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Thread: And away we go....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Arizona
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    And away we go....

    Hey all,

    My name is Chris and let me right up front say I have a very bad habit of being long winded so I will work on that right away. Oh and I love a good debate if I feel qualified to do so...

    Here is the basic premise:

    Way back when (1996ish) I was actually a fairly accomplished web designer. For you youngins, this is back when the "cool" people were putting 50 anigifs on a page and calling it interactive, while the rest of us laughed them.

    I had some decent side jobs, some personal web endeavors, as well as professionally employed in some cases. I did a variety of sites: a national PGA (as in golf) chapter, a small newspaper, some adult related material (hey I even got to take some pictures for them when pressed for deadlines woohoo), an environmental information site, and some work for AOL internal web sites. I was actually employed there from time to time as a knowledge engineer for the call center tools and systems, QA engineer and other various and sundry titles. The bust happened, my offers were move to Virginia or fend for myself in Tucson. I chose the latter, especially with a house we had designed and been building for 12 months closing 6 weeks away. Ultimately a bad few years began after that choice, but I still stand by it as my home and personal happiness will always be more important than my paycheck.

    Now, years later and due to a wonderful exboss that bailed me out of the hellish restaurant management business I am back in the IT side of things as a SR QA Analyst. However, I want to expand my knowledge and secure my future a little better.

    I enjoyed the creative of web design, I get a major woody (can I say that hee lol) on impossible dates being made by a stellar team I am leading or a part of, I love new things that make you go WOW.... I hate boring bland code. I don't like digging through pages of syntax (but obviously will do it as needed) to find some dumbass mistype that has created baldspots for myself, my clients or my employers.

    I did use notepad as my primary design tool for most of those first years, I ended up using a mixture of FPage, CFusion (through Able Commerce mostly), a little Homesite here and there and began to dabble in Flash. Obviously the versions of those utilities, save notepad, are not even really recognizable 10 years later.

    Ok the basic introduction is out of the way. Sorry for so much but I felt it was important to give some backgraound before this new path in my life is traversed.

    I am trying to decide my best avenue and approach for my future. Macromedia Studio MX in some cases almost seems a no brainer. It allows for my personal creativity for my own sites sooon to be redeployed for practice grounds as well as seems to be one of the top choices for web development suites - from what I have gathered in reading so far. Then we have ASP .net, hell even FPage is not even the same as way back when but I am assuming still ugly distorted code and a naturally negative stigma attached as before, which even with 10 years having past Gates still is the king of the mainstream users and I am assuming my desired audience. I am sure there are others... but

    I want these things:

    ~ I want to have basic ease of use for simple projects
    ~ I want to have the extendability to increase my knowledge and therefore my skills (ie I dont want someone to say, go install FPage, learn it, expect to uninstall it in 60 days and use a real tool)
    ~ I want to have fun again developing projects for others
    ~ I wants sought after employable skill sets

    I am really not that hard to please!

    While I do have some background and I am not an IT idiot I am still very much a tabular rasa, or at least willing to try and be to start soaking up anew.

    So the basic questions becomes where would you as the current professionals suggest I turn to rebegin his training and skill setting? and if you please, why?

    Answers, websites to go read, other web communities to go join and leave you people alone, applications to go download, whatever you are willing to give me I am ready.

    *sigh*

    I dont think I could have shortened this first post much and feel confident I gave adequate information to my situation. So my apologies and my deepest appreciation to those that made it through this beast.

