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  1. #1
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    Hi all, ( a very broad question for you )
    Im fairly new to web design - coming from a product / packaging / visualisation design background! I have learnt the basics in a number of areas of web design but rather than go on about what i know i would like to know what you think i need to know? To be able to design the majority of standard websites that you all get asked to design!
    Which areas are most important to you - and why?
    How much programming do i need to learn to build for ecommerce sites / forms / databases / search etc??
    Any great links to tutorials for what you think are important would be great!
    Hopefully other people starting out could use your posts to this ? to help them as well!
    Cheers,
    Edd.

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  3. #2
    ljm
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    Senior Member ljm's Avatar
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    It does depend on what you intend to do.

    Obviously you need to know CSS and XHTML. Keep up to date on that front, and keep the sites you make up to date with it.

    You mention database work and forms, and so on. XHTML can't do this alone, so you need a server side coding language such as PHP or ASP, or JSP or whatever. Personally I'm learning PHP and using MySQL for database work. I can't say if it's the best or easiest option, since I've never used anything else.

    I guess it's also good to know Javascript as well, so you can make your pages dynamic on the client side. Scripts coded with a server side language don't run in real time - they're processed only when they're requested by the client. Using javascript, you can use code to check if forms are entered correctly or not, for example. I know nothing technical about this though.

    For tutorials, W3schools are a good start. Problem is, their HTML tutorial is still HTML 4.1, I believe.

  4. #3
    Senior Member filburt1's Avatar
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    Any sort of dynamic content is going to be driven by a server-side language. PHP is extremely popular, because it's relatively simple, very RAD (rapid application development), free, and deployed on the vast majority of hosts.

    Unfortunately, it's a piece of garbage for true enterprise applications (true OO was just added in version 5). JSP and, more common every day, ASP.NET are more popular for such applications, and rightly so.

    Yes, you'll note this site is powered by PHP, and it tears me up inside.

    However, before you get started with all that, just learn XHTML, followed by CSS (the two are directly related; XHTML defines the structure and content of a page, CSS defines its appearance--in an ideal world). If you have any questions, this is always the place to ask. Welcome (to the Hell of web design).
    filburt1, Web Design Forums.net founder
    Site of the Month contest: submit your site or vote for the winner!

  5. #4
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    And, as per usual, I'll mention Ruby on Rails, because it rocks my world. This, by the way, is an alternative to PHP, ASP.NET, JSP (or JavaServer Faces, or whatever Java technology), etc. There are many things you can run on the server side for these things.

  6. #5
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    Cheers Folks some good advice!
    I am looking into CSS at the mo, when in your opinion do you think IE7 will become popular for users to have instead of IE6 - if im looking to use transparency's they look crap in IE6 but okay in Firefox! Will it be a while for IE7 to become popular for web users? i take it it will not be an overnight thing
    Also in terms of MySQL and PHP - Do i need any specific programmes??

    Thanks again!
    Edd.

  7. #6
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    I think IE6 took three or four years. I'd expect the same type of timing for IE7. It also depends on who you're designing for -- some companies will require you to design for a lower version number. I had to do it for IE5 a couple of months ago. That was hell.

  8. #7
    Junior Member sdlifecycle's Avatar
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    Also, if you're looking for a compliment to Ruby on Rails using PHP, check out cakePHP. It's based on Ruby on Rails and is pretty handy for creating data driven websites. I'm trying it out on a new site I'm creating and its working well so far.

  9. #8
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    Yeah, I tried CakePHP. Ouchies. It's okay, don't get me wrong, it just reminds you constantly that PHP is not Ruby. Prefixing all the methods with $this-> got old fast, and I started hunting for ways in which I could just switch to Rails.

  10. #9
    Senior Member tonyf12's Avatar
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    Most people I know stick with the browser installed on their OS, only computer people (programmers, web designers, PC technicians) and people under about 25 change thier browser by themselves in my experience. As for databases, I know HTML,XHTML, just learned CSS but I could do a database orientated site as Dreamweaver MX/8 does all the code for you. (ok usually not code that would validate but I usually sort that out later)

  11. #10
    Senior Member Steax's Avatar
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    Most people dislike generated code because we have no control about how the real gears and pulleys work underneath the skin unless we choose to hand-edit it later (in which case we should have just done so from the beginning).

    It might be worthwhile to note that a lot of people are getting more used to the entire "free-service" trend on the web and I've seen many everyday adults trying out new web apps or downloading stuff. And in such case alternative browsers are also a must.

    Some computer service companies also provide an alternative browser built-in. And most internet cafes that I've been in (even in my country where the web hasn't spread too much) have Firefox...
    Note on code: If I give code, please note that it is simply sample code to demonstrate an effect. It is not meant to be used as-is; that is the programmer's job. I am not responsible to give you support or be held liable for anything that happens when using my code.


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