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Modern standards- bring me up to speed!

  • 23-06-2008 11:02pm
    Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭

    I'm making my first post on this forum with a little request for help. Years ago, as a teenager, I taught myself the basics of web design. I could code sites in Notepad using HTML and had just started learning Javascript when I lost interest.

    Now, years later, I've a renewed interest in what goes into the process, but I'm aware that the standards of web design have risen enormously and I need to go "back to school" so to speak.

    So, where should I start? I'd like to learn CSS, XHTML, and eventually, how to use php and MySQL correctly. Is this the rough order in which I should proceed? I'd like to hand-code as much as possible (I like to understand what's going on rather than merely achieve results I can't replicate and modify)- what are the best tools for that these days?

    If anyone could suggest where to start with a modern book or website that starts with the basics and progresses through to the more advanced stuff, it would be much appreciated, as would any pointers on starting out (again). My experience with the rest of boards has led me to believe you're all likely to be a helpful bunch, so thanks in advance!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 52 ✭✭SadisticSilence


    If you remember all your basic tags, etc. it'll definately help you progress at a faster rate than entering with no knowledge..

    Firstly, go take a look at
    It's pretty much your one-stop shop for web dev
    You'll find everything you need to know about XHTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, Java (list continues...)

    Ideally, I'd suggest you start off learning XHTML and CSS at the same time..
    If you don't already know, the standards for XHTML are confusing if your used to old tags and coding, etc.
    E.g. ALL tags must be closed, even non-closing ones such as <br> and <img>.. NO upper-case in tags..
    That means although you may remember using <BR> to make a break, you now use <br/>
    Personally, I'd rather wait until I'm fully comfortable in the above two before moving on to learn PHP and MySQL.. (I'm trying now, it hurts... Seriously)

    But yeah, I'm utter sh*te at trying to give advice so I hope this helps as much as it can... lol

    Remember though, and Google are going to be your best friends ever for learning.. :)

    If there's anything I can help with, gimme a shout! ;)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,762 ✭✭✭turgon

    I learned CSS, XHTML and Javascript at , where the author has a big emphasis on standards and good coding. Great site.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,287 ✭✭✭NotMe

    I was in the same situation a few months ago. I first learned HTML in 2000 when frames and tables etc were popular. I knew about CSS but had no experience of it. I started at and went through that tutorial and then made up a test site to try it out. It's pretty easy to get the hang of. That site is great - it also has tutorials on html/xhtml/xml/javascript/php/sql etc..

    For editing I prefer editplus but any text editor with syntax highlighting is good.

    A few useful firefox addons:
    Web Developer
    Html Validator

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 52 ✭✭SadisticSilence

    Another good thing to do would be to get Authoring software..
    In work, I use Adobe Dreamweaver CS3, but at home, I have MX
    Dreamweaver is a welcome addition for building sites but only if you're wishing to fork out an arm and a leg...

    I know there's some Open Source alternatives to it, but I haven't looked into them..
    Apparently, Mozilla's SeaMonkey does HTML authoring.

    Here's some more:


    (Developed by W3 themselves)

    Although you can d/load and install these apps and they'll work fine for you, Dreamweaver is the industry standard and unfortunately, nothing really comes close to it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,119 ✭✭✭p

    I'm going to be a little controversial and tell you to take some of that advice with a pinch of salt. W3schools is a great site for beginners, but doesn't teach you best practice, you already have the basics so use it as a quick reference, but not as a primary source.

    I suggest you buy this book:
    It's pretty much written for someone in your situation and explains all the background behind the changes and will really give you a good education as well as the technical stuff. Once you've read that, buy the book Web Standards Solutions and perhaps on to CSS Mastery eventually. This book is also very good, despite it's poor name.

    If you do that you'll be back up to speed with web standards and XHTML/CSS which will handle the frontend.

    Regarding the PHP side of things, I'm not a developer so won't give you too much advice, other than looking at PHP5 and some modern frameworks like Code Igniter etc... You might also have fun playing around with some CMSs like Drupal or Expression Engine too.

    Given you sound like you're focusing on the development side of things I'd recommend starting with an editor like notepad++, and then when you've got to grips with the basics, move on to something like Aptana Studio and excellent IDE for web developers.

    Hope that helps - all the best.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 658 ✭✭✭pontovic

    Also check out and when you feel more comfortable with CSS have a look at Both excellent sites!

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,879 ✭✭✭heggie

    second those books p mentioned, bulletproof web design is another by Dan Cederholm which has good practical examples.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3 garymc.

    HTMLDog is a good beginners resource.

    Beginning CSS Web Development and CSS Mastery are two books I'd recommend.