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  • Where to start?

    Hello guys,

    When I see a nice looking website like: Drew Wilson.com or Minimal Sites | Minimal Design Website Gallery and Community I wish it was made by me but I don't know how to do that.

    So, I come asking you guys where to start (HTML, CSS, PHP, etc) and make those beautiful things like clicking an image and it zooms while the rest of the page fades out (without flash).

    W3? Lynda.com?

    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    I remember being in your spot. :p

    Find a forum that has a nice big community and is all about coding and designing. Firstly learn some basic HTML. Links, divs, etc. Once you got the basics of HTML down you need to learn how to "code" a layout. I suppose I will make a tutorial on that after I finish this post. I'll link you to it once I'm down. Basically you're taking a design and turning it into a website where you can add text, etc.

    Once you know how to code layouts and can make an functionable, but simple website you should start designing. Now this doesn't come easily. If you have the 'skill' then congratulations. If you don't then you're going to have to work on it. I created design after design for months before I came up with anything good. C&C is always good too, post your designs on a forum and people will tell you what they do/don't like about it an how to improve.

    Once you're good at HTML and designing, now you can choose to learn PHP. PHP is a more complex language, but it does wonders. Facebook is coded in PHP. I can't remember how I started in PHP although a great way to get to know the language is to download a simple user system source code and read it through. One with comments on the lines will help. Read it through, and you will slowly start to understand what the different types of codes do. This all takes time.

    As for the images zooming and the page getting darker, that's most likely javascript. You don't have to learn how to code that, theres open source (free) libraries that have them. I haven't done javascript in a while, but you could have a look at jQuery or scriptaculous.

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    • #3
      The image zooming and page getting darker thing is called Lightbox. There a lot of JavaScript plugins for jQuery etc, which will make it easy for you to use this effect.

      But this is a more advanced topic. Start with HTML like twon wrote and then work your way up.

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      • #4
        I did some basic HTML at high school and knew how to program in VB but i already forgot that :P

        Thanks guys, will look into it :)

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        • #5
          Webdesigner & coders are separate jobs often in web-creating enterprise. A strong code in HTML - PHP need to be done before "dressing" the website.
          You should be patient and starting manipulating only HTML - a little CSS & after continue on PHP-advanced CSS-AJAX-RSS.
          Nowadays CMS can be a great alternative if a base of programming skills to develop website.
          --> Joomla!

          Anyway u could get OREILLY or EYROLLEs book. These 2 brands are reference for programming books in the world.
          Last edited by TraNsyL; February 3, 2011, 09:08 AM.

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          • #6
            Start from the ground up with HTML, CSS and then a client-side scripting language like JavaScript (mixing it with XML). After that, you could explore server-side scripting in PHP or ASP.NET (really your choice, or the available platform) with a bit of SQL. From there on, I think you could pick more advanced topics of your choice based on the knowledge you've gained.

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            • #7
              As far as actually designing goes- just get PS and start messing around in it.

              Soon enough you'll have a good grasp of the tools and features- you'll be able to make some kickass webpages that are fairly simple. Start paying attention to what fonts are used on these pages that you like- typographical elements are a huge part of what makes informational pieces (see- websites) attractive. Check out dafont and just build your comfort level with what's out there.

              You're going to need to research color pallates and why these are appealing to the human eye. Keep bookmarking these sites that YOU enjoy the layout of and you'll start to see why you like them, what they have in common, colors, styles, etc.

              Try to join a design community that has both big stuff like webpages and smaller stuff like signatures and small art pieces- communities that are active enough that you'll get feedback on what you've done and why they do/don't like it- what's appealing, what you should improve on, and what design flaws your pieces have.

              I'll scour my email at some point tomorrow and come up with a list of forums that would be able to help you out with the design portion.

              As far as coding goes, that's fairly simple as long as what you're looking for is webpages. The 'cool' stuff (when it's not flash) is generally the interactions of graphics on top of each other and the way the whole design comes together. But as a regular internet user- you know the basic functionality and 'cool shit' that webpages can do. Figuring out how to make that happen is as simple as google searching.

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              • #8
                Also, try looking for NetTut Tutorials pack in one of your trackers. That pack contains various tutorials for web design. But I don't think they are good too build your foundation. Then again, I haven't seen them all, so. Also, try visiting sites like 1stWebDesigner and SmashingMagazine regularly and learn something new. Those two sites are good inspirations for web designers, at least in my opinion.

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                • #9
                  If you start from "no experience" I would start by using a wysiwyg editor (dreamweaver..) so you can have good results immediatly, and then get your hands dirty looking at the html or css code and changing things to see what happens.
                  As for the zooming thing it's probably a script found in a free javascript library, there are a lot of free tools that you can use and get great effects with them without spending time rewriting them.

                  One of the great things with html/css/js is that if you like something you see, you can take a look at the source code to see how it's done. Check the firebug firefox add on to do that in an easy way.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Where to start?

                    Learn HTML, a bit of Javascript, basics of ASP.Net & then jump right into SilverLight & you have yourself a clear winner for the future.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Where to start?

                      It would be best to start with HTML and CSS first, since those are the 'basics' and require less technical work. If you're interested in server side scripting (using programming to work alongside web design by extending into web development), then PHP would be your best choice.

                      The main trick in learning these languages would be to experiment by doing hands on work. Look up some tutorials on the internet and follow them. You could also try and look through source codes and existing PHP scripts to see how things are done.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Where to start?

                        Start with HTML, then progress to CSS and Javascript. No need for Flash or Silverlight or all that crap. Then jump in to PHP, ASP,, or whatever other server-side scripting languages you wish to learn.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Where to start?

                          Also there's a shortcut. If you are interested in making a nice looking website with all these features, but not in actual coding, you can use something like "wix.com". This kind of pages allow to build beautiful websites without any knowledge of coding. Obviously it has it's limitations, and if you're more serious about learning this art, then definitely, go for some of the advices above. Homemade stuff, if you know how to do it, always will be better.
                          Have fun, anyway.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Where to start?

                            A lot of effects can be achieved with CSS alone, or CSS with Javascript. Truly advanced CSS programmers are hard to come by. It could be a good niche to target.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Where to start?

                              "Teach Yourself HTML in 10 Minutes" by SAMS publishing is the exact book I started out with. Granted, I had a little experience with HTML beforehand but this book definitely helped. Their "Teach Yourself CSS in 24 Hours" has also been a HUGE help.

                              I agree with everyone above as well. Having a community of like-minded people to help you along the way would be a very valuable tool. There is never a short of people who chomping at the bit to help newcomers to their communities. But, as with almost any community, don't expect to be spoonfed. Show them that you are willing to put in the time and work and that you simply need pointers on what you've already created. Very few people will do everything for you and you'll never learn anything from that approach. I'm confident you'll be an exception to "those guys".

                              HTML/CSS are very fun venues of creativity! Use them to the best of your ability!
                              Last edited by Broseidon; July 7, 2011, 02:00 PM. Reason: Added links to book titles.

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