The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Essentials for web design

This is a list of core skills that every journeyman, or woman, web designer must master. Naturally, the reason I consider this list to be so important is because this is the way I have approached the subject, in exactly this order. I started number seven in earnest just this morning.

  1. HyperText Markup Language (HTML)
  2. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
  3. Personal Home Page scripting (PHP)
  4. Extensible Markup Language (XML)
  5. JavaScript
  6. HTML Document Object Model (DOM)
  7. jQuery

1. HTML, or the stricter standards based XHTML, is the bedrock protocol upon which every web page depends. There are many software solutions that streamline the creation of web pages, but to go beyond the limitations of those shortcuts requires the study of HTML itself. Here is a good place to start.

2. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) hold out the promise of separating the specification for the appearance of a web page from its content. CSS has taken off in popularity in the last few years, and a basic knowledge is essential if you wish to customize most of the available web design templates that are available, or if you have a large number of web pages for which you wish a uniform appearance with ease of modification. Here is where I started.

3. I regret that I put off my study of PHP for as long as I did. The range of additional options it provides staggered me once I glimpsed its potential. Set your fears and self-doubts aside and dive in. I started with this book. Hundreds, or thousands, or incredibly useful Open Source web applications, such as WordPress, are written in PHP.

4. Basic XML so pervades the web these days, it is hard to remember what websites were like before. This is as good a place to begin as any.

5. I dislike javascript. Honestly. I’m not sure why I dislike it so much, but my dislike for it resulted in me putting off any serious study of it until the limitations imposed by my ignorance were too great for me to bear. W3 Schools has a nice introduction to javascript.

6. Ooooh. I’m still shaking in my boots about this one. But, there is no getting around it.

7. jQuery holds out the promise to me that maybe, just maybe, I might learn to enjoy using javascript after all. Look here. The benefits are substantial.


Written by Tom Fox

12/02/2007 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Web Design

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