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Thread: Okay so what's next?

  1. #1
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    Post Okay so what's next?

    Hello gurus,

    This is my first post so far over the forums so I hope you are good listeners. Here goes my story:

    I became very interested in "Front-end" web development in the last few months, I felt I will be so good at this field with more practice and knowledge so I didn't actually stall or think too, I went for it. I checked many web tutorials, invested some money into worthy instructional and educational books like HTML & CSS by Jon duckett and CSS3 missing manual and alot more. I finished the first book by Jon and dozens of tutorials, practiced alot with HTML and CSS but haven't grasped it fully since I know it requires more efforts. I am working on it and won't hop onto another language till I master them.

    I know that HTML and CSS are sufficient to build simple static websites but I'm a kind of a person who gets worried about the future a bit earlier than I should. What language do you recommend me to learn? All people nearly recommended Javascript and its framework Jquery and I feel I am inclined that way, since my goal for now is to be able to create dynamic and interactive websites and leave the server-side scripting for other back-end developers for a while, till I master those client-end languages then I might consider going "full stack"

    Would you also recommend Javascript? Or what do you think?

    Additionally, do I really need to learn C language and its likings for web development? I don't feel them to be honest.

    Thanks for your fruitful answers in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hey Madi,

    Mate Im by no means a guru.. So take the wisdom of any other post over mine.... If your really determined to stay front-end then Id say yes js is the next on your hit list.... But to be honest mate Im not sure thats the way to go.. you mentioned dynamic.. yes, to some degree you can get away with that front end using xml js jquery ajax etc.... but if you want to get serious about dynamic design then your going to have to learn back-end...

    I would suggest to any newbie html for front-end php for back-end and css for customization... with that as your foundations you can then at least build something for anything.... and integrate the other languages over time around that solid rock....

    Learn C... guys pls correct me if Im wrong.... C# is becoming popular for developing applications on the web.. as the web becomes capable of doing more.. and could be an interesting avenue to explore.. I think its window server based?.. in which case you would want to explore the world of asp.net perhaps, instead of php.. Keep going dude

  3. #3
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    I would express caution about learning Javascript before you have thoroughly mastered HTML and CSS. Why? Because it is very easy to fall into the trap of using JS (and frameworks) for tasks that can and should be done in HTML and CSS.

    Also, whilst I understand you may not want to get into databases and queries, but PHP can massively streamline how you build web sites by using include files for the common elements (headers, footers, nav bars etc..) that are needed on every page. Similar functionality exists in Javascript, but PHP is more SEO friendly (which can be crucial to the success of a web site).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jedaisoul View Post
    I would express caution about learning Javascript before you have thoroughly mastered HTML and CSS. Why? Because it is very easy to fall into the trap of using JS (and frameworks) for tasks that can and should be done in HTML and CSS.
    +1000 GET.

    I'd even suggest learning a server-side language like PHP or ASP before you tackle JavaScript -- as it's also far to easy to fall into the trap of using JS to do things that you have no business doing client-side from a security or accessibility standpoint.

    There's what's known as the 'unwritten rule of JavaScript' -- while it doesn't always apply as there ARE things you can do with JS you can't do without -- the simple fact is "IF you can't make a fully functioning page without JavaScript FIRST, you likely have no business adding scripting to it."... Goes hand in hand with mantras like "the less code you use the less there is to break" and works to concepts like accessible design, progressive enhancement and graceful degradation.

    jedaisoul also has it right that it REALLY helps to master the underlying language BEFORE diving for the 'frameworks' -- if you do so you will quite often find that these 'frameworks' that allegedly save development time and make things "easier" do the exact opposite; they make more work, more code, and teach sloppy habits... and that goes for pretty much all frameworks be they HTML, CSS, JS, PHP, ASP...

    Naturally you have the people who 'love' their abstractions, to the point they'll irrationally defend their use of frameworks to the hilt, when really they didn't learn enough about the actual languages to even be opening their yaps on the subject.

    Code-tard's suggestion of C is interesting, but not very useful. C's lack of whitespace neutral strings makes it very hard to work with outputting HTML from it or any flavor of it. C# is even worse as to use it on a website you compile it to .net to use via ASP. This for the most part ties you to the windows hosting platform, and I don't like that idea. Sure there's "mono" to try and run it in the *nix world, but to be frank the results are... well... less than impressive.

