Need Web Development Personal 'Curriculum' Suggestions

  • juanantoniod
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Hello Everyone,

I am new here, and I would like to ask for your help in deciding what I should learn, and in what order, in order to become a proficient Web master. I have already taken a Lynda.com course in HTML/XHTML [version 1.0] and, although I entered the code correctly, Internet Explorer 9 failed to render it properly. [I know that it was correct because Google Chrome had no issues with it.] Nonetheless, I was quite dejected to find that this new language that I had learned was not acceptable to what I believe, is probably the most popular browser. I would like to know your suggestions on what I should study next, either in the Lynda.com library, or elsewhere and so on after that.

The things that I am considering learning are Dreamweaver, DOM programs like Drupal, CSS Scripting, SEO, perhaps Weebly, and anything else that is deemed necessary to become a master of this craft.

To give you a little background about myself, I work on Microsoft Windows PCs, and I know a little Photoshop, Lightroom, and Acrobat. I am also proficient at Microsoft Word and Excel. I have a background in printed graphic arts (Marketing Communications), so I understand visual design principles such as page layout and typography. Recently, I have completed digital image courses at Lynda.com to understand digital photography, digital asset management, and managing color during the printing process.

If you would be so kind as to present me with a list of the topics that you suggest I learn, and in what order, I would be most grateful. They can be Lynda.com topics, or not, as long as their is some resource, preferably video, on the Web, that I can access for learning.

Thanks for your help!
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • WritingBadCode
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juanantoniod wrote:
I have already taken a Lynda(.)com course in HTML/XHTML [version 1.0] and, although I entered the code correctly, Internet Explorer 9 failed to render it properly. [I know that it was correct because Google Chrome had no issues with it.]


Correct according to who?

Next time IE may be the one that renders it "correctly" but Chrome don't. Correct code should render OK in ALL the browsers you want to support - if it don't I wouldn't consider the code "correct" and personally I would be looking for an alternative code or try to make a tiny change.

Browsers do not render homepages the same, firefox 2 may render your page different from version 3 or 4. People will browse your site using all sorts of browsers and screen settings its a reality that isn't going away.

You can chose to support a browser or not. Personally when I find out that something renders wrong in the few browsers I test for I try to locate what it is that the browser can't render and then I try to find a solution.


juanantoniod wrote:
The things that I am considering learning are Dreamweaver, DOM programs like Drupal, CSS Scripting, SEO, perhaps Weebly, and anything else that is deemed necessary to become a master of this craft.


What exactly do you want to be able to do when you say that you want to become a: "master of this craft"?

I think you should set up your own path, there is many different technologies that you can use to make a homepage. There is usually more than one way to tackle a problem. Out of those you listed there is one I think you should learn first however but its your chose what you want to learn and in what order. Personally I would take a look at CSS if I where in your shoes and just learnt HTML/XHTML, Just because its so common and pretty straight forward I think all web-developers have at least some knowledge at CSS.
  • juanantoniod
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks, WBC, for the valuable input. I definitely hear what you are saying but, unfortunately I was just using demonstration exercise files that I had entered into Notepad++ while following along with the instructor in XHTML/HTML [1.0]. I did not have the wherewithal, nor the capability to figure out why IE 9 would not render the code. I just opened it with Chrome, and it looked like it was supposed to.

I guess what I'm not getting is why there would be so many different browser formats that are incompatible, even at such a basic level. It just seems to me like you would want your software, the browser, to either be able to open files with all types of code in them, much like Open Office word processor can open Microsoft Word documents and other file types. _OR_ agree on a standard, like PDF, where everything is rendered to an exact specification _every time, the same way_, so that browser incompability would not be an issue.

I witnessed the desktop publishing revolution, and in the beginning the 2 camps, Mac and Microsoft would not work together. Then along came Postscript and some type standards, and everyone started agreeing on standard Adobe file types. Although, it did take a while, it just boggles my mind that the Web is in the state that it is in.

As for my role, I wish to be a Web developer on the client side. Much like a magazine editor brings together photos, consults with a graphics or layout person, and writes some copy for the magazine. That is what I want to do with Web design and development.

I have had some introduction to CSS, so I will continue on that path and learn more of that. What about the other topics that I mentioned, Dreamweaver, Drupal, SEO, Weebly? Which ones of these should I also prioritize into my learning queue, or is there something else that you would suggest.

Take good care,
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I would focus on HTML and CSS until you have a good understanding of the language, and how to make your coding cross-browser compatible. A major skill you will have to learn is to make your markup look the same on all browsers. Unfortunately all browsers do not treat everything the same way, so even though your code is working right in one browser, it might not in a different browser. By learning and trying out first hand is how you learn to make everything look identical in all the browsers. I think I would focus on that for awhile until you have it down good.

