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Which Site Coding Is Best to Learn

question about coding

     
1:42 pm on Jun 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hello all. Im new to the board here. Somewhere around fifteen or so years ago I decided to build some sites, so I learned HTML . I was self taught, just started learning from what I found online and asking a lot of questions on boards and forums. I got pretty good and could bang out a decent site in pretty much no time, but after a few years I got bored with it, never did figure out how to make it pay, life took some turns, yada yada... Recently Ive been thinking about delving back into building. But to me, it appears that HTML is no longer used much. What are webmasters using these days? Back then, considering the mobile aspect of things was only just beginning to matter to a site builder. I just dont want to re-learn everything I knew, spend months getting back into it, building what I think looks great... only to find out it cant compete . What do I need to learn?
2:04 pm on June 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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But to me, it appears that HTML is no longer used much.

I was gone for a while, did things change so radically? What makes you think that HTML is no longer used? I am curious... No hard feeling, just teasing.
3:01 pm on June 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hi acain and welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com]

HTML is still growing, if you haven't been building anything for years you might have missed a lot. If you learned years ago you are probably familiar with HTML 4 versions or maybe XHTML, but most sites today are building with HTML5 which is bigger, better and much more adaptable. The changes in CSS and HTML are what made responsive (mobile and desktop views) easier. No special learning needed once you catch up on those changes.

SEO has changed a lot to say the least, so you might want to start looking at those changes before setting up a new site with those outdated ideas that used to work so well.

If you never figured out how to make it pay, there are even fewer GRQ options today. No fast track to the top.

If you have lots of reading time, there are lots of helpful archived HTML topics in the HTML Library [webmasterworld.com] going back to the olden days.

4:32 pm on June 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In addition to what was said above about HTML5 and CSS:

You will likely be using PHP in today's CMS driven web. So it's good to get a good understanding of how it works. Once you understand the concepts of how it works, you should be able to modify existing templates and code in order to make it perform efficiently, with the minimal amount of third party plugins and mods, which tend to slow down a site.

Good luck!
;)

Roger Montti
5:49 pm on June 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks folks. I learned on basic HTML. No XHTML, version 4, no CSS SQL, pearl... I was afraid HTML was like everything else from that era. Outdated and replaced with something more technical and advanced.
6:33 pm on June 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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But to me, it appears that HTML is no longer used much.
Huh what? Look up the source of any web page anywhere. This one, say. Thatís html. The only thing that has changed--for some people--is how that html is generated.

CSS existed 15 years ago. If you havenít already learned it, get cracking. But donít abandon your hand-rolled HTML.

Youíll find it a great convenience to incorporate bits of PHP, starting with things like navigation that are repeated across all pages. One of the attractive features of PHP is that it has a very shallow learning curve. You donít have to learn a whole lot before you can do anything at all; you can learn three words of PHP and just use those three words until you are ready to learn a 4th and a 5th word.
8:58 pm on June 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The only thing that has changed--for some people--is how that html is generated.

"CSS existed 15 years ago. If you havenít already learned it, get cracking. But donít abandon your hand-rolled HTML.

Youíll find it a great convenience to incorporate bits of PHP, starting with things like navigation that are repeated across all pages. One of the attractive features of PHP is that it has a very shallow learning curve. You donít have to learn a whole lot before you can do anything at all; you can learn three words of PHP and just use those three words until you are ready to learn a 4th and a 5th word."

Thank you. Exactly what I wanted to know. And good to know too. Because it sounds achievable to me. I think I had frightened myself into believing I could never catch up on all the new stuff.
9:16 pm on June 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I couldn't code php to save my life, but I use it here and there to keep pages up to date, include menus and footers. Some sites are coded (in HTML) relying mainly on javascript to deliver parts of their content. It helps to understand what it does, how it works without taking a full course.

The changes in HTML over the past years are not monumental, they mostly simplify building pages. CSS is what you need for appearance. No more tables for layout and padding="2" for spacing.

BTW - if you'll visit the Welcome link I posted earlier, you can find out all the details about posting with formatting to
quote others.


10:04 am on June 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Current code knowledge is sufficient to get back to work. Your SSI (includes) will still work. Perl still works. PHP is the "easy" side of what Perl still does. CSS is your new concept... and ditching tables for layout, if that is what you did in the past.

