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  1. #1
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    Talking Okay, I'm new! :O

    So I just developed interest in learning web design. I looked at a few online tutorials and what not, HTML seems simple somewhat....

    However...CSS is confusing to me, basically my question is, is there any good books out there for HTML / CSS in one? and should i just learn HTML first and THEN work on learning CSS? or should I learn them both at the same time?

    bah.

    >.<

  2. #2
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    It's best to learn both at the same time.

    Some invaluable books:

    - Bulletproof Webdesign
    - Designing With Web Standards
    - CSS Mastery
    - Cascading Stylesheets, The Definitive Guide
    - Eric Meyer on CSS
    - More Eric Meyer on CSS

    Powerful online references:

    http://htmldog.com/
    http://reference.sitepoint.com/css
    http://reference.sitepoint.com/html
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  3. #3
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    So alright, would you recommend these books to a complete noob? haha xD

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    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    I started out with Cascading Stylesheets, The Definitive Guide by Eric Meyer. I was completely new to CSS then and it helped a lot.
    Be aware, however, that the book above is not a tutorial book; it does not have any lessons.

    I can recommend all of the books I have listed because I've read them all. There's also a Sitepoint book called Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS. It gets recommended a lot, but I can't comment on it as I've never read it. I'm sure it's very good as well.

    My very subjective recommendation would be to get Cascading Stylesheets, The Definitive Guide & Bulletproof Webdesign first, then go for the others, if needed.

    You may also want to check these books out first in a library to see which suit you best, but they're all very good.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  5. #5
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    If you are really example focused and want something you can just get your feet grounded in I can recommend Head First HTML and CSS, it's probably the only beginners book which is example focused I can honestly say does a half decent job. The problem with real beginners books are that they spend so much time building some pretty examples you end up with some generic templates which don't really match the kind of result you want for your own project. If you want to learn a language like HTML and CSS and are a self taught individual (who is pretty motivated) you will get so much more about targeting the books which explicitally teach a particular language and how it works then going and playing around with what you learn using trial and error. This forum is one of many resources you can tap if you ever get stuck but books like HTML Mastery, CSS Mastery, Web Standards Solutions, Designing with Web Standards and BulletProof Web Design (which are admitedly more intermediate books) are the much better way to go about learning, especially if you want to be able to build the website you want alongside reading.

    I really have a problem with most beginners books because they only focus on building a single example which doesn't meet anyones needs, you end up learning only the elements and properties which are used in the example and while you can follow some nice easy steps and end up with something real, you end up being trapped in a situation where what you learned is half baked and therefore leaves you wondering how you can turn from a very simple site to what you actually need for your website. For the moment I would just recommend going with the books others have mentioned and literally going through each element and property in turn, and just have a play with it... trial and error will let you know how everything works, get you thinking about how you can make use of what you learn and you can build the site you really want without being limited by the books examples, which let's face it is the reason you want to build a website

    PS: Don't think I have a problem with examples in books per-se, I just have an issue with those "color by numbers" books which don't teach independant thinking and force "hand holding". While instruction based learning may work for many areas of computing, it doesn't work for web design, making a unique website isn't something you can do by just following some basic steps and voila! It requires being flexible and logical in the approach, example books don't teach logic or get newbies to invest time into learning a language property, in almost all cases they are just about fast results with little relevence to the readers needs.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    If you are really example focused and want something you can just get your feet grounded in I can recommend Head First HTML and CSS, it's probably the only beginners book which is example focused I can honestly say does a half decent job. The problem with real beginners books are that they spend so much time building some pretty examples you end up with some generic templates which don't really match the kind of result you want for your own project. If you want to learn a language like HTML and CSS and are a self taught individual (who is pretty motivated) you will get so much more about targeting the books which explicitally teach a particular language and how it works then going and playing around with what you learn using trial and error. This forum is one of many resources you can tap if you ever get stuck but books like HTML Mastery, CSS Mastery, Web Standards Solutions, Designing with Web Standards and BulletProof Web Design (which are admitedly more intermediate books) are the much better way to go about learning, especially if you want to be able to build the website you want alongside reading.

    I really have a problem with most beginners books because they only focus on building a single example which doesn't meet anyones needs, you end up learning only the elements and properties which are used in the example and while you can follow some nice easy steps and end up with something real, you end up being trapped in a situation where what you learned is half baked and therefore leaves you wondering how you can turn from a very simple site to what you actually need for your website. For the moment I would just recommend going with the books others have mentioned and literally going through each element and property in turn, and just have a play with it... trial and error will let you know how everything works, get you thinking about how you can make use of what you learn and you can build the site you really want without being limited by the books examples, which let's face it is the reason you want to build a website

    PS: Don't think I have a problem with examples in books per-se, I just have an issue with those "color by numbers" books which don't teach independant thinking and force "hand holding". While instruction based learning may work for many areas of computing, it doesn't work for web design, making a unique website isn't something you can do by just following some basic steps and voila! It requires being flexible and logical in the approach, example books don't teach logic or get newbies to invest time into learning a language property, in almost all cases they are just about fast results with little relevence to the readers needs.

