Just out of curiosity

  slowhand_1000 17:52 16 Dec 03
Locked

Would there be a logical next step/progression after dipping a toe into html.

Maybe I am leaving myself open to be shot down by “you’ve put a site together and all of a sudden you know it all” response, but thankfully this does not seem that kind of forum. I know people say “don’t run before you can walk” but having dipped my toe into the water I have found it to be “quite addictive” to quote a certain member.

I have only put together a few sites, a friend’s site and my own which are online and two others pending and believe me I do not pretend to call myself a web designer or developer.

One part of me says just stick with html and go and learn as much as possible from websites and books etc. But when do you say, “I can master html”, when you can build a site without a WYSIWYG editor?

The other part of me says, go on have a look at other aspects of web building.

As I said I do not pretend to be anything I am not, it’s just that I often have quite a bit of spare time on my hands and would like to use it constructively.

Now if the majority of replies (if there are any) come back with “post again after 12 months” and I can't log back in, then I will fully understand and head off forthwith back to the kitchen. Joking apart though, it is something I have been meaning to ask for a while.

Cheers

  Taran 18:35 16 Dec 03

Learning HTML on its own is as good a foundation as it gets in web designing. It at least enables you to undertsnd how a WYSIWYG editor works in terms of output, and enables you to fix things when that output is not as intended or expected.

The natural progression from HTML is to XHTML and this will become more commonplace as time goes on.

CSS is useful to know, if you want to, but not necessarily essential. Ditto to JavaScript and DHTML, although if either of these interests you I'd plump for JavaScript out of the two.

The thing about HTML is that if you learn it properly, the same kind of syntax markup can be seen in lots of other lnaguages and learning another one after HTML becomes so much easier. For that reason alone, it's worth spending some time on.

It's always difficult to advise without knowing what it is you like.

If you like the idea of dynamic sites, online trading, e-commerce, databases and whatnot you could do worse than start looking into PHP and MySQL. If the idea of databases sends you running for the hills (as it does with most people) then this is obviously not the path for you.

What do you like about web designing so far, and how do you see yourself moving forward ?

It's important to select a topic that holds your attention if you can. Learning something you don't enjoy becomes a real chore.

Post back with a bit more and get some suggestions and alternatives in return, but my first response is that you should run all you like. If you fall down, get back up and start again. You always know where to come for help if things go wrong.

;o)

Regards

Taran

  Sir Radfordin 10:21 17 Dec 03

With many things if you have a strong understanding of the basics and the concepts involved then it makes everything much easier to get your head round.

You're right that having WYSIWYG editors does perhaps remove the need to know HTML, but it is very helpful to understand the underlying code. We've recently had a problem posted to this site where Dreamweaver does something odd with a bit of code - if people didn't understand the HTML behind it, then it could've taken ages to be fixed.

Once you have a strong understanding of HTML you can then build on that and decide which 'block' of knowledge you want to aquire - be it PHP, Javascript or CSS or something else! Having a project (real or not) can help in giving you something to aim for.

  Forum Editor 20:50 17 Dec 03

is certainly the word that I would use, and I can well understand your desire to take a further step into the wonderful world of web design.

You've had plenty of good advice from Taran and Sir Radfordin, and I wouldn't disagree with anything they've said, in fact I particularly agree with Sir Radfordin's advice that having a project is a real advantage. The best learning is always driven by the need to achieve, and I've always found that I'm far better motivated when I've got a client waiting, fingers tapping, for a project to go live. Having time on your hands can be a mixed blessing, and if I'm going to add anything to what's already been said it has to be that you should aim for a tangible result, rather than simply learning for learning's sake.

Don't venture where you are unlikely to go again - as Taran says. Stick to doing what interests you, and don't try to learn all about all aspects of web design, you won't succeed anyway, and you may find your enthusiasm being blunted by the sheer complexity of it all. Pick an area - maybe image handling, or form design, and learn it inside out, become a bit of a specialist. That will boost your confidence no end, and you'll move to the next area of expertise with the enthusiasm born of success.


