Seeking Personal Web Education Suggestions

  • Sheepdip
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Greetings. I am in a unique role at my workplace. I am the "webmaster," but I have no formal web training and only a little knowledge of web creation technologies, languages, etc.

I am in this role because I have a great general knowledge of many types of technology, and a pretty decent grasp on what-is-what on the web front. (jack-of-all tech trades, of sorts) I am responsible for researching new web tech, finding sources for implementation of such technologies, and then managing the project to its finish. In the future, I plan to (initially) do some basic web undates/changes, and then work up to site design, layouts, authoring, etc.

I am finishing my bachelors degree this semester (celebrating my 10th year of non-traditional student-hood!) and am finishing up with an HTML/DHTML class (my one and only web class). I would like to begin investing in training or self-paced education in other web technologies/languages that may serve me well in my role and would like your suggestions.

I do not want "check out flash - it's cool as heck" type of responses, rather I would prefer responses like, "Education in XML would be a must because __(reason1)__(reason 2)__etc.__." Any resource, class, software referrals would also be welcomed.

Thanks to all who use this forum. I really learn a lot from your perspectives and suggestions and I look forward to reading what you suggest. :D

Note: I hope that this post is not unacceptable or abusive of the Ozzu forums. If it is, or would be better located in another place, please delete it or move it as needed. It could be qualified loosely as "development feedback" but not in the sense of what this sub-forum was probably intended for. ;)
  • Anonymous
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • neksus
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Post 3+ Months Ago

IMO you should learn PHP. it used to be the quick and dirty web application language, but now its far surpassed many peoples expectations of it at first. its better than ASP (because its not microsoft!!), and all-in-all its a very simple language; but that doesn't mean it isn't powerful. once you have that, you can begin working with databases using PHP to access MySQL, a database system that can basically store anything you want to store! lots of sites use CMS (content management systems), and I wouldn't be surprised if most of them were php/mysql combod. once you set it up, you can write pages so all you have to do is type in what you want, and it will appear on the site instantaneously! but seriously, pick up php :D
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'll let Macromedia speak for themselves :)
http://www.macromedia.com/software/webp ... /brz_tour/
http://www.macromedia.com/software/flas ... pro/video/
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Sheepdip wrote:
I would like to begin investing in training or self-paced education in other web technologies/languages that may serve me well in my role and would like your suggestions.


I think you should invest some time in learning the .NET environment and C#. I think the reasons are obvious. This will likely be a minority view for this forum.
  • Mas Sehguh
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Post 3+ Months Ago

You may be interested in reading the actual HTML and CSS specifications. This way, you will have a clear idea of what standard HTML and CSS actually are. They are rather lengthy, so I suggest bookmarking these links for later. You will find a lot of sections that you can and should skip.
http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/
http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/

Don't bother learning XML until you have something to actually do with the meta-language.

Read about usability in Web design, if that is not part of your course already. You seem on the right track already, based on your first post - - writing reveals a lot. Some interesting and readable documents about usability on the Web are Jakob Neilson's alertboxes, such as this interesting one: http://useit.com/alertbox/20040830.html . Often useful are the ones titled "top ten mistakes in web design," and other lists of ten items are good too.
  • neksus
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Post 3+ Months Ago

ah! dont read the w3c things! you'll go insane! rather, i suggest you keep taking projects on, or keep pushing yourself, think of something you would like the achieve, then learn to do it. first hand knowledge is always better :D
  • Sheepdip
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Thanks to everyone for excellent advice. I have a lot to think about and a lot more to learn. :) It is exciting learning though. I am already retaining a ton about development, and am surprising myself at the amount that I no longer need to lookup. Ok, let's keep this in perspective... I'm remembering how to make text a hyperlink and how to link to anchor text (even on different pages! Whoa - lookout!). I have a long way to go, but the experience has been a lot of fun. :)

As people already in the industry, how many tools do each of you carry in your "bag of tricks?" I do not believe that anyone ever "arrives" in terms of becoming a master of all-things-web, but what makes you employable? I know that this answer will differ from person to person, but it would give me some perspective on where to set my own goals.

p.s. Even before this post I'd been researching some about the W3 -- Whoa... that is some interesting and laborious reading! :) I'll keep at it as I have the time. :)
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Sheepdip wrote:
...but what makes you employable?


I subscribe to the evolutionary precept that specialists die, adapters survive.

:D
  • gsv2com
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I recommend learning the semantics of html. Html can be daunting at first, but it's easy once you know what everything means. Learn the semantics before design even. Lay out a page where every tag of code has it's purpose AND THEN learn css. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) will help you keep presentation outside of actual markup--making html a thousand times easier to learn and master.

After that, I'd recommend PHP. Out here in Japan, everybody still seems to be stuck on Perl and Java, but for the scale of projects you (and most of us) will be working on, PHP is the tool to go with.

After that, you'll want to learn SQL. Whichever server-side database you decide to go with is up to you. I'd recommend learning MySQL--personally--as there is a ton of good documentation on the web. I've used both MySQL and PostgreSQL, and while I've had success with both MySQL has proven itself to be a lot more friendly to the programmer. :)

In your case, I wouldn't even bother learning Flash. Since you're doing this for a corporate purpose, you should move on from the aforementioned topics into more challenging topics like search engine visibility, building for the handicapped (and stupid people), writing effective web copy, etc.

Good luck. If you need more help, hit us up anytime.

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