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I have taken over the website at my work (a small non-profit) and we're going to be migrating the HTML-based site into Drupal. I also work a lot with Wordpress (and crappy plugins), and we're starting to desire some API development. A small problem with all of this is that no one on staff is a programmer. I got the website because I was the only one interested in learning how to make it better and generate online programs, but I only have some HTML knowledge and very, very little of CSS. PHP makes me tilt my head sideways and run for the hills.
In my defense, I'm very good at looking at an existing, working piece of code and comparing it to my crappy code and figuring it out that way. But that methodology, along with scouring the web for answers, is very inefficient and I don't really know what I'm doing.
So, I'm trying to figure out how to get better at this and learn the things I need to know. I'm a visual learner, which is why most programming scares the bajeezus out of me, like looking at Sanskrit. So I'm nervous.
Anyway, does anyone have any recommendations about the best way for me to proceed here, in a way that won't a) break the bank and b) be way over my head at the outset? I'm specifically looking for courses, books, websites, tutorials, support groups (who don't mind complete innocents), and the like. I'm in the Bay Area (California), Oakland/Berkeley area.
Many, many thanks in advance for your advice!
[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 5:24 pm (utc) on April 25, 2009]
[edit reason] URL specifics removed, please see sticky regarding ToS and Charter. Thanks! [/edit]
I managed to learn by trial and error, much like yourself by starting off with a plain HTML site and am ambition to develop my skills further to enhance the site (and have income from my work).
Nowadays, sure, there are plenty courses/books/curriculums that are designed to broaden your web development skills, but if you're truly ambitious and interested, you don't need them.
It depends on what you want the outcome to be and how much time you can invest.
Back in the day, people that got into 'webmastering' or 'SEO' perhaps had a history of working in IT or marketing, but many others learnt from scratch. Since the online world is so prominent nowadays, there's more of a market for the courses/books/curriculums but IMO your best just to jump in at the deep end and figure it out for yourself. Working with an existing piece of code is sound, no point in re-inventing the wheel, just figure out how it works for your own needs.
What is it you would like to do, longer-term? How do you see things panning out over the coming years.
I wouldn't worry about HTML/CSS/PHP and all the other acronyms used online, it's perhaps better to think of what you want to achieve and become aware of how each of these can help you achieve it.
[edited by: brotherhood_of_LAN at 8:50 pm (utc) on April 26, 2009]