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  1. #1
    Junior Member Sofjen's Avatar
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    Hello there.

    A long while ago (about 4 or 5 years ago) I learned HTML and made some pretty generic websites about nothing interesting. Recently, after seeing a bunch of beautiful WordPress designs (like this, this, this, or this). I currently have no knowledge of the current web standards but I'd like to learn how I would be able to create designs like these. I figured it would be easiest to start to learning design through just skinning current web apps before learning to code my own. (Yeah, I know I'm probably WAY ahead of myself there).

    I'm not sure where to start. Can someone point me in the right direction?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member audiofreak9's Avatar
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    First off Welcome to WDF...Learn CSS, would be my advise. It allows the content and the layout (look & feel) to be kept separate. Using a single CSS file for all the pages of one site will allow consistency between pages. Some great sites are:
    CSS Layout
    CSS Basics
    One True Layout
    CSS Cribsheet
    CSS Layout Gala

    There are also a few places I can suggest that list good looking websites that are web standard complient. These CSS "design galleries" give examples of websites that separate style and content. A lot can be learned from the examples listed on them.
    CSS Mania
    CSS Beauty
    CSS Vault Gallery
    Well Styled
    A List Apart

  4. #3
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    You can customize WordPress, but as audiofreak mentioned, you'll need to know
    CSS pretty well to make it look like your examples. WordPress uses a "template"
    approach, but you'll actually be customizing (or creating) your own template.
    This is no easy task. It requires a somewhat intensive knowledge of CSS and PHP.

    To start with, you might want to think up a design, lay it out with photoshop or
    some editor and hire someone to give you your starting template ... a place to begin
    actually tweaking it to the final design.

    In the portion of this forum where you can hire people for coding, you'll easily find
    someone who can help you get started.


  5. #4
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    While money is always good, giving it away isn't always quite so good, and if you're looking to learn, asking someone to code for you may not help. So, though mlseim's path is certainly one you can take, my advice -- assuming that you're more interested in learning than in getting the template, that is, which may be wrong -- is to, like mlseim said, think up a design and lay it out with Photoshop. Then start writing the XHTML. For that, you need to know the tags `p' (paragraph), `span' (a section of text), `div' (a division of your content), and the `h1', `h2', etc, tags. With those, you're pretty much set, with the possible exception of `ul' (unordered list), which contains `li' (list items). These are generally used for menus and such.

    Once you've got your XHTML, start playing with styling it with CSS. Moreover, once you've got a design idea to play with, if you have questions as to how to achieve an effect, you'll likely find plenty of help here.

  6. #5
    Junior Member Sofjen's Avatar
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    Wow, thank you all for the replies! Lots of information which will help! Yes, I am more interested in learning how to design myself instead of getting someone to code it for me. Just a question, is it ALL CSS which makes most websites beautiful now? Without the CSS, does the whole site just look like stripped code with no formatting?

  7. #6
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    If it's done well, yes. That's what you're trying to achieve: your HTML should ONLY describe the structure of the code -- paragraphs, sections, etc -- and the CSS should give it all of its flair. Most browsers apply some basic styles themselves (i.e., making headings bigger, giving paragraphs margins), but that's not in your code, it's in the browser, which is running its own CSS stylesheet (at least, in the case of Gecko browsers).

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sofjen
    Without the CSS, does the whole site just look like stripped code with no formatting?
    As shadowfiend mentioned, ideally your web page without CSS applied will just a long horizontal list of your content. I believe if you're using a Mozilla-based browser such as Firefox, you can go to any of the sites you mentioned and turn off CSS to see what they look like.

    If you're into standards and standards-based design with CSS, you should definitely check out either of Dan Cederholm's books as well as designing with web standards by Jeffrey Zeldman. Both of those books kind of resparked my passion for web design. If you're more into the design aspect, check out http://www.csszengarden.com to see people pushing the limits of what CSS can do. That should really get you excited to start trying your own stuff.

    Obviously this (WebDesignForums) is a fantastic resource and everyone here is great about helping out, offering advice, critiques, etc.

    Welcome!

    -Mike
    michael murphy
    Professional Web Development
    http://www.letsgomurphys.com/

  9. #8
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    well alot has changed in the last years like a bigger push for compliancy and standereds.
    There is css,Xhtml and js to learn beyond the static pages these are all user side. Beyond this there is php,cgi,asp and database programming on the server side of the specturm.
    things like java are a combination of the two flash is a good add in to learn and there is also conventions like Ajax and Dhtml that combine differnet things in set styles ect...
    Thee Pyro Wolf


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