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Need help with basic beginner questions.

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone who posted on an earlier thread and gave me the idea to venture out on my own and try web designing!

I was wondering if I can get recommendations on books to start learning how to code with HTML,CSS,Flash (possibly PHP if you guys think its worth it). Which one to learn first and when is it safe to move on to learning the next.

I own the following books, but they may be outdated?


I head Head First is a good series, but could use advice.

Also I currently have hosting with Cablevision with there boost package. I was looking for faster internet (for downloading) and the web hosting package came included. Could someone tell me if this is a decent package or if I should invest some money and go with a hosting site.

http://www.optimum.com/order/boost/features.jsp

All advice is much appreciated!!
post #2 of 26
PHP is always worth it! Dynamic content = good content.

To learn programming, you need to immerse yourself in it, and books are horrible when it comes to a hand-on approach. I can read books all day long and find that I have gained nothing. On the flip-side, if you can program something and see your mistakes live on a testing site or something, it will help you correct yourself. Check our W3School, that helped me a lot. W3School not only covers HTML, but it covers PHP, XML, CSS, etc... I personally use it quite often if I try launching a new program (Wordpress, Drupal, etc...), and I don't recognize functions in PHP.

There is a free hosting for one month coupon available for Hostgator.com, however, I dont know what it is off the top of my head, that's an excellent host; use them too. Do you own any TLD's? Because you will need one to use a major hosting provider. Hope this helps, and welcome to programming!

-ChunkII123
post #3 of 26
I'd recommend the books published by A Book Apart on web design, these ones I've read and they are fantastic:

HTML5 for Web Designers
CSS3 for Web Designers

And a little more advanced, but:

The Elements of Content Strategy

Hope that helps some
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post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chunkII123 View Post
PHP is always worth it! Dynamic content = good content.

To learn programming, you need to immerse yourself in it, and books are horrible when it comes to a hand-on approach. I can read books all day long and find that I have gained nothing. On the flip-side, if you can program something and see your mistakes live on a testing site or something, it will help you correct yourself. Check our W3School, that helped me a lot. W3School not only covers HTML, but it covers PHP, XML, CSS, etc... I personally use it quite often if I try launching a new program (Wordpress, Drupal, etc...), and I don't recognize functions in PHP.

There is a free hosting for one month coupon available for Hostgator.com, however, I dont know what it is off the top of my head, that's an excellent host; use them too. Do you own any TLD's? Because you will need one to use a major hosting provider. Hope this helps, and welcome to programming!

-ChunkII123
Thanks for the advice! Few Questions tho...

Did you by any chance look at the hosting back that I linked? If it was any good at all? Whats a TLD? And finally what did you mean by PHP is always worth it?

Those were the books I have.. That are about 10years old.. They still relevant or just paper weights?
post #5 of 26
TLD = Top Level Domain, basically you'll need a domain(URL) to point to whatever hosting you choose. How much would you be spending on the new package? You can usually get basic hosting for under $5 a month, there's probably free ones also but I don't know any off the top of my head.

If you just want to play around, you can always install Xampp on your machine, it basically acts as a server so you can run PHP locally.(You don't need anything to view HTML/CSS/Javascript besides your browser)

Those books are definitely paper weights. The HTML book probably shows table layouts (bad), the PHP book references old versions of PHP, the MySQL may be ok for SQL since that hasn't changed much.

Learn HTML/CSS first, you want to understand how pages are coded first, before you start adding PHP and dynamic stuff.
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post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
I wouldnt mind spending 5-6 a month and locking in for a year, if you think the one I got for free from cablevision is worthless. I mean atm space and bandwidth means little since traffic isnt an issue and I down Ill have 12bg on there.. But the control panel blows and is a pain to use.. I was basically uploading everything through an ftp..

I love how you knew the HTML book had tables.. They dont have those in new books? I figured I would start out on HTML and CSS and then move to PHP like you said.. Get a book or use w3school?
post #7 of 26
Take it from me. If you are serious about web design you also need tom pickup books on proper layout and design. Nothing says good design like a quality looking site. Learn how to use photoshop well. Do not learn to code in dreamweaver but use notepad++. I would start off simple and in fact. Would suggest learning HTML 4.0 and CSS 2.0. The fact is large corporations are still not able to view HTML 5 100% yet. Some great books are the oreiley's collection books. I would start off with HTML/CSS and move into JavaScript and jQuery. When you fee you have mastered those, move onto php and SQL. You could always try to learn wordpress or moo la down the road. I am a more hands on type of reader so look for books with lots of tutorials and code. The best way to learn it is try the code out on a computer. The head first are not that bad but sometimes they can go in really weird directions. Some good books I use a lot as a reference books are the visual quick start. Also remember not just one book will do it. I find if I read several books on a topic I can usually feel really well with coding after I've gone through about 5 books.
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post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by graphicsman View Post
Take it from me.

Are you employed or self-employed (reasons below)?

If you are serious about web design you also need tom pickup books on proper layout and design. Nothing says good design like a quality looking site. Learn how to use photoshop well.

All solid advice.

Do not learn to code in dreamweaver but use notepad++. I would start off simple and in fact.

This is the reason I asked the question above. Why would you tell him not to use Dreamweaver? Do you work for a major corporation or higher education? I work for a University catering to tens of thousands of students and tens of thousands of faculty and we use Dreamweaver, as does each department. Contrary to the computer elitists beliefs, there's nothing wrong with Dreamweaver.

Would suggest learning HTML 4.0 and CSS 2.0. The fact is large corporations are still not able to view HTML 5 100% yet. Some great books are the oreiley's collection books. I would start off with HTML/CSS and move into JavaScript and jQuery. When you fee you have mastered those, move onto php and SQL. You could always try to learn wordpress or moo la down the road.

All solid advice except learning HTML 4.0 (IMO). We have transitioned over to using HTML 5 for a variety of reasons, including nice degradation for older browsers. Plus, using the HTML 5 doctype allows you to use mobile-specific CSS (by setting the viewing area under a specific width; in our case, 800px) rather than designing a separate website (for instance: http://mysite.com/mobile/) for the mobile handhelds.

I am a more hands on type of reader so look for books with lots of tutorials and code. The best way to learn it is try the code out on a computer. The head first are not that bad but sometimes they can go in really weird directions. Some good books I use a lot as a reference books are the visual quick start. Also remember not just one book will do it. I find if I read several books on a topic I can usually feel really well with coding after I've gone through about 5 books.

Personal experience; cool. My advice would be to just go out and test, test, test! I learned a great deal of HTML/CSS within two weeks (to the point where I went from not knowing a thing of HTML to developing GOOD web sites) simply by working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. So, you gain experience as you go along and it's VERY UNLIKELY I have to reference any HTML/CSS snippets unless it's something I'm completely unfamiliar about (such as mobile metatags, for instance).
Nice advice!
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post #9 of 26
I'm sorry but you are wrong about dreamweaver. It causes lazy habits and in no way helps an new developer/coder in the field. It is a great tool when you have learned the code and can code by memory.

Edit:
Plus large corporations are still using older browser such as IE 7 and I have seen some problems with CSS 3.0 and HTML 5 viewing.

And yes I am employed and do regular freelance.
Edited by graphicsman - 8/9/11 at 8:58pm
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post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by graphicsman View Post
I'm sorry but you are wrong about dreamweaver. It causes lazy habits and in no way helps an new developer/coder in the field. It is a great tool when you have learned the code and can code by memory.
Once again, I ask are you employed or self-employed? I doubt your employer would be cool with you deciding to go against the employers standard tools. I've asked to run Linux and use Aptana Studio, but that's not something they want to have to support.
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