Reminder, there's only on H1 on a page. do not use the h series for text formatting, we are solidly into a semantically correct web these days. That said, you can h1 inside SECTIONS and CAPTIONS if you really feel the need, but then again, those are new HTML properties, so catching up with the differences between 4 and 5 is essential.

Get to work! Once you get started so much will be very familiar and I think you will like much of the improvements which have been made. Most of it is commonsense.

Be not afraid, and be a busy coder! Have Fun! ... Have a go.

Don't expect to get rich, that part of the web has changed, and not necessarily for the better. We have forums that discuss that aspect .. but read those during daylight hours, else you might have nightmares at night. :)
10:32 am on June 23, 2018 (gmt 0)

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CSS is an absolute must. This is what controls presentation (how things look.) HTML is the content.

We are in the Mobile-First Index [webmasterworld.com] now, meaning your site is ranked on the mobile version (instead of the desktop version) due to mobile being used more nowadays.

So design your site for Mobile first [webmasterworld.com] then put in the code & extra stuff that will also make it display well for desktop:
2:23 pm on June 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thank you everyone for your answers and your support. And, by the way, for making me feel welcome here. So many boards out there full of arrogance and shall we say, less than polite folk. Already I'm beginning to get the itch to build something.
6:18 pm on June 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So many boards out there full of arrogance and shall we say, less than polite folk.
Oh, donít worry. We too can be as nasty as all getout when the occasion warrants it.
7:20 pm on June 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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HTML is far from dead. HTML (combined with CSS) is what generates just about every page out there. I think the confusion is not understanding the difference between a markup language and a scripting language. Let's say you build a page using nothing more than HTML. It will work just fine until you want to read a value from a database and insert that into your webpage. You may choose to use a scripting language such as PHP to achieve this, but this will be almost invisible to the end user. The page will still render like a normal page and when viewing page source it will be entirely HTML.

HTML is the building block of a page, PHP could be thought of as the builder. It places the blocks.

Mack.
8:46 pm on June 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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HTML is the building block of a page, PHP could be thought of as the builder.
Similarly, CSS means ďuse grey bricks for this wallĒ, while in-HTML styling means ďpaint each brick grey as you put it in placeĒ.
1:53 am on June 26, 2018 (gmt 0)

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HTML is the skeleton. CSS is the flesh. Scripting (of any kind) is the heartbeat.

Your site needs will dictate how much of any of the above is required (other than the fact that HTML is ESSENTIAL and you go from there).

Content lives in HTML. HTML can be hand coded, or generated (think CMS options). CSS makes it LOOK like you want it do with a few lines of code in an inserted file without having to place that styling INLINE on each page. Makes a bid difference compared to what was standard 15 years ago. Result is cleaner code.

Scripting can be server level or page inserted, but do know that some users deny all scripts and still expect to see your content. Confusing, but that's the way things are.

HTML 4 displays just fine. HTML 5 is where you want to be as there are many new features worth the effort.

Best way to learn is OJT (on the job training), so dive in and get coding! When you run into a problem, just ask. We are here to answer those questions (just provide sample code so we can see what you are attempting to do).
1:34 pm on July 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Wow. The more I research the more excited I am. I see now that nothing really has been totally CHANGED, just ADDED TO. It seems a bit daunting in that when I learned basic html I basically memorized all the tags and what not inside of a few months and it really seemed quite simple... whereas it appears that with html 5 there's soooo much more to remember.
But .. things are starting to click ..
5:12 pm on July 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In the past you hand rolled your own site. The presentation/pretty stuff was integrated into the content stuff. Redo the pretty stuff and you basically need to redo your whole site.

What has changed is that the presentation and content are now separate, using something called a CMS Content Management System. The content is now housed in a database. Surprisingly you need not know much about this database, as it is usually all done for you. Security, such as IDs and passwords, are now already taken care of. You can now choose from a wide variety of themes that control the presentation stuff. From there you modify the theme with php and CSS. For both theme modification as well as content you still need to know HTML.

The newer way of putting a web site together is much faster and more reliable. Index pages are done for you. The choices for presentation are numerous. That is not to say all the work is done for you. You still need to design the site layout, do the content, take care of SEO, and protect your site from bots trying to break in.

I usually recommend people try Wordpress for a start, at [wordpress.org...] You can try your own test site at [wordpress.com...] with their 5 minute install. There are lots of other choices, but WP is very easy for a beginner to use. You need not know HTML. From this stepping stone you can learn more, slowly, and move on to more complex tasks.


