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New To Web Development Forum

Important things newbies need to know

 11:23 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

What should every developer know?

What are the most important principles, languages and fundamentals newbies should concentrate on?

XML, CGI, Perl
A basic understanding of SEO

Interested to hear your thoughts.



 11:31 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

Never change the name of your web-folders after Google has indexed the pages!!!


 11:32 pm on Jul 17, 2002 (gmt 0)

XHTML & CSS is a must, if not XHTML at least HTML, but there is no real reason for someone just starting out not to use XHTML. Why start with something thats been replaced?

Scripting languages are good but unless you understand HTML they are useless.

Usability is a very good thing to have but you get that after time, when you first start out you want the flashy stuff.

SEO?? Gawd I just learned what that was! I have been doing sites for year, never much perfessional work(maybe thats why?)


 9:46 am on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I also think XHTML and CSS are a must. XHTML isn't any harder than HTML. CSS is a wonderful thing and absolutely a must, it makes your life a *lot* easier!


 9:55 am on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think JavaScript should be a must too.


 10:00 am on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think a good yet obvious tip is to not learn anything until you actually *need* it.

I think for most web masters this would lead to a learning path something like this:

HTML -> Graphic design -> CSS -> JavaScript -> SEO -> Server-side stuff

Thats certainly how it went for me - whilst all the time picking up cross-browser compatability advice.


 10:15 am on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'd add in a basic understanding of domain names, hosting and DNS type stuff..


 12:16 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

stage one is learn the basics of project management...even if you are working on your own you need to work effectively

stage two is learn the basics of marketing

too many web designers and developers fail when it comes to one or both of those, and hence achieve very little despite wonderful design or programming skills

above all you have to see a web site from the POV of users not simply in terms of your own priorities


 12:58 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

SEO -> HTML -> Graphic design -> CSS -> JavaScript -> Server-side stuff

An understanding of SEO is helpful even before you buy a domain name - imho


 1:10 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

>An understanding of SEO is helpful even before you buy a domain name

...and then you are a SEO pro but don't have a site to optimise ;)

In fact, all at the same time would be best. As this is not possible, the order depends a lot on what your purpose is. Still, before you can market a product (or service or web site), you have to have it. So basic programming and graphics come first.

And you don't have to be a SEO genius to know that it would be better to have a domain that reflects your business.


 1:55 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

>And you don't have to be a SEO genius to know that it would be better to have a domain that reflects your business.

Unfortunately there is still the perceived perception out there that having a site built by your Aunties 12 year old grandson/granddaughter with the daomin name they decided on just because its "real kool" is the ticket to instant riches.

But then I guess we are talking about Newbies who understand that a great deal of study to be done before they become proficient.

Reading this thread has prompted be to give it a bit of thought, perhaps I can share my comclusions.

Over the years I have attended, and given, many business and personal development seminars, and, in particular, have heard many a lecture given on the Seven Areas of Life.

These days we are all to familiar with the concept of Mind, Body, Spirit, as promoted by various alternative lifetyle gatherings and exhibitions. These are but three of the seven, the others being Family, Finance, Self worth and Community.

However, it was not until I attended one particular seminar that the importance of these seven areas was really brought home to me when the speaker likened them to Seven Spokes of a wheel. He spoke about how much time and energy we spend on each "spoke" and about keeping them in balance; the premise being that if we spent too much time on one area to the detriment of another, then the spokes of the wheel would be uneven and the wheel would of course not turn.

Trying to divide Website Stuff into 7 categories is nigh impossible of course, but applying the above thoughts to the original question of this thread, we could possibly look at the following seven areas as being the important things to know. Thes are in no particular order and are also very much open to conjecture.

- Marketing & Advertising
- HTML & Client Side Code
- Server Side Code & Data Management
- Content, Content, Content
- Usability, Accessability, Information Architecture & Taxonomy
- Project Management & other Soft Skills (ie., Time Management, People Skills, Personality Recognition, and so on..)

Going back to the above mentioned seminar, after the speaker had finished his example of the wheel, his assistant got up and spoke about how much study we were putting into those seven areas. In particular she was talking about our reading habits, after all, we are where we are in life due to the decisions we make, the books we read, and the people with whom we associate. And thinking about it, I was reading more in the areas I was already comfortable in and less in the areas I was not comfortable in. She suggested we were actually diong the opposite of what we needed to do.

