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Where do I begin?

So much to learn!



6:07 pm on Jun 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I currently work from home as an affiliate marketer and have been very successful over the last year. Now that I have some free time, I would like to turn my attention to web design. I've had a lot of fun playing around with Dreamweaver, but I would like to start from the beginning and learn everything I need to know to design a fully functional website.

I considered taking university courses, but I think it would be cheaper and more time-efficient to watch the tutorials on a website since I don't need a degree, just knowledge.

My problem with the website is they have an extensive list of tutorials and I have no idea where to start.

Obviously I'm particularly interested in the Web Development section and imagine I should start with HTML, but what's next? ASP? PHP? Java? CSS? ColdFusion? Perl? In what order should I watch these, and are they all even necessary? And do I need to watch all these before I start the tutorials for Dreamweaver?

Can anyone recommend the order in which I should study these programs/languages?

Thanks a lot!

[edited by: jatar_k at 10:39 pm (utc) on June 21, 2008]

[edited by: engine at 8:04 am (utc) on June 23, 2008]
[edit reason] no urls thanks [/edit]


6:41 pm on Jun 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

you don't want to go learning the whole lot at once - that will mess your head up.
start at the beginning with just HTML and CSS, and get a static website up that looks okay.
then start adding your functionality in with Javascript & AJAX, and PHP(or ASP, you don't need both) & MySQL etc

it depends what you want to do though. if your site doesn't need a database, and you're not going to be 'remembering' any users on it, then you might be able to do away with PHP/ASP completely.


6:50 pm on Jun 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'll echo what londrum said, start with HTML and CSS, and as you start expanding more, you will find out what you need, and that may be your next path to look into.
For me, since I do database driven sites, it went from HTML to MySQL and PHP since I'm hosting on an Apache server.
Along with languages, you may want to get involved with Search Engine Optimization, and how Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft handle all the different elements of a site, such as the Meta tags, or Header elements, or the text to code ratio, how they handle redirects, and such...
It definately explodes very fast, so hold on, but my first recommendation is to bookmark WebmasterWorld and use us as a resource. It's been great for me so far and countless others....
Good luck Sevin..and keep coming back!


7:37 pm on Jun 21, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes, start with basic HTML. Then learn a little CSS.

Once you get a handle on that, try some JavaScript. Knowing JavaScript makes PHP a breeze.

Then incorporate some databases, and before you know it, your a nerd!


2:44 pm on Jun 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is very useful advice. I will need a database, so I think I'll watch some of the tutorials in this order: HTML, CSS, Javascript, AJAX, MySQL, PHP, although I imagine once I get started I'll begin to realize what I really want to know and amend this list a little. Plus I need to brush up on SEO.

That's a good idea about getting a static site up. I can use that to practice what I'm learning.

Thanks, everyone for the help and encouragement!


2:55 pm on Jun 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Are you a member at lynda? You won't be able to see all the videos if you aren't...besides, the best way to learn is to use actual code.

I suggest heading over to w3schools and copy/pasting/editing some code into your own files and learning how it works rather than watching videos. Hands on is better than watching.


6:23 am on Jun 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Beware that a lot of HTML tutorials are way out of date. With CSS now working well, there is no need to ever have a font or br tag in your code.

Make sure you mark up your content as headings, paragraphs, lists, tables and forms, and style those using CSS, not font tags. Don't space out content using line breaks, use the previously mentioned block elements instead.

*** then you might be able to do away with PHP/ASP completely. ***

PHP, or similar, is vital; even on a static site. Use PHP "includes" to include common headers, navigation and footers for starters. Move on to having some small dynamic features within the code. You'll very soon think of a number of time-saving features that you might need.


7:21 am on Jun 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member dreamcatcher is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

You have to be patient and appreciate that things take time to learn. As previously mentioned, learn the basics of HTML first. The good news is HTML is fairly easy to grasp. Its not like you`ll be going in at the deep end straight away. Once you are comfortable with that, move on to something else.

Get yourself a good colour coded text editor you are comfortable with. Preferably hand code everything to help understand how things work. It will get frustrating, but its fun once you see things coming together.

Find yourself a little project to work on. Maybe you know someone who has a website that needs a redesign. Ask them if you can re-design their site. Its easier to learn if you have something to accomplish.

Good luck.



8:00 am on Jun 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You should start with HTML and CSS, after then learn java script and ASP.Net or PHP. You can get more information about your query: www.w3schools.com


9:33 am on Jun 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

For HTML, all you really need to know is what needs to go in the page header (content-encoding, content-language, title tag, meta description, links to external CSS and JS files, etc) and what goes in the body (headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, forms, images, and links) as well as how and when to use div and span tags. That's the semantic markup - content marked up as to what it IS - catered for.

The visual side you do all in CSS these days. There are a lot of tutorials out there, as well as the official specifications, as well as bucketfuls of help on this forum.

While learning HTML and CSS you should also get your head round site structure, folder (with trailing "/" on end) and filename naming conventions (no spaces or underscores), usage of breadcrumb navigation, as well as usability and accessibility features.

As before, PHP will be handy for "include" files, which will save you a lot of work doing repetitive editing of pages, but I would also at that point make sure you learn all about using Mod_Rewrite features in .htaccess (assuming you use an Apache webserver) so that you can fix common problems like canonicalisation issues, as well as block hotlinkers, deny bad bots and scrapers, and have much more control over your site.

In fact, at this point you have to make a choice as to whether you go for Apache, PHP, mySQL, or you go the Microsoft route with IIS and ASP or dot-NET. I went the "free" route, with Apache, PHP, etc.

There IS a lot to learn, and you will never stop learning.