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Learn to walk... tips for beginners

Beginner tips.

I get a lot of emails which at first appear to be straight forward. A simple question prompts a simple answer. It then becomes clear on subsequent emails that the person is lost - questions are all over the place jumping from every conceivable subject, HTML then javascript then css, php etc without any indication that the previous problem was solved.

The questions follow a pattern that shows they haven't fully understood the answer to the first question.

This is not a criticism, just an observation. It's just a case of wanting to know everything at once. Working that way achieves very little in fact you probably won't learn anything useful.

Through time you will learn everything you need to know but you need to develop strong skills in the basics before you can build on them.

Without basic HTML skills you are limiting what you can achieve. For example - without understanding HTML you won't see the benefits of css - so css seems pointless. The list could go on.

So where should you start?

Start with HTML
  • Learn it so you know what the tags do without having to look up reference material.
  • Write valid code - I would suggest you learn to write valid code before getting into bad habits.
  • Don't move on to anything new until you are confident enough with html.

There are lots of sites (like this one) which provide help but always test stuff out for yourself as well.

Once you have mastered HTML then move on to learning Style Sheets. Don't just use them because everyone else does - understand why they are using them and how they can benefit you.

Javascript is a great tool if used properly so, make that your next learning curve. Javascript will be much easier to understand once you have strong html and css skills.

Once you have those 3 skills under your belt it is a lot easier to move on to other scripting languages such as asp or php.

Other tips
Most people get into web building after surfing the net for a while, they then decide to build their own site. Mistake number one is to think that it is easy. It is only easy if you are prepared to find out how it works. If you expect everything to be done for you then perhaps building a site is not for you.

Look at the sites you like - study them and make a list of why you like that site. Is it the navigation - colors - layout etc.

Look at sites that make you hit the back button - make a list of why that site site doesn't work for you - poor navigation - too many ads or animated gifs.

Once you do that you will know what not to put on your site :)

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