You might pick yourself up a few books too, typically books will go into much more detail than video, but video tutorials are a great supplement to helping you learn in my opinion. You may want to dive into some JavaScript as well once you have HTML and CSS down good.
  • WritingBadCode
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Post 3+ Months Ago

juanantoniod wrote:
As for my role, I wish to be a Web developer on the client side. Much like a magazine editor brings together photos, consults with a graphics or layout person, and writes some copy for the magazine. That is what I want to do with Web design and development.

I have had some introduction to CSS, so I will continue on that path and learn more of that. What about the other topics that I mentioned, Dreamweaver, Drupal, SEO, Weebly? Which ones of these should I also prioritize into my learning queue, or is there something else that you would suggest.


I personally wouldn't put that much focus on Dreamweaver, Drupal, SEO or Weebly unless I had a good understanding of CSS and is able to use "boxes" to place content where I want it and change fonts, colors and more!

But there is nothing wrong with being curious and having a quick look just to see what those stuff you mentioned are all about. Perhaps that will give a good image on what you need to study more to get the most out of the tools mentioned.

SEO is fun to read about IMO, you might read some about it, but it probably won't make your homepages that much prettier. Drupal is one very popular content management system. Some others are Joomla and WordPress. They let you do things quite easily and there are a lot of inbuilt functionality and themes available to get a good looking homepage up and running in "no time". But lets say you like a drupal theme but want to make some tweaks to it then CSS knowledge is handy. If you want to make really advanced tweaks then knowledge about other stuff is needed as well.

Weebly and Dreamweaver can (possibly) help you create sites faster but you need good knowlege in HTML + CSS and whatever more your using to get the most out of these tools. If you need some really advanced placements or effects then you must look beyond drag-and-drop solutions and good knowledge in CSS (and probably some other language such as Javascript/Jquery) will probably be the way to go. Also if the code that gets created is rendered wrong in some browser then it's up to you to find out why. To do that you should have understanding of the core.
  • juanantoniod
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks for the very helpful input!
  • Zealous
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What ever happened to just reading, i dedicated my younger years reading every piece of paper i could find on the internet on many networks which is why computers are soo natural to me today but everything i learn was either by trail and error and reading for days on end.

So a solid month of reading like read this entire site, yes i know no one reads no more but that is why they don't study either. just build 10 web sites in HTML and some photoshop if possible to make it look clean but just build 10 projects offline and each one do a different layout and get a good 75 done at least so you have a feel for it. the more you touch the code the more questions that you will find which is most cases can be found is google and when it is not post up here.

i can not suggest anything better then jump in with both feet and just try and pour your heart into it. if you really want to learn you will pick it up in no time, once you find your style you will be fine.
  • juanantoniod
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks Zealout!

I really appreciate what you are saying, as I am a 'dive right in' kind of person, and, in the past, I would have read everything I could about a topic that I was interested in.

However, part of the reason I posted here is because I was looking for what direction to go into, because there are so many different 'styles' of Web pages. From HTML 1.1 to HTML 5, including Flash, Java, and Joomla. I just did not know where to start. Also, I was looking for topics that I could view *video* tutorials for on the Lynda.com site, as I have found their computer based training to be quite helpful. And she has almost anything technology related that you can think of.

As well, I am suffering a bit of cognitive deficit due to my diabetes, so I can no longer read and retain information that I have read. Video seems to be my best way of learning at this point. So, I understand and am grateful for your input, but these are the reasons I posted my question.

Thanks, and have a great day!

~Antonio
  • Zealous
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Which is fine but you know that reading would imprint the data better on your brain then watching a video as long as you understand what your reading. Now with any research you have to figure out the levels of skill which your trying to figure out.

Where could you start? well most developers will tell you start with HTML which is nice and simple from there you would figure out i need better gfx so you get photoshop out and play around with that.

HTML and gfx is the first layer of basic learning.

So you got some sites working and looking half descent but you want to add login managment and stuff like that well that is when you need PHP and MYSQL and this point is like a few months of working with HTML so you have a feel for code and layouts.

Pick up a php book and start writing some simple CMS management systems aka a php site where you can login and view the main content that is password protected.

by the time you get to this point you should of a fair idea where to take it from there but like anything you need to start from the bottom and work your way up. Jump a step and your going to loose interest very quickly as you miss stuff in between.

build 50 full sites in HTML
then you can start with PHP
at that point you can choose your field to use this skills with something else like flash and java
  • juanantoniod
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Zealous,

Thanks so much for the follow-up! Your outline and guide to what I should learn makes perfect sense; I appreciate it very much.

Take good care,
  • Zealous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

np at all, just the basics that i figured out at first. just start simple and work your way up. there is no other way to do it.

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