    That said, C can be good to learn as the vast majority of mainstream languages are little more than C cross-dressing in a frilly little lolita outfit. PHP, JavaScript, Java, PERL, RUST -- they're all C syntax languages; which is to say you open and close blocks with braces (curly brackets), you construct evaluations and operators in the same fashion... the differences are minor at best and usually involve things like how variables are declared (JS you say "var", PHP you say $), or typecasting vs. non-typecasted variables. (JS and PHP do not have strict typecasting, meaning variables can contain and be accessed as any type of data). Pretty much you learn one, it's not hard to jump to another as the core concepts and most of the 'grammar' of the language is the same, there's just some minor regional differences in dialect... Much like "english" where a lot of American slang is lost on our British brethren, while many of their colloquialisms like asking to bum a cigarette would get you punched in the face on the streets of Brooklyn. Two nations divided by a common language.

    Once you've got HTML down good, practicing separation of presentation from content and proper semantics, I'd say go for PHP next. The reasons for this is that first PHP makes excellent glue; it's what the language was designed for. It IS a templating system unto itself (which is why running templating systems like "Smarty" atop it is halfwit nonsense), making it easy to 'glue together' common bits of markup (like your header, menu and footer) to the parts that are different on every page (the content). You get into databases PHP can (and should only be) used as glue to put things together. That's what it's for -- gluing together data to the markup.

    PHP's main strengths:

    1) it's massive function library meaning most anything you'd want to do, there's already a function to do it.

    2) You'll be hard pressed to find a web hosting account that doesn't support it.

    3) As a scripting language you don't have to 'compile' it to test it.

    4) You are far, far more likely to be able to find people willing to help you if you get stuck... you pick a non-web language like C or a platform specific one? Good luck.

    5) It's probably the BEST DOCUMENTED LANGUAGE this side of a 1980's Borland product. No joke, the ENTIRE manual is online, free, easy to document, and there are not just really good usage examples on every page, but the comments are filled with user submitted examples, suggestions and recommendations as well. http://www.php.net -- The only other language I've ever seen as well and properly documented is Borland's Pascal / Delphi flavors.

    There are drawbacks:

    1) Speed. It's not the slowest (Ruby holds that title) but as an interpreted language, even with the parsing to 'bytecode' stage and a bytecode cache like APCache, It's not exactly peppy.

    2) Vulnerabilities ... PHP is one of the languages I like to call "insecure by design"; it is FAR too easy to make insecure code as it's an interpreted language, making it very easy for beginners to accidentally call a file or create a way for arbitrary code to be run. It's gotten a LOT better about that since PHP 5 came out, especially if you don't use the old deprecated soon to no longer be supported mysql_ functions. (and use mysqli or PDO instead). You CAN secure it via things like object scope and not doing stupid things like putting sql login or other security info into global scope or WORSE, define (yes turdpress, I'm looking at you -- do us a favor, put on the dunce cap and sit in the corner) -- or you can avoid those types of headaches by simply using it to glue together static bits. It can be secured, it just doesn't start out that way.

    3) Confusing and incomplete object model -- I guess if you learned it first it would make sense, but my background in Object Pascal, Modula, Oberon and Smalltalk made it very hard for me to grasp how PHP (or JS for that matter) seem to handle OOP.

    I'm sure the PHP haters out there could go on for far, far longer about it's drawbacks than I could, but usually that's because they're trying to use it as a general purpose computing language, something PHP was decidedly never meant to do. PHP is like a bottle of super-glue; you don't try to use it to do a carriage bolt's job.

    Still, for it's faults -- the fact it's available on pretty much EVERY decent hosting plan, ease of getting help and decent documentation makes PHP an easy choice after you get a handle on HTML and CSS. I would even go so far as suggesting you try experimenting with the "include" function and some simple user functions while learning HTML, just so when you have things that are "the same on every page" you aren't repeating yourself over and over, and can make changes to things like the menu on every page from one place.

    Hope that helps.
    Java is to JavaScript as Ham is to Hamburger.

  5. #5
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    Maybe you can start with simple languages such as html or php then move on to javascript

  6. #6
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    @deathshadow,

    Thank you so much for breaking it down like that.. got it!.... Im walking a thin line of imposing on the OP's thread here.. But I meant C# more as standalone applications never for anything directly related to a page...

    Good chance you would know an old school program most have never heard of for example "irfan viewer"... I was thinking you click a link and something small like that opens... I want to try something like that at some point.. If not C what would you use to make something like that on-line...

    Sorry Madi!

  7. #7
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    Well if you are interested in front end development so i think you must learn the HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery and Ajax.

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