Again, applying this to the current thread, I am forced to think about how much study and practice I am doing in those seven areas of Website Stuff, and realise I probably need to do more in the areas I am not so good at. For example, I don't know Javascript very well. Perhaps it is time I learned some more.

Perhaps it is time I frequented various fora here that I don't read too often.

Perhaps I am just in over my head. ;)

Anyway, food for thought.



 5:59 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Personally, I get along just fine without any javascript.

SEO --> HTML --> CSS --> Marketing Psychology --> Usability --> Basic graphic design --> Information Architecture

Maybe for the future that PHP stuff ;)


 7:37 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

HTML -> Graphic design -> CSS -> JavaScript -> SEO -> Server-side stuff

I am at the point of -> Server side stuff. When talking about "server side stuff" what are the most important tools I can learn to make me more versatile amd marketable? There are so many different ways to go, ASP JSP PHP CFM XML SQL and so on ... What direction should someone like myself go?

Basically, what is the foundation of -> Server Side Stuff??

brotherhood of LAN

 8:24 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

All of the above x2.

Also, appreciate that other webmasters will know more than you, and even if you have a wealth of experience and "know it all", there is always someone else who will know something you do not....so learning is first and foremost.

Be prepared to accept that your site can be built in a better way, and as painstaking as it may be, enhancements are better in the long run. Think long-term.

Also, don't forget the value of working offline, using books and pen and paper. Things can become all so clear after ridding your mind of all the flashing ads, colourful tables and the like that bedazzle you as you learn.

So for me, the fundamental fundamental is to keep learning. But I guess that's just being general in regards to the whole idea of getting neck deep in web development ;)


 8:48 pm on Jul 18, 2002 (gmt 0)

Marketing Psychology

WEB Marketing Psychology (it has its nuances, that's why the print boys screw up so often. Personally, I class usability as a subcategory under this one.)

SEO (particularly keywords, see WEB Marketing Psychology)


basic graphic/photo manipulation

cgi (just how to find scripts and install them)
(these three are almost of equal importance to me, so I grouped them)




 3:22 am on Jul 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Backing up a bit, some basics.

1) Be Cautious - newbies need to know to be cautious about the newest thing, money making opportunities and so forth. When I was a newbie, I fell for the Don Lapre 900 number scam, lost $700, but learned my lesson. The newbie needs to understand there is no free lunch, no quick scheme and no one tells you how to make a million for a hundred bucks.

2) Don't use a debit card on the internet - debit cards are attached directly to a checking account. If there is fraud, why not let it be the banks money (with a credit card) instead of your own money (with a debit card) that's at risk.

3) Learn to design - Take a web class on web design before you learn HTML or any other langauge. Design is much more important and significant than code.

4) Don't buy domains from Network Solutions (Verisign) - There are hundreds of better registrars. Choose wisely and be happy.

5) Practice safe computing - Install a hardware firewall appliance to protect your home computer; Install and up-date anti-virus software; Program your spam filters to block all executable attachments; And backup, backup and backup.

6) Never, ever spam anyone - It might seem attractive to send out a newsletter to a hundred people who don't know you from Adam, but don't do it. And, of course, those 200-million email address CDroms are to be avoided at all costs.

7) Teach your kids about the dangers of the internet - If you have children this is a must. Tell them about the dangers of chat rooms and strangers. Inform them that things are not always what they seem. And watch everything they do while on the computer.

8) Use a domain name - When you set up your site, use a domain name instead of the URL provided by the web host. This way you can move your site without losing your search engine rankings, link exchanges and so forth.

9) Avoid giving out private information - Very few people need your address, almost no one needs your social security or drivers license numbers. Be careful giving out all information and only give it to trusted sources.

10) Use good spam filters - Buy an account from spamcop.net and use that email address for posting to the web. Never, ever use your own email address for these kinds of things. A Spamcop account is cheap and very useful, get one today.

11) Stay up-to-date - Visit boards like webmasterworld often to get more information about what's going on. Get on some security mailing lists to get the scoop on various threats (especially CERT). And always hunt for more knowledge.

That's my start on this list.
RIchard Lowe


 5:15 am on Jul 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey Richard, when does your class start? Sign me up! :)


 12:57 pm on Jul 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Me too! I'll sign up. Great post!!

Thanks for sharing,


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