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I don't know how to get into this area, or more specifically, become a website maker. Here's what I now

  • html
  • some java script
  • C#
  • and a little of everything else (php, css, xhtml, ect.)

I've been on w3schools.com for a while reading and doing the tutorials and I've become much more knowledgeable about websites since I started. But when I compair what I've learned from w3schools to a website template I downloaded I notice things in this template that w3schools never even mentioned. What I'm wondering is whats the best way to go about becoming a web coder on your own, would it continuing w3schools be good? Or just download template read through them and figure out how the code works? One more question, I noticed these all use SQL, how do I go about learning SQL? and sorry, I lied, one more question, whats the best step process when learning web code? like what order, html then css then php? or html then xhtml then css? that kinda thing.

thanks,

Robert

Edit: A website like this is my goal in this area: geforce.com Do you think making a website like this is difficult from a expert's view?

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W3Schools has too much wrong information. <— that is a hyperlink. –  rightfold Jun 19 '11 at 17:34
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jun 19 '11 at 17:32

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5 Answers

Reading will only take you so far. I could read a billion cook books and never become a world class chef. Likewise you HAVE to put your knowledge into practical use again and again and again in order for you to become good at website construction.

The example you gave as what you would like to be able to design is a great goal, but you're not likely going to be able to construct a site that advance right off the bat. That site is a combination of Java, Flash, HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc. Likely it was developed by a team of developers over a long period of time. Always remember to be patient in progressing towards new skills. Learn to roll around, then crawl. Its only after you have a solid foundation of the basics that you'll be able to walk then run.

I would recommend keeping your ears open with your friends and find people who are looking for simpleish websites that you can offer to do. Find out what THEY want and then present some ideas of things you think might help them.

My first website was for a friend of my family who owned a motel. He wanted to get a web presence to help his business. I set him up with a simple informational website that used a prewritten form emailing script to send both a contact form and a reservation form to his email account. I learned his business in this process and got to know what his needs were. Then as my abilities expanded I presented him with upgrade ideas. I developed other aspects of his site and further developed and redeveloped the registration system (which was his main need in this case). Eventually it became a highly functional reservation system with a full admin side that streamlined the reservation process and reduced his involvement in the process as much as possible.

Find something like this that you can do. Nothing beats a real world application need. And again BE PATIENT!

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Usually in life we learn from experience. So the best way is to start making small projects for yourself and family. Finds full scripts and start shopping them and playing with them. Then when you feel, that everything is going pretty ok. Start doing it for money. Explain to people, that you are starting up, so the prices ratio with your skills is correct. And then, sooner then you can notice.. You are driving around in Mercedes and there is always 5 projects waiting for your time :)

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Is this how your life is? (: And yeah, I think that would be a good way to learn. What do you mean by full scripts? like web source code? or full java scripts? sorry, I'm confused on that part. –  Robolisk Jun 19 '11 at 18:04
    
I meant that full working scripts. Not a single function, but maybe a small emailer script. So you can learn, what other options you can hook to simple mail() function. I started 10 years ago, thats how I live my life now :) –  Kalle H. Väravas Jul 27 '11 at 6:27
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Reading (good) code and figuring out how it works is always helpful and educational.

Read the first answer to this question: What should a developer know before building a public web site?

It has a list of topics that you should know about and some links to places you can use to learn about them. It's probably a good place to start - to find out what all those words mean. Obviously not everything there is directly relevant (some of it is too complex for a beginner) but it's a start.

To learn SQL, PHP, or any other language, you should begin by picking up a book (or books) that cover that topic for beginners. If you don't want to invest the cash in buying books, you can find a list of free books here: List of freely available programming books

Many of the books there are aimed at beginners.

Here are some other resources on SO that will help you:

I'm not all that familiar with w3schools, but it doesn't look all that useful for a beginner.

As for the "best process" in which to learn various languages - well that's up to you. HTML and CSS go hand in hand, Javascript is useful, and a backend language like PHP or Ruby is another topic altogether.

Fundamentally though you're going to at least have to know some basic HTML and CSS before you start learning PHP, if only to make your outputs readable.

No one can tell you exactly what to do in order to learn a language, there are millions of different places you can get information from and many different ways of learning. For me, the easiest way is to pick up a book (that has useful excercises), work my way through it, and along the way use Google/Stack Overflow/etc to find out more about topics that interest me and answer questions.

Another thing you do is start reading blogs related to the languages you choose but I think at first that they would probably be too advanced for you to understand.

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Thank you so much. I wasn't aware that this day in age books are still a valuable source. I'll get on that the minute I get home. I appreciate your answer, thank you again. –  Robolisk Jun 19 '11 at 17:47
    
As well, once you have learned enough that you can start doing things, one of the easiest ways to learn more is by attempting to make simple, common apps yourself. Making a blog application is a great way to teach yourself a lot of skills, as it covers a lot of areas. You can also follow the html, css and php tags on SO, although it'll be a while before you grok the questions. –  victoriah Jun 19 '11 at 22:39
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Well, I started learning about web coding from W3Schools, so I can vouch for its usefulness as a starting point, but I also read tons of stuff elsewhere on the internet that has improved my code. The answer here really depends on what you want to build: being a "website maker" can involve any number of different languages and skills, depending on the type of site. You should definitely start with HTML and CSS, then look at PHP and Javascript. (I don't really know much about other server-side languages, sorry)

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I edited my answer to give you an example of what I would like to build. Thanks for telling me what I should start with, I appreciate that. (: –  Robolisk Jun 19 '11 at 17:53
    
Ok, geforce.com is pretty darn huge, and it uses what appears to be a strange, complex blend of AJAX, Flash, and Java on the client side. There's at least 6 different languages at work there, probably more. Basically, even on a smaller scale a site like this is not a beginner's project. :) If you want to get into server-side code like PHP (and SQL), a very common project is making a blog system. Naturally, a blog can be expanded or changed into a more specific site if you want. –  nkorth Jun 19 '11 at 21:19
    
Also, if what you like about that site is its design, you could certainly make a less elaborate site look the same with some CSS. –  nkorth Jun 19 '11 at 21:23
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W3Schools is known for not having completely accurate information. That said, W3Fools actually gives a list of resources that you can learn from. In particular, Mozilla's documentation is extremely useful once you get into more advanced web coding.

That said, you should get a good solid book on web design topics. I personally recommend PHP and MySQL Web Development (4th Edition) and Beginning PHP and MySQL: From Novice to Professional. Expert's Voice books are fairly accurate and useful for my PHP and MySQL development.

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Thank you. I'll hit up my closest public library and see if they have these, I'm defiantly looking forward to this. –  Robolisk Jun 19 '11 at 17:49
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