Beginning web designer, where should I get started beyond HTML/CSS?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by Rychy, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Rychy, Apr 16, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011

    Rychy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    #1
    Hey all,

    I'm a beginning web designer, I know XHTML/CSS and also learning HTML5/CSS3. I want to start learning to create dynamic websites and need to learn some new languages, and I'm wondering which ones I should start with... the things on my list are JavaScript, jQuery, and maybe PHP.

    Is this a good place to start? Some good book resources would be awesome as well!
     
  2. bpaluzzi macrumors 6502a

    bpaluzzi

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Those three will give you a great base to work from.

    php is a server-side scripting language, which allows you to do "heavy lifting", connect to databases, etc.

    javascript is a client-side scripting language, which allows you to programatically interact with the rendered page

    jQuery is a javascript library which bundles a lot of functions up into a cross-browser, easy-to-use package.

    I'd also add Smarty, which is a php templating system, which allows you to get a nice clean separation between your display logic and your business logic.

    PHP and JQuery both have fairly in-depth documentation on their sites, and w3schools has a decent javascript tutorial.

    http://www.php.net/tut.php
    http://docs.jquery.com/Tutorials:How_jQuery_Works
    http://www.w3schools.com/js/default.asp
    http://www.smarty.net/about_smarty
     
  3. laurim macrumors 68000

    laurim

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    #3
    Besides the coding, you should learn how to design good websites that are fast to load, easy to navigate, work in all browsers and devices, easy to maintain and good for search engines to catalog. Anyone can code, people in India will do it for $1/hr, but few can design a really good interface. Learn from the masters like Jeffrey Zeldman, http://www.zeldman.com/ and the others who write articles for http://www.alistapart.com/
     
  4. Rychy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    #4
    Thanks for resources! Got lots to learn.

    Yes, I agree. I've been taking some beginning web design classes and the teacher drills that in our heads constantly. Thanks for the links.
     
  5. CANEHDN macrumors 6502a

    CANEHDN

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Location:
    Eagle Mountain, UT
    #5
    Your list is a great start. If you master those things, you'll have some very valuable skills.

    Keep it up!!
     
  6. -pete- macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    #6
    I got my development job from learning PHP, once you start being able to hook into databases and write "real" functions (something that imo javascript isn't much good for) then you can do some really cool stuff :)
     
  7. laurim macrumors 68000

    laurim

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    #7
    I agree with this. I did web design work for years and never learned how to write javascript from scratch. I would find a script online that was close to what I wanted and knew enough about coding syntax in general to be able to modify it to fit my needs. I think making dynamic web pages that are easy to maintain is more important and php is an easy language to learn to accomplish this.
     
  8. Rychy, Apr 22, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2011

    Rychy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    #8
    Thanks! I sure hope so, I was looking at a monster of a Javascript book the other day... got a bit of a challenge ahead of me, but I have liked coding so far.


    Just out of curiosity I was looking at job listings for web development and most of them listed PHP as something they wanted people to know, so I figured it was something I should be learning. Thanks for confirming that!
     
  9. Mooey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    #9
    Week 1: Read Python; familiarize self with scripting language semantics/syntax
    Week 2-4: Learn PHP; obviously begin with what you learned from Python and build from there. Start to look at object-oriented PHP materials.
    Week 5: Begin SQL query writing; queries aren't so difficult if you know your PHP material well. The better at coding you are, the better your query writing will be.

    Eventually, you'll want to get into content management systems and MVC frameworks - this, outside of object oriented programming, is the biggest mountain to climb, but it is well worth it in the long run as all of your hard work will pay off. These two things will take a long time to learn so don't fret if you don't understand it all from the very beginning.

    Also, like someone else said, make sure your design is consistent across different browsers. Since you are learning, you're probably looking at a lot of divs and what not. Divs are nifty, but browsers don't agree with them 90% of the time. This means grabbing a copy of Windows, downloading Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, and 9 to make sure everything looks correct. This is one of every designer/developers biggest complaints and why Internet Explorer is hated beyond words.
     
  10. laurim macrumors 68000

    laurim

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota USA
    #10
    wtf is Python? Sorry, but I had never heard of it until now. Stick with the basics and what's most commonly used. Maybe I've been out of the game a couple years but I would learn Ajax before I learned python.
     
  11. room271 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    #11
    A brilliant set of PHP tutorials can be found here:

    http://devzone.zend.com/node/view/id/627

    Also, it may be worth your while becoming familiar with some of the major content-management systems out there if you have time (Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal - listed roughly in order of increasing complexity/power).
     
  12. -pete- macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    #12
    I don't really think that you need Python, it's nice to have another language but to be honest learning another language at an early stage can cause confusion and besides good PHP tutorials should teach you everything you need.

    I picked up "PHP with MySQL Essential Training' from lynda.com and found them an extremely useful starting point they begin with the raw basics and have you build a super simple CMS, you may have to go through the videos a couple of times to understand it but its well worth the effort.

    As for making your sites cross-browser... yes you should make sure that everything works in at least IE7, but IE6 is old and complies with so few standards that even youtube doesn't support it any more. Unless you'll be want to develop enterprise level sites then you can really just leave it alone.
     
  13. Rychy, Apr 30, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2011

    Rychy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Location:
    Washington
    #13
    We messed with Drupal for a little bit and honestly at the time I wasn't a huge fan, but I think part of it was because I don't know PHP. I do think it's worth getting to know though, so I'll be working with it more. Might check out Wordpress too since people seem to like it.

    Yeah, I already didn't like Internet Explorer, but since I've started web design... I wish I could pretend it didn't exist.
     

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