    You're bang on. It's better to learn general basics than single examples. You could always find out if a local college does a course - I find the best way to learn something is from a real person.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Nadia P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spark_Creative View Post
    You could always find out if a local college does a course -
    Not always the best course of action either. I'm a member of quite a few forums and what I've learned is that the the courses taught at these colleges are quite outdated. Only the other day, on the DW forum, some students were still being taught that frames were the way to go - yikes ! :-)

  8. #8
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Nadia, you are correct, most academic institutions have a single (but fatal) flaw in our industry... education sectors have to validate all new material and go through a beurocracy of getting new techniques and concepts through a whole series of different department levels before their considered approved learning, as a result when you take a course at a college or university if it isn't on their sylabus then it isn't going to be taught, and as the process of getting new techniques added to the rosta is lengthy and full of paperwork, meetings and other annoying barriers... you end up being taught material which may have been cutting edge... 5 years ago, but is now either out-of-date or seriously fundamentally flawed (due to recent innovations).

    Table based design is still rampent in education, and that pretty much says it all.

  9. #9
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    well as you have taken these online tutorials to learn designing how far was it useful.I mean did you learn all the specific techniques.or is it better to do some regular course?nowdays am learning photoshop and flash in regular course..so want know about online courses

  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot Kayarc's Avatar
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    Honestly...the ebst way to learn is to get in and get your hands dirty. Just create a simple site and play with the CSS to see what kind of effect it has on the HTML etc. If you don't understand what something does or is doing.. simply google it and you can usually find a definition or example that way. You can read every book in the world but until you get in there and practice... you won't really learn.

    I recommend checking out csszengarden . com Its the exact same page but only the CSS and images are changed. Start a site there and play around with it. Also if you use Firefox...there is an addon called Firebug where you can manipulate the CSS of any website you visit. This is really fun to play with and you can learn alot about CSS based on how others have written it.
    Phoenix Arizona Web Design | info *at* kayarc.com | 602.633.2676

  11. #11
    SitePoint Enthusiast Mistfit's Avatar
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    As a semi-noob myself I may have a different opinion to the rest of the people here. I started by reading Build Your Own Web Site The Right Way Using HTML & CSS and that is what ended up directing me to this site.

    AlexDawson mentioned that "beginners books because they only focus on building a single example which doesn't meet anyones needs". While this may be true, found that I needed a basis to start learning from.. Before I followed this tutorial I was blindly searching out tutorials on the web that, while useful, did not explain the WHOLE process from inception to a final product and the all of the steps in between. While it is true the "BubbleUnder" example from the book is not at all the type of sites I will be building it gave me a basic understanding of how to take an idea start to finish.

    Since then I have read some more detailed "non-tutorial" style books to further my mark-up education but I believe I would have been overwhelmed if I had started with the more advanced books and possibly given up the whole idea.

    So I guess in summary.. it depends on how much of a n00b you are..

    Good Luck

  12. #12
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Mistfit, then surely it makes better sense for the project of building a website to be laid out in terms of non-example based steps? For example if a book told you throughout chapters to do some research and creativity (doodling ideas), then write content for the pages you need, then build HTML around it, then style it with CSS (to give it some pop) then layer JavaScript over the top of that for functionality (by progressive nature) it would suit you more as an individual. Giving you a starting point and a path is a genuine factor which is important and getting the balance is difficult, but I would suggest that perhaps breaking down the entire concept of web design into "chunks" and then explaining how each chunk works, what should be done and give you some bullet point instructions (generally worded) for your own website would be a much more convenient workflow? After all, it's the process thats important, not the example which represents it!

  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast Mistfit's Avatar
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    Well I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this point. Before I read this Site Point book I felt like I was just floundering around from site to site. After reading this book I knew what I wanted to learn more on to improve the very basic site I created while reading the book. And according to the book it also gave me a good solid foundation (proper mark-up and all) to go forward with...


    btw.. won't sitepoint take away your shiny "mentor" tag for telling people that their books are useless?

  14. #14
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Mistfit, excuse me but I never said SitePoint's books are useless, don't manipulate my words. If you read what I said I was pointing out that the workflow and the method in which the teaching is presented is much more important than the "color by number" examples which are used for generically representing them. Nothing of which I said was directed at a particular title or publisher of a book, in fact earlier I recommended a book which uses the model I usually discourage.

  15. #15
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    I don't think there's a wrong or right in approaching a new topic of interest. We all learn very differently, and what might be the perfect approach to Joe, could be absolutely useless to Jane, and vice versa.

    I was once recommended a PHP book by someone who had sworn that it was the most intuitively written, easy to comprehend book on PHP that was on the market. That person had read a dozen or more books on PHP. I bought it and it turned out that the approach taken in that book didn't work at all for me. I bought a different book and the approach used by the author was much more compatible with the way my brain functions and comprehends.

    I think many of us had that experience in school where one teacher taught you something and you grasped it right away, and then you had another teacher trying to teach you the exact same thing and he left you with more question marks in your head than your braincells would ever care to cope with.

    I think that is the general problem with the usefulness of recommending something to