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Thread: Outdated novice looking for a fresh start to development.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    3

    Outdated novice looking for a fresh start to development.

    I am looking for some advice about what learning path one should take in becoming a proficient web designer. I have very limited and outdated design experience and would like to start over. I have been doing a lot of searching for ideas on where to begin and have come to find that it leads to more questions than answers. I am looking for the best path to becoming a well rounded designer, assuming time is not a factor, but money is (so no Dreamweaver...if that's even still around...).

    My Experience:
    -College level C/C++ Coursework
    -Experience with old HTML (yes, still using "center" and "font")
    -Extremely limited experience in Unix, Java, PHP and MYSQL

    From what I understand HTML5 and CSS3 seem to be the standards at the moment. However, other than that I have no idea were to start or even if those are the best places to start. Here are some additional questions that I have been struggling with:

    -Is it beneficial for someone like myself to begin with learning/running a linux environment? If so is Apache still the standard for a web server?
    -I am assuming JAVA and PHP/MYSQL are a must, any other languages that are just as important?
    -Is flash still relevant?
    -.net, asp, clouds?!?!

    Obviously I have a ton of other questions, but am already going long here. Any insight, book lists, development tool suggestions, mentoring, etc would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and sorry for the length.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    2,632
    I wouldn't really use Java for web development. HTML 5 isn't official as of yet so HTML 4 works fine. I would start to learn CSS to clean out the old formatting tags that you know about. JavaScript and/or jQuery can handle client side scripts. PHP and MySQL work for the server side programming. Apache works for a server environment. I personally use XAMPP for a one install to load Apache/PHP/MySQL onto my PC. I use Eclipse - Helios for my IDE. It's free and rather good. Ajax is something to look into once you get going as it helps client and sever side interact in an active way on a site.

    ASP.NET and other .NET technologies are just the MS versions of things used for web development. I prefer the open source versions since they are free to use and cheaper to get hosted. PHP tends to be the favored sever side language these days as well. Flash is relevant, but I can see it slowly going away. I just don't think it will be "dead" for years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3
    Thanks for the quick and detailed response.

    I am somewhat familiar with XAMPP. Do you recommend running this on Windows (unfortunately Vista at the moment) or is it worth learning linux? I tried installing Xampp a number of months ago and remember the install was less than clean and seemed to have a lot of bugs on Windows (ended up uninstalling it and used OsCommerce instead of a custom shopping cart) . Also, from what I understand Linux is the better solution for hosting, but do not really have any concrete reasons why that is. I am not necessarily looking to host my own projects right away, but I figured it would be good to realize how that system works to maximize my understanding of certain procedures and communication between the client side and server side.

    Not sure if my reasons make sense and I have the feeling I am just trying to make this harder on myself.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    2,632
    I don't host things myself, so I can't speak much about it. If you are wanting to host sites, you need to make sure you know that stuff rather well and have the hardware to support it. A normal PC won't cut it. You need a server PC that can run an actual server with realistic traffic. Linux and Apache will be much more stabler and more secure than a Windows based PC. It boils down to how much back end work do you want to be responsible for versus just paying a host to do that work for you. You can get on a shared server(multiple accounts on one server) for cheap. If you want to go bigger and do reseller, or even dedicated hosting(only you on a server), those are options as well, but obviously cost more.

    Designing, developing, and hosting sites are three separate jobs. You need to figure out what ones you are willing to do. I can see doing two of the three. If you are hosting sites on your personal server for a client and your server goes down at 2am for whatever reason, you might be getting a call at some point until your server is back up or after and your client is wondering why all of the down time. Heaven forbid you go on vacation and have nobody there to get it back up and running unless you can do it remotely.

    XAMPP has always worked for me, so not sure what to tell you there. WAMPP is a similar type of deal but geared towards Windows. You could try to install all of the parts individually even if would be a bigger pain in the rear.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3
    Yea, I think I will leave the hosting part out for know. Thanks again for you help. I am loving this forum already and will be sure to stay active.

    Hope everyone has a great holiday.

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