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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those of you with website and programming experience...

What languages would you tell a newbie to study if they wanted to learn website design/ programming-- assuming little existing knowledge? For example, does XML basically replace HTML? Java?

Thanks for the thoughts.
 

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Don't study any languages. Get a good WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver or Front page. Also buy a really really nice web site template. www.w3template.com

After you get a good handle of your choosen editor then you might want to learn languages. Which languages you learn will be dictated by your goals for your site(s).
 

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ACKACK.. :) sorry Grumpy but you knew I would disagree. I hate WYSIWYG editors. I do use Dreamweaver only for the highlighting of code - but don't let it create your code. Learn HTML and CSS to start with - get the basics of layout with and without tables. Don't do any Java - it's resource intense and most java stuff can be easily done with other less intense methods (flash, shockwave, etc). And if you're going to do a website that you want people to see don't buy a template. Get someone to do unique graphics for your site.
XML does not replace HTML and actually they are quite a bit different. XHTML is very similar to html and is probably what you should delve into after the basic layout stuff. It's approaching a standard anyway.
As I mentioned before - don't waste time on doing your own graphics or trying to fit a template to your business. And don't waste time trying to do your own - hire someone or do a contest on one of the webmaster forums.
Then if you want to continue on with the programming side go for php.
 

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I agrre with Hatchet. WYSIWYG is great for piecing together websites. But you won't know how to write a website. This may or may not be sufficient for you. If all you're capible of is of the options to given you by a GUI, you'll never know what you can acomplish. You won't really understand how the page is made, so when changes are made to standards(ie. RFC updates, new langs,yadada) you won't be as on top of it.

Now maybe you don't have time too do it this way, WYSIWYG is definately a quicker way to quickly get up and running without alot of learning. It seems a good number of "proffesional" designers don't "write" their clients sites. Maybe I'm just hard-headed. I like learning things from the bottom up and computers are my hobby so I have a good amount of time to teach my self things. It's up to you to decide how much time you have to invest nto your site. Often you're better of paying someone to do it while you focus on what makes you money. Or keep your money and use a good WYSIWYG editor. I've used Quanta Plus and Scream, both open source on Linux, maybe they have Windows versions if thats what you use.

If you want to learn the langs, Hatchets advice was sound.

Goog Luck,
Don
 

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Sure I did it the hard way too Hatchet. I learned HTML before I WYSIWYG was even invented. Good ol note pad was how I started.

I agree dreamweaver puts out sloppy code, but I find it MUCH faster to do everything up in dreamweaver then manually edit the code, rather than do it all free hand.
 

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For sure Grumpy - I agree 100%. But I think for someone just learning they are much better off to learn the basic principles of layout with HTML etc.. so they know what the code created by the WYSIWYG editor is. I think it's more frustrating if you don't know where to find the problem - I'm pretty sure we both agree that most wysiwyg editors will eventually have a problem in the code created if changed enough times.. Frontpage is probably worse than dreamweaver.
 

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LOL.. It's really funny when I'm trying to save something off the web and it accidently saves the whole page.. the number of files and gibberish that it contains is pretty incredible compared to what it actually takes to make the page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the info. I'm more interested in learning the process for fun/hobby than in getting a website active asap. So everyone basically agrees that the first step should be "HTML for Dummies"?? I'm trying to avoid a situation where I have to unlearn something to learn something else (HTML to XHTML for example). This concern may be completely invalid...
 

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HTML is easy enough to start with.. I wouldn't buy a book for XHTML - you're better off to learn that online. XHTML is basically a standard more than a different language. For instance - typical return in HTML is <br> - in XHTML the standard says all tags must be closed so to close these types of tags you do <br />.
HTML and CSS will give you the ability to layout and format your pages. You should be able to do a pretty simple layout in a couple hours or less of reading a book like "HTML for Dummies". Just a little note here - think of a webpage with HTML as an Excel worksheet. Tables, cells, rows, and columns is all you'll need to start with for basic layouts. Then when you get into tableless layouts with div's and span's and css.
HAHA - now that I've totally confused you - go read the book. :)
 

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Javascript doesn't do much for layout though - it does some nice things for interactive stuff. But honestly I wouldn't bother with javascript at all. Some people have javascript turned off.. and most search engines don't follow javascript tags if you're using it in a navigation menu.
 

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I wouldn't use it for layout or navigation, that's what I would use FrontPage for. I would use javascript for the interactive features and gizmos. There are a million scripts you can cut and paste to get nice extras for your site, knowing the language will allow you to customize them to your liking. I think it is an easy language to learn. I taught myself Basic back in highschool on my Commodore 64 and I found javascript to be almost identical so it was an easy 1st web language to learn for me.

The fading testimonials I have on my site use simple javascript.
 
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