Where to start?

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by GotMyOrangeCrus, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. GotMyOrangeCrus macrumors regular

    Hey guys. I have been interested in making a website for my photography for a very long time. Ill be honest I have very high computer skills, very low computer programming skills. In other words I am very good with computers, am very quick at picking up new software yet have basically no programming knowledge under my belt. Now I am fully aware that I can get some apps like Rapidweaver that have themes already made up and you just basically insert what you want where you want. I am not interested in these apps. I really want to learn from the ground up how to create really nice websites. That way I have full control over the design. Besides its something I have always wanted to learn and I am willing to put in the time and effort to learn in.

    My question to everyone here is where should I start out and what application should I use. Should I start out by learning HTML, CSS, Flash? Also if you have any tips I would certainly appreciate it. I know I am making this much harder than it has to be however as I already stated this is something I have wanted to learn for a long time, I want a website that is really high quality and not something that looks like everyone else's which is exactly what ill get using a theme and I am in my off season for photography which means I have the time to put towards this right now. So I know that I am taking the hard way and am 100% ok with that. I just really dont know where to start and I really want to learn this properly.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
  2. themoonisdown09 macrumors 601


    Nov 19, 2007
    Georgia, USA
    There's a good website called W3Schools that is really helpful for learning this. I suggest you start by learning basic HTML and CSS. Once you've learned enough to make a good website, then you can start learning Flash to add some animation to your website.
  3. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    I recommend hitting the stickies in this forum. Lots of good resources there. Implementing something high quality won't come quickly, there's lots to learn, but stick with it and you might make it. You'll want a solid foundation in HTML and CSS. Then start on JavaScript and PHP then into MySQL.

    I also recommend subscribing to some RSS feeds from web design/development sites (e.g., A List Apart (ALA), Smashing Magazine, Monday By Noon, Boxes and Arrows). They provide information that you may not think to look for, which is always helpful.

    Don't worry about Flash right now. Get going on the easier stuff for now and get familiar with how others use and view Flash so you know when and where it should be used. There's lots of aspects to learn. You can learn how to hand code or to use WYSIWYG editors. You'll learn more by hand coding, but possibly make more progress with a visual editor. It's a trade-off. The field of web design and development is very large and growing quickly still. Before you get a complete handle on things, other parts will have changed on you. Find aspects that you really like and focus on them for a while. Don't try to take on everything from the start. Every journey has a first step, or some cheesy saying like that.
  4. TodVader macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2005
    Quebec, Canada
    Since no one mentioned software, I'll recommend Coda if you are on a Mac. If you really want to learn how to program, this app is perfect. It has auto-complete for multiple languages and is an all in one editor, previewer and FTP client. I love its interface and work 100% with it. It's also very cheap at around 60-80 I think.

    I suggest you learn XHTML (or HTML), CSS and some basic PHP like include to save allot of time in the HTML stages. Then, learn some scripting with PHP & Javascript. HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP with MySQL all fit well together to make great websites that are nice looking and secure.

    Also, W3school, like mentioned above, is the most complete and understandable place to learn any web language.
  5. memco macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2008
    W3school is ok, but it's basic, and not all of the info on there should be put to use. I recommend http://sitepoint.com. Not only do they have good articles showing solid ways to build pages, but they have a large community of web developers as well. A List Apart as was mentioned has some good articles as well, but I haven't found much use for the site outside of their css articles.

    As to applications, get MAMP. This lets you run a fully configured web server locally which will be a cheaper way to experiment than buying hosting. Also, coda is nice, but also look at TextMate, BBEdit, or one of my favorites: Smultron (it's free and has a lot of features that other paid apps have).

    My recommendation for a course of study would be this:
    Start with w3schools, MAMP and smultron. Learn how to create basic HTML pages, and learn how to add CSS. Then, move on to ALA and sitepoint to learn how to properly use what you've learned. Stay connected here or on SP so you have people to help answer questions, and don't be afraid to experiment. When you've got a handle on HTML and CSS, then look at Javascript. It's up to you if you want to really grapple with JS, it's powerful, but it is more like a programming language, and for photo galleries and general use, you should easily be able to find a pre-existing library to handle everything you'd want to accomplish with JS. From here, consider branching out to Flash and/or PHP. Flash is graphically rich, but I'd caution that it's also proprietary and inaccessible for some people. PHP is a back-end language that will help make things like templating, administration etc., easier.

    Mix well, cover, refridgerate, let stand for 24hrs, and serve up some excellent websites.
  6. EmperorDarius macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2009
    You know, you don't really need to know some coding language to make a good website. Nowadays there are a lot of good WYSWYG website creators that can help you, starting with iWeb and continuing like free ones like Kompozer to commercial ones like DreamWeaver. Of course, it depends on what you do, however it's very easy to just make a website using WYSWYG and then, if you need some script for some specific function, then just google it! It's incredibly easy to find that kind of information nowadays.:)
  7. GotMyOrangeCrus thread starter macrumors regular

    Thanks guys for the comments, I really appreciate them. It seems that everyone is basically in agreement that I start with getting an HTML and CSS understanding. Sounds like good advice and I will definitely check out the sites you guys recommended. If I have any future questions ill be sure to ask. I am sure this will keep my busy for awhile.

    Again I understand that I am taking the hard way and that there are much easier ways to getting a website up and running however as I also stated this is something I have always wanted to do so by learning the hard way I am basically fulfilling two things that I want instead of just the one and I am really in no hurry to get my site up. This website is not something I am doing to help me get a job or anything like that. I am self employed and that isnt going to change anytime soon, at least I sure hope not. The website is just something I have always wanted so you can scratch it up as a personal project more than a business project although it certainly wont hurt business wise to have a great website.

    I am actually going to borders later tonight with my wife so ill pick up a beginners book on HTML and CSS and ill definitely check out the sites you guys mentioned. I also just purchased and downloaded Coda so I now have the software installed and ready to go. If anyone can think of anything else that will help or any other sites that might help I would definitely appreciate additional posts. This is obviously a long term project so ill keep you guys informed on my progress and if I have any questions I know where to go.
  8. eleven2brett macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2008
    Pixelpost.org is a really good photoblog utility. It might give you a place to put your work as you work on a more permanent space.

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