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Thread: SOS

  1. #1
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    Gentle forum members: Pardon this intrusion into your community. I'm nearly certain this is not where I should go with my query, but can't find the place that "looks" right and so I thought I'd throw this question out there and see if anyone will take pity on me and answer my question. Why should you waste your time to answer me? This might be the fastest way for you to get rid of me....or turn me into an avid fan of your forum.
    OK, enough blabla, here's some background info on myself and then my basic question:
    I'm an academic who has tried (albeit half-heartedly) to build a web page for himself, with pathetic results. I used Frontpage (OK, I know this is really pathetic but this was 6-7 years ago, and our institution didn't support any good software....), and quickly realized this is very sub-par, and instead of moving on to something better, or getting good at it, I gave up. Now I look back and realize it's pretty shameful to be in an institution of higher learning and not know how to make a decent web page for myself.
    So, I've made a decision that I'll learn how to build a decent page. But where to start?
    Do I learn HTML+CSS+etc.? Or is this for someone who plans to be making Web pages for a living? For someone like me who is barely computer literate and likely to make one or two web pages only in his lifetime, is it better to buy a decent software and leran how to use it sort of like I do powerpoint or Word (without really understanding what happens behind the screen)? Or is it better for the long term to bite the bullet and learn html however painful it is?
    Thanks for your tips.

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Bite the bullet and learn HTML/CSS. The biggest pains associated with the two are browser issues, and those will happen at some point with WYSIWYG editors regardless of circumstances. Once you give yourself the knowledge and experience, you will have acquired a skill you can use.

    There are a whole lot of other reasons (WYSIWYG editors create bloated code, they aren't any faster once you know what you're doing, and they're generally not used much anymore, for example)...but the first reason is a standalone reason.

    I hope that was gentle enough for you. That's as gentle as I'm capable of being.
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 243869
    Bite the bullet and learn HTML/CSS. The biggest pains associated with the two are browser issues, and those will happen at some point with WYSIWYG editors regardless of circumstances. Once you give yourself the knowledge and experience, you will have acquired a skill you can use.

    There are a whole lot of other reasons (WYSIWYG editors create bloated code, they aren't any faster once you know what you're doing, and they're generally not used much anymore, for example)...but the first reason is a standalone reason.

    I hope that was gentle enough for you. That's as gentle as I'm capable of being.
    Very gentle indeed, thanks. Instinctively, I feel you must be right because you're telling me to choose the path that looks harder (no pain no gain)...the tougher-looking paths often end up being the right paths, and maybe even the easier ones.
    I appreciate your no-nonesense tip. If I may ask a follow-up question:
    Do I sign up for a short course?
    Buy a book and do it the old-school way?
    Or on-line tutorials?
    Or some combination of all?

  5. #4
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeZee, post: 243870
    Do I sign up for a short course?
    Buy a book and do it the old-school way?
    Or on-line tutorials?
    Or some combination of all?
    Whatever makes it happen
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    Ron Roe
    Web Developer
    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

  6. #5
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    3) combined with your own experimentation and intuition. Any resource you use, though, should be the beginning and not the end. Your own experimentation and learning will be your best guides.

    Courses have a tendency to be archaic and books are "snapshots" and as such become somewhat archaic over the course of time themselves.
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  7. #6
    Senior Member Ronald Roe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 243872
    ...books are "snapshots" and as such become somewhat archaic over the course of time themselves.
    Almost as soon as they're published...
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    Ron Roe
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    "If every app were designed using the same design template, oh wait...Bootstrap."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Roe, post: 243871
    Whatever makes it happen
    You sound like a minimalist....but I need a little more guidance.
    If I catch your drift, you are saying choose whatever method that workds....which sort of requires prior knowledge of which method will work....no?
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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 243872
    3) combined with your own experimentation and intuition. Any resource you use, though, should be the beginning and not the end. Your own experimentation and learning will be your best guides.