    Thanks much!
    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    well first off, you have no need to leave us alone. this is a great community and i've learned much since joining here. second, probably the most complete learning tools available is at www.w3schools.com

    there are endless tools you could download to make your life easier. i highly recommend having at least 3 or 4 different browsers so you can make sure that your page looks good in all of them. IE, Firefox, Opera, and Netscape are probably the first ones you should have. a good editor and ftp client are nice as well. you can go as simple as using notepad and the built-in ftp capabilities of Windows or you can splurge and go macromedia's way. personally, i use Syn Text Editor for both coding and ftp. it does me well.

    i hope that was helpful. if you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask!
    "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it is too dark to read." - Mark Twain

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Accessibility and valid markup is big these days. Check out: http://www.w3.org/WAI/ and http://www.w3c.org

    Regards.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    3,056
    Well things certainly have changed since '96. So here's your foundation knowledge you obviously need:

    http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/
    http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/
    http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/

    Some essential tools (* Assumes you are using a Windows operating system):

    http://validator.w3.org/
    http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
    http://www.mozilla.org/
    http://www.opera.com/
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.mspx *
    http://www.chami.com/html-kit/ *
    http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/download.jsp

    There's a good few of the basic essentials needed to get started with. As for skills wanted, well I'm not sure. By the sounds of it you're far more design than development oriented. With design, I'm not sure, but apparently the most commonly sought development skill is a high competency in Java programming. I also strongly advise learning XML. Server side scripting (if that's something you do) is down to you really. Whether you base your choice of host on what you know, or what you're going to learn based on your host. If you do choose to take the plunge into server side scripting though, I'd suggest you get well aquainted with relational database design so that you can offer efficient, professional and competetive solutions.

    Programming has now gone pretty much well and truly object oriented too. I guess you'll pick up more on that later. First things first methinks. Hope the info has been useful.

  5. #5
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    May 2005
    Location
    Arizona
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    Thanks guys. Lots of reading to do obviously but you guys gave me some perfect directions to start getting wet again.

    And yes my interests and even strengths have always been more to design than development but have found it invaluable to know as much as was reasonably possible on both ends. Plus I like being creative and making it happen from A - Z on personal projects. Yes, control freak.. but arent many of you? lol

  6. #6
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    May 2005
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    Arizona
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    Gah I could spend 10 years just catching up it seems so overwhelming. I know its not when I realized my HTML 4, Java 1.1, Javascript 1.2 book wasnt thta far brhind even if age wise its ancient. Basics are basics. Whew!

    Tools..... I am stilll very much considering Dreamweaver 20004 MX but have been persuaded to look towards Visual Studio and even just their basic web dev version. Any personal preference in tools? Money always mattters but in this case its not a deciding factor. I will take what I like to use, gets me paid, lets me see my kids, etc over alll other factors. Notepad doesnt scare me and I plan to use it for learning for the debug aspect but still toool use = more free time. In theory.

    It seems without question I am going to have ptretend like I know nothing, whihc is almost true , and just start with design and building of a site. Seems without XML, SQL or PHP I am dead in the water though.

    Just checking job hits and .NET comes up a lot, but based on ads some of the posters dont even know whta they want to hire for.... I saw CFusion, CReports, VB, ASP.NET, and Java all as 2-5 year requirements on one posting. Thats some heavy dope smoking there.

    Maybe notepad + Frontpage and I should just go back into porn? ROFL Kinding guysm thats whay I got out to begin with, wwelll one of many reasons why ended up SR QA rather than SR Web Admin/Dev... shhhhh hes rambling, dont tell him.

    The search for the employable skillset continues. Funny thing is my new headhunter cant help me with any advice lol she is under sonctract to my employer. I told her to just help me advance there then!

    Much of a market for creative levelheaded web/dev based PMs that like to get things done out there?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Jerryville, Tejas
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    Look at HTML-kit for editing and the links in my sig for the current thinking in web design.
    "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." Brian W. Kernighan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Arizona
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    Leaving on a trip in the morning, no pc going, unless I buy a laptop on the way out. Any sugggested whitepaper downloads I can print and take for thr drive suggested? Besides ads?

    Let me add to that also thats not 60+ pages. Probabaly easier to go buy a book or two at that rate.
    Last edited by Kayabound; 06-28-2005 at 12:54 AM.

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