Good luck, and don't forget to keep us posted (pun entirely intentional).

  barryoneoff.co.uk 00:26 18 Dec 03

seeing my forum help page on the internet than I did with my other two sites. The reason, it was the first time I had written a page using nothing but Notepad. It's not perfect by no means, but it is satisfying to know that I didn't sit there letting the program do it all for me. Weird, I know. Just wish I had more time to spennd doing it. click here

  barryoneoff.co.uk 00:29 18 Dec 03

Sorry, improved on it a bit since that one. click here

  slowhand_1000 00:09 19 Dec 03

you bet. Having stayed up till 3.30 this morning finishing a site it seems that addictive sums it up in a word.

But thanks to all for the very detailed replies and sorry about the delay getting back. I could not get on the site for a day or so and as I metioned I have been busy putting a site together for a friend. It went live tonight so I can now think about the advice and given to my question.

I suppose I should give a click here and get some genuine feedback. And the beauty of it is his sister in New York wants one doing for CASH. So it seems there could be some money in this game (chuckles to himself, but then thinks he might have to forfeit some commission to the forum)

Joking apart I can see the logic in aiming at one particular area and trying to get to grips with it. As opposed to dipping the toe into too many areas at once.

The idea of dynamic sites does look like something I would one day like to be able to do, though I wish my design skills could be improved and perhaps that's an area to look at also. So I think I will dust off the 'HTML For Dummies' and try to understand the inner workings of HTML. This, judging by the replies, seems to be the most logical step and should hopefully (big emphasis on hopefully) stand me in good stead for later on.

I really appreciate the valued advice from you all and shall set myself some targets for the new year. I might even surprise myself :-)

Cheers all

slowhand

  Taran 10:15 19 Dec 03

Nice site, well done.

I see from your code that you use Dreamweaver - good luck with it.

You'll find that many pro designers started out more or less as you have.

You dabble, you learn, your output improves and then you start getting asked "can you", "would you", "could you just" and "I'll pay", then all of a sudden you have a word of mouth network of generated work heading your way.

It's not an overnight process, but it's how many get started in the game.

Good luck with it all - I'm sure that things will run their natural course in your case - you seem to have an aptitude for it and that, coupled with an underlying interest is half the battle.

You could do worse than use the code or code/design split view in Dreamweaver. Type your tags in (Dreamweaver helps you out by offering autocomplete tags) and see what the output looks like in the preview window. Doing the reverse can also help - design using design view then look at the code produced.

It's one of the easiest ways of learning HTML and I always suggest it to students who have FrontPage, Dreamweaver or any one of the mainstream WYSIWYG editors that feature a code and design view. In fact, often you can learn more and learn it quicker than by chewing over any one particular book.

Finally, don't forget the excellent tag reference library in Dreamweaver as a learning tool. Click on the Code panel group and click on the Reference tab. You can look up your tags in there and it tells you what they are, what they are for and what they do. You get Cold Fusion, HTML, JavaScript and all kinds of libraries in there and you can download extras for PHP and similar from the Macromedia Exchange site. It's free registration and many of the extenions are also free so it's worth looking into.

Keep us posted and informed. I like to see how people progress and its interesting to find what worked for them and what didn't.

Enjoy it.

Taran

  slowhand_1000 16:09 19 Dec 03

Thanks for the pointers Taran. Actually I have found that I use the split screen more than I imagine. So perhaps the book can stay on the shelf.

As I mentioned in the original post this is the 4th site that I have put together. But already I seem to be tweaking the code more often manually.

Funnily enough I have just got back from a meeting with my largest customer (I am a Print Broker) and he asked if I would be interested in a 'add on' section they are putting on their site. It seems they want their customers to view their portofolio online. Now that could be tricky lol. Though I am not averse to burning the midnight oil to have a go. But maybe thinking about it I shall pass till next time.

Anyway once again thanks for the pointers. I will keep you informed.

Cheers

slowhand

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