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  1. #1
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    New to Front-end Web development. Need Guidance from seniors.

    Hi,

    I just started my long-way-to-go trip in the field of front-end web development. I have full commitment and desire to be a successful one, and I unusually learn things quick. I need your assistance guiding me through gradual steps to move from being a newbie to an intermediate to an advanced one.

    I have been reading many articles and blog posts over the web trying to figure out a way for helping me kick off. However, there was no really a good answer or good gradual steps to follow but almost everyone recommended me to firstly start with the HTML & CSS Book by Jon Duckett, and I already bought it and started.

    I really like that book, I know its for beginners as I feel its too simple. I almost finished the HTML part and then I will go directly into the CSS one. Here comes my question:

    1- Where will this book takes me so far? Will I be able to make good-looking static websites (from scratch) after I completely grasp it?

    2- What is the next step? What should I do after I finish that book? What language should I learn? Javascript? if so, what are good sources to start Javascript with and then advance?

    3- Is that HTML/CSS book enough for knowledge about HTML? Or are there any more HTML books/guides that can take me towards more HTML work and knowledge? If there are more books on HTML in more advanced level, do I really need them?

    Sorry for the long post but I really need your guidance, I feel completely lost here and in my country, web development is not a main trend so I think I'm a bit alienated over here

  • #2
    The fat guy next door VIPStephan's Avatar
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    I honestly can’t give you any advice about that book but I think I can give you some general advice nonetheless.
    I’ve never read any HTML/CSS book. When I started out I had a web design class (which was totally unrelated to my actual major) at university
    for about a semester where I learned the very basics of web design – and I learned it the “layout table” way. After that I gained all my
    knowledge, which made me a professional web developer now, just from reading tutorials and web development blogs online and studying the
    source code of websites that had things that interested me. And of course, a lot of practicing was involved but I was kind of obsessed at that
    time so it was never a strain for me. So to conclude: It’s not that much of a question which books you read but which ambitions you have to
    learn that stuff and how much actual work you do with the knowledge you’ve gained. If you are disciplined and ambitious you will be very good in what you do.

    Now to your questions:
    1) Making a website is one thing but making a good looking website is another that isn’t just related to HTML and CSS knowledge. For that you also need some understanding about the (visual) design aspect to develop an idea about what it should actually look like. And to make things even more complicated, the sole graphic/visual design isn’t even the most important part in the development of a good website. More important is the user interface/interaction design because a website usually isn’t just a static thing to look at and appreciate the beauty, people are interacting with it. It’s all about guiding the users’ attention appropriately so that they find what they are looking for without being
    distracted and/or hindered. So, if you think you know everything from your book then take a little field trip into content centered design and Steve Krug’s definitive book “Don’t make me think”.

    2) „Knowing“ HTML/CSS is one thing but that doesn’t mean you’re able to make the best use of it. Before you think: “OK, I’ve read the book now and know HTML. Which language next?” you should really just jump into it and start working on real (but simple) projects. That could be a pro-bono project for your local association or a task you impose on yourself to create a new version of an already existing website which you
    think could use an overhaul, just for practice. I’m sure you’ll stumble over a lot of obstacles you didn’t even know existed before while doing
    that.

    And also while doing that I recommend you familiarize yourself with a few related concepts, namely semantic HTML, separation of presentation and content, and progressive enhancement. These are some of the less obvious aspects of front-end web development that are still very important in order to make good websites. And don’t stop with these Wikipedia articles I linked, if you put these terms into a search engine of your choice you will find numerous other resources about these topics.

    3) If you know the basics of HTML and have some common sense you don’t need any more books since you will be able to find the answer to any upcoming question online (which I assume you will be most of the time). I can only repeat: You’ll learn the most things by just diving into real-world projects and actually doing things. The best theories don’t have any use if you don’t apply them. As said, you will most likely come across a lot of obstacles on your way while working on a project, and this is when you learn the more advanced stuff you are wondering about right now.

  • #3
    Regular Coder
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    Also, there are many different ways to complete a problem. Web Developing is a lot like problem solving. Sometimes, the simplest answer is the best because it will cause less problems in the future.

    Don't just try to get things to work, try to use the best, proper, and most efficient way to complete this problem. Because in the future when you may want to add-on or edit something and you are staring at 50 lines of code when it could have been done with 3, you will be very grateful.

    The best thing I can say is practice, I don't think I ever read a book besides maybe in my Web 101 class which was a waste of time. I have a Degree in interactive media and I have learned 20x more in the field than in school. The best way to me is to look online at things and break them down into tiny steps. Even write them down if you have to.

    (This is a painstakingly simple example) But say you see a navigation list of images that are links to websites that also have a hover effect when you hover over them. Well if you look at them all at once then it's kind of like woah how'd he do that. But break it down;
    1. He most likely has these images wrapped in a div id, class or even just a <nav> tag
    2. He has an Image tag with an image source linking to an image in an image folder.
    3. He has an href tag wrapped around this image tag so when you click on it it becomes a link
    4. In his css he links to the ID, Class, Nav etc and adds an effect for the hover.

    Sorry for the totally obvious example, but think like that. Break EVERYTHING DOWN to bare minimum, write a list if you have to. Even if you don't know how one of the "sections" you broke it down to works, Google is a great friend. Then put them all together. BAM. Web Design.

    Good luck

    Also, stay up to date with current Javascript updates.


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