    Courses have a tendency to be archaic and books are "snapshots" and as such become somewhat archaic over the course of time themselves.
    Spoken like a wise teacher: any method must be seen as the beginning of the learning process. The crucial thing is to acquire the tools to let me start dabbling. This much I accept.
    But courses don't have to be archaic, if the teacher is caring, thoughtful, and willing to work hard to get the message across. And though books are clearly snapshots, this is not a fatal flaw, because knowledge (as opposed to information) doesn't need to be updated instantaneously. E=mc2 is still valid today, nearly 100 years after it was proposed. Galileo's discoveries are still helping rocket scientists invent new projectiles. A thoughtfully (and honestly) prepared book should provide food for thought to get you started. But this is not to say that a web-based tutorial might not be better for teaching Wed design.
    One final point: for the uninitiated and uncommitted like me, the main thing is to find something to latch on to, which minimizes the risk of throwing up your arms in frustration and walking away....Seen from this angle, the choice of which instruction channel you choose (books, courses, tutorials) can make the difference between conitnuing to the end or stopping after a false start.
    Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to provide advice. I feel obliged.
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  10. #9
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    All of that is true, but web design is a rather unique field in that many things such as coding are in a state of flux, for example. Not necessarily a state of progress and evolution as some claim, but a state of flux.

    The teacher being caring, thoughtful, and up-to-date is a great thing indeed, but unfortunately web design is one of those fields where schools know they should "teach it because people want to learn it" but are a dollar short and a day late. For example, there are schools here in Toronto that up until a few months ago (I haven't checked recently) still taught FrontPage. As in actual schools. You have already figured out why that's wrong and you're obviously in the beginning stages of design/development as far as your learning process is concerned (no offense intended here)...if you can figure this out and you're an intelligent person, then why can't the so-called intelligent people that devise the curricula for a web design course figure this out? We see quite a few people here who have had to unlearn what they were taught in various schools because of the lack of current focus on the part of the school systems, both public and private.

    None of this is your fault, and I understand why you'd want to look at a course as an option. However, I just want to make sure you know of the pitfalls first.
    DeeZee and AlphaMare like this.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

    My stuff (well, some of it): My bowling alley site | Canadian Postal Code Info (beta)

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 243877
    All of that is true, but web design is a rather unique field in that many things such as coding are in a state of flux, for example. Not necessarily a state of progress and evolution as some claim, but a state of flux.

    The teacher being caring, thoughtful, and up-to-date is a great thing indeed, but unfortunately web design is one of those fields where schools know they should "teach it because people want to learn it" but are a dollar short and a day late. For example, there are schools here in Toronto that up until a few months ago (I haven't checked recently) still taught FrontPage. As in actual schools. You have already figured out why that's wrong and you're obviously in the beginning stages of design/development as far as your learning process is concerned (no offense intended here)...if you can figure this out and you're an intelligent person, then why can't the so-called intelligent people that devise the curricula for a web design course figure this out? We see quite a few people here who have had to unlearn what they were taught in various schools because of the lack of current focus on the part of the school systems, both public and private.

    None of this is your fault, and I understand why you'd want to look at a course as an option. However, I just want to make sure you know of the pitfalls first.
    OK, I'm beginning to see exactly where you're going with this. My generalized musings don't necessarily apply to all schooling and all fields, and from the tiny little bit I know about the frenzied high-tech universe (presumably Web-design a sub-set of this), then you're right. Teachers pop up overnight, experts are often self-proclaimed, and (this one I know from first hand) people become book authors mere weeks after learning about a coding program from a course!
    Thanks again for the advice. Learner-beware I guess. Not being the self-confident auto-learner type, I'll probably sign up for a one-day course or something and buy some study materials just to make sure I don't give up easily, and then we'll see where it goes. If I come back and ask technical advice, you'll know I stayed on the path!
    BTW: You didn't offend me by suggesting I'm a beginner. If anything, to paraphrase Churchill, this is not even the beginning for me, but rather the beginning of the beginning!
    Muchos gracias.
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