.:)
  2. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    I'd hit up the stickies in this forum. They're there for just this reason, to get you started.
  3. rickiac macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2007
    Here are some sites I use:
    Photoshopuser.com (Photoshop membership site, tuts updated every fri, subscription required)
    Kelbytraining.com (paid online training, books, etc..)
    tv.adobe.com (tuts for all Adobe programs, see show "Taming the Web" for Dreamweaver)
    revsion3.com show: Pixel Perfect (for Photoshop, shows are no longer made but tuts are great!)
    I use Google reader subscribe to
    delicious.com tags hmtl, css, etc... (you should also bookmark/read the sites these post link too)

    Hope this help to get you started. :p
  4. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    learn how to hand-code HTML and CSS. Don't fall for any WYSIWYG schemes.

    I recently bought Coda and love it! But many text editors and FTP clients will do.
  5. carlosbutler macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2008
    London City
    In my opinion best route is:

    Learn basic syntax, and how mark up languages work.

    Learn HTML, Dreamweaver is very helpful in that respect as whenever you open an element '<' a pop up comes up giving you suggestions. DO NOT USE WYSIWYG editors. Something like iWeb is good for its purpose, but very restrictive and not that practical for large sites. Create basic sites that incorporate no special fonts or anything, just use tables. Make sure you understand how it all works, don't assume you understand.

    Learn CSS, and understand why it is important to use CSS and move to div tags which allow much more flexibility.

    Throughout any tutorial sites you may have come across the term JavaScript. Might want to have a look at that, but more importantly look at a server-side language like PHP or MS C#.NET, good starting points although C# is a precompiled language and more advanced, might leave that until later.

    If you start of with PHP, learn what functions are, variables, and understand the usefulness of PHP and how many things can be created with non-static websites. Once you have messed around with PHP mathematics and calling session variables look at databases.

    SQL is a common DB language, more specifically look at MySQL (or MSSQL if you are doing ASP.NET based language).

    I hope this helps.
  6. eponym macrumors 6502

    Jul 2, 2010
    The type of sites you want to build (and your role) will somewhat determine what you learn and to what extent. And personally, you usually won't go wrong with an O'Reilly book (if/when you need one).

    Learn HTML/CSS first. Start with HTML—it's the easiest to learn, but also easy to use incorrectly and is the foundation of everything else you're doing. Learn about best practices and the semantic web. And learn to code it manually. I like working in DreamWeaver but I always stick to Source View. Books are probably unnecessary for this part.

    Then move on to using CSS to control the appearance. A book or two would help. I really like Dan Cederholm's stuff (from simplebits.com). And I recommend learning CSS via some personal projects. It's always better to figure out things in a context—build something!

    After that move on to Javascript and possibly a js-based library like jQuery.

    Once you're comfortable with those 3 things, you can then start learning something like PHP and a DB language like MySQL (I recommend downloading something like MAMP to get you PHP and MySQL in a simple package). But how far you take this step (if at all) is up to you and what type of work you want to do.
  7. Dal123 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2008
    www.w3schools.com is pretty good, I wouldn't recommend simon collison basic css book from apress, found it not to explain things well. The advanced css book is better from apress.
    I like a book to learn from, like others have said, try html first, css, I was looking at javascript last night on w3 don't understand any of it lol :eek:. Dreamweaver is handy for the drop down thing as mentioned previously. You don't need to master html or css or anything, as there's millions of css combinations, just get the gist of it and play around.
    I'm talking as if I know what I'm on about :p please ignore - you probably know ten times what I do :D. Have fun.
  8. nyzwerewolf macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2007
    Long Island, NY
    1) start out with learning HTML & CSS - at the same time, start learning graphic design for web.
    2) learn Javascript
    3) learn PHP & MYSQL or Visual Basic/C# & SQL for web to develop dynamic web sites.
    4) If you want to make graphic intense site, then learn Adobe Flash & Actionscript or Microsoft Silverlight.

    try to get some training from Kelby Training, Lynda.com, SitePoint (sitepoint makes some really nice books for newbies)
  9. DJBenE macrumors member

    Jul 9, 2010
    Rowland Heights, California
    +1 I second this. Being a professional web developer and programmer for the past seven years I definitely recommend learning by trial and error first and foremost, and a few books never hurts. I began everything with HTML. HTML is the basis of web documents and you absolutely need to understand 100% of everything involved with it to understand web development as a whole. If you slack off with learning HTML your future web empire will crumble and hurt because of it.
    Definitely get used to hand-coding HTML using a basic text editor. Try to avoid using a wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) text editor, or at least the preview feature. By using the trial and error technique you will drastically make your knowledge about the markup language extremely superior (compared to other methods of learning) because some errors and whatnot you will come across will derive from your misunderstandings of the markup language and its processes...and lacking understandings of HTTP for that matter as well.

    If you seriously have your mind set on becoming a web developer I recommend straying away from Mac's altogether and going PC (Linux, Windows, take your pick). PC's are far superior to Mac for web development.

    Hope this helps.

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