As the web and its technologies are a constantly evolving mish-mash of standards, languages and trends, it can often be difficult when you are just getting started to know what to invest your time in. Often it will seem like an up and coming technology should be your main focus as many pundits may be calling it the ‘next big thing’ that you’re a ‘fool not to invest in’ but a lot of the time, this thinking falls flat. So where should you start? Well if you’re starting out as a web developer, its crucial that first off you get an overview of the important stuff.
Fact 1. HTML is the language of the web and the current working draft of it, version 5.0 is what most developers are getting excited about at present (more on this later)
Fact 2. Flash as a technology is unlikely to go anywhere any time soon, so is definitely worth knowing but not an essential part of web development.
Fact 3. Mobile devices are the biggest thing to change the way web designers think in years – finally forcing lazier developers to consider accesibility issues, so it is important that once you are up to speed with web design that you look into how your content works on a mobile phone, PDA or tablet device.
The first thing any new developer needs to get to grips with, is HTML – Hypertext Markup Language. You’re looking at HTML right now, and all web pages are rendering in (by?) it – whether they are simple static pages, to vast dynamic social networks, the end result is always HTML. Understanding how a page is structured, and how HTML tags effect content is really important and acts as a foundation for future development. The visual side of HTML is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) – a complete language not only for styling, but now in the current edition of CSS (3.0) also behaviour creation also, and by behaviour we mean the way in which content reacts to interaction and also to other content.
In the next few weeks I’ll be creating some new video tutorials to replace my old somewhat outdated video tutes I’ve had online in the past (you can still see these at willgoldstone.com/learn but they will be replaced). In these I will cover the basics of what I have discussed here but until that time I suggest that you take a look at some of the following links to help you get started in your career as a developer of online joy!
The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is the body that sets out standards for HTML and also provides a basic school of tutorial information that you can use to get started.
Dive Into HTML5
This site is a fantastic and almost too detailed historical overview plus presentation of new features of HTML5
An excellent digest of what is happening in web development, plus tutorials, free usable content for your sites and more
960 Grid System
When designing pages for the desktop browser, you’ll need to consider grids in order to give you consistent designs, the 960 grid system is one of the most popular practices out there
Envato Network – PSDTuts and NetTuts
The Envato network is a network of tutorial websites that offer all kinds of cool stuff, mostly for free and always very well presented. I highly recommend taking a look through PSDTuts and NetTuts when starting out, and trying a few of their tutorials on for size.
Web Designer Wall
This fantastic site by Nick La is a source of immense inspiration, not only is it nicely designed but also offers lots of well written tutorials and has a good community of readers attached also
A List Apart Survey
A List Apart is a fantastic blog about everything going on in the technical side of web development, and each year they do a massive survey of web designers to get a sense of everything that is going on in the development community.
A nice blog of inspirational web design
More will be added as I have time!