[edited by: not2easy at 5:38 pm (utc) on Jul 6, 2018]
[edit reason] fixed broken links [/edit]

5:35 pm on July 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I agree that WP is very simple to use but before beginning, I'd suggest a lot of reading. Because it is also simple to build in problems that need correcting later. Changes in things like permalinks is not very simple. OK, it is simple to do, it is not simple to make it work as you'd like.

Also I'd mention that because WP is used by millions of beginners, it is a target for hacks and malicious bots. Set up properly, it is a great tool, a few mistakes and you may wish you'd hand coded it all. I'd spend a day or more reading through our WordPress Forum [webmasterworld.com] where you'll find links to important learning - such as the WP codex [codex.wordpress.org] You'll need more than a day at the codex to understand how the parts fit together. They do explain everything in easy to read terms but it is a lot of stuff to absorb.

Learn how to research WP plugins too. Plugins are helpful tools to make things easier, but they are not magic. They share all the core data of your site so you want to know who/what is included.
6:41 pm on July 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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As an alternative to a CMS such as Wordpress there are static site generators, or SSG. These sites use a database for storing your content. In a true CMS your web page is dynamically created on demand from the request.

The SSG generates all the flat individual HTML files all at the same time. This is done by the site owner at their convenience. Once the files are generated there is no further connection to the database. These individual web pages are then uploaded to the server, just the same as your roll-your-own site of yore. There is also no issues with getting your site hacked, as you simply regenerate the web pages and re-upload.

SSGs are technically more complex and require you to know HTML and preferably CSS. SSGs do have themes, which are a great starting point. There is more to go wrong, but they are much less hack-prone. I have successfully used Grav [getgrav.org...] in the past.
7:10 pm on July 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've relied on SSGs for small niche pages. I've been using 4w's WebMerge which can be ftp integrated to upload on creation and can create a full set of category, product and detail pages, depending on how you set it up. You build your own templates so they really can turn out unique pages. Coolest thing is to click "Go" and watch it process your instructions to create thousands of pages in maybe 3 seconds. Bad feature - when the pages are done I use multi-file find/replace to remove the <table lines that it insists on. Maybe in the next version...
7:56 pm on July 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The SSG generates all the flat individual HTML files all at the same time.

I started with this. I had no idea it was something. I just rolled my own in Python, I built millions of pages. It has its advantages, like it is simple and fast. But there are far more disadvantages, like the fact that any errors are propagated across all the pages, so any correction require you to recreate all the affected pages, which can be time consuming and annoying.

Now I created my own CMS in Python.

A point I think that needs to be added is that, sure not much has changed in the past 5 years in terms of basic webpages. So WP will get you pretty far in that regard, specially for a beginner only wanting to create a basic blog. Knowing HTML, CSS and some PHP is also recommended. The biggest innovations have come in terms of web-app, progressive web-apps and with mobile the blurring of the lines that delineate web-page vs apps. I feel that moving forward it is becoming essential to have a good understanding javascript and some of the libraries and frameworks such as React and Angular.
11:08 pm on July 6, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What one chooses is more closely related to what your work ethic and the site content dictate. A template, framework, cms ... each has plus and minus factors ... but which one will work best with how YOU work is the one you should use.

Ecommerce does not work the same way as info. :)
7:20 am on Sept 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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HTML is still growing, if you haven't been building anything for years you might have missed a lot. If you learned years ago you are probably familiar with HTML 4 versions or maybe XHTML.
Also I'd mention that because WP is used by millions of beginners, it is a target for hacks and malicious bots. so If you Are a beginner You Can Use WP.
7:43 am on Sept 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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WP is a hoot and works okay for the toe-testers to see if the water is cold or hot. And for many it does what they need. Other than the fact the WP is a scammer/scraper magnet that has to be security updated almost daily, it works fine.

MEANWHILE, when you roll your own you know EXACTLY what the exposure is (or should!) and are not reliant on third party code/framwork which can introduce so many nasties.

Old school coding (ie. Do It Yourself) remains very actionable for both newbies and those returning, or those who want to push the envelope.

All of it works, the fun is finding what part of the "all" is YOUR bread and butter.
9:05 am on Sept 22, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There are a wide range of options available before you to decide upon the language for coding. Some of them are PHP, .net, JAVA. There are many others too. But these three are widely acceptable, browser compatible, and can be used to develop any website.