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Thread: What order to Read/Learn...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    32

    What order to Read/Learn...

    I have recently decided to start learning the web-development basics. I plan to cover all common languages or aspects of the programming. I was able to aquire many of the for Dummies books, and want to know what order you recommend I read them... Perhaps why the order you think as well.

    * Ajax for Dummies
    * CSS Web Design for Dummies
    * HTML, XHTML & CSS for Dummies
    * Javascript for Dummies
    * PHP 5 for Dummies
    * PHP & MySQL for Dummies
    * XML for Dummies
    * Search Engine Optimization for Dummies (Not Really Programming)

    Thanks for your help.

    Blake

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    381
    Well, since you already have them...you can use them as fuel for a fire.

    HTML, XHTML and CSS should definitely be first since they're the foundation of any page. One of JavaScript or PHP+MySQL should come after that, though the choice is really up to you. JavaScript is used on the client side, but it is immensely powerful already. PHP and MySQL are basically companions to each other, so you might find that you won't learn a lot of PHP without learning a bit about MySQL at the same time. Anyway, after you learn either of JavaScript or PHP+MySQL, take some interest in the other as well. Also, when you're done with JavaScript, consider finding something that discusses the DOM since both XML and HTML can use this, not to mention the fact that it is what cross-browser JavaScript relies upon. After that, check out XML then AJAX. SEO is probably the most advanced of them, and it is also the most difficult since things are always changing.

    Oh, and along the way, you'll encounter CSS bugs and differences between JavaScript and Microsoft's JScript engine. Obviously these forums will be rather valuable in such cases.

    When you can, try to find some better books on the topics of interest, though a lot of your knowledge will best be learned through coding things yourself. There are also various sites that are staples for some. Blogs, sites full of resources, etc. - they can be useful as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    203
    I think it's a great list. If you learn it all you will be an expert. I think you should start with HTML and PHP.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Michigan, USA
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    5,773
    Don't learn it all. Web development is split into three areas of expertise:

    1) Client side technologies (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, accessibility, browser bugs, often design is lumped here, but shouldn't be)

    2) Design (Photoshop, Fireworks, some HTML and CSS. Very little JavaScript. LOTS about color theory and visual communication)

    3) Server side development (PHP, Perl, Python, Java, .NET and data base management, plus solid understanding of HTML and some understanding of CSS)

    Pick one of these areas and focus on it. Employers are looking for people who specialize. People who are "jacks of all trades" simply don't get paid as much, and have a harder time finding jobs because they lack the specialized skills. At least that's the way it is in my part of the USA.

    Certainly start out understanding HTML and introduce yourself to CSS. Once you have those down, dive into one of the three specialties. And to be honest, there is the largest demand for Java and .NET developers. I've found jobs that want PHP developers, but they occur at 1/20th the rate of Java and .NET job postings, and often don't pay nearly as much. Sucks. A good PHP developer is worth just as much as a good .NET or Java developer, but the market just doesn't have as much of a demand for PHP.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    5,773
    The books that really helped me:

    "Beginning PHP and MySQL 5, 2nd Ed." by W. Jason Gilmore

    "PHP Object, Patterns and Practice, 2nd Ed." by Matt Zandstra

    Yeah, I basically said "don't program in PHP" in my previous post, and I prefer PHP. But any good developer will find work, regardless of the language they program in. Since PHP 5 introduced a ton of object oriented programming features, PHP could very well become more popular than it is now, especially in the corporate environment that is generally dominated by Java and .NET. You'll find that smaller shops and businesses will use non Java and .NET languages right now.

    "A List Apart" is a great reference too: http://www.alistapart.com/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Michigan, USA
    Posts
    5,773
    To give some salary comparisons for my area of the USA (northeast Ohio):

    Java and .NET developers: $60,000 - $100,000 per year. Most job postings by far

    PHP/other languages: $40,000 - $60,000 per year. Fewest job postings by far

    Client side developers: $35,000 - $50,000 per year. More than PHP and other languages, but not by much.

    Designers: ??? No idea. I would estimate between $30,000 to $55,000 per year. Also have no idea about the numbers. Seems to be higher than client side developers.

    Also note that this is mainly from looking at CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com and Dice.com for job postings, and certainly isn't a scientific survey.
    Last edited by toicontien; 03-20-2009 at 10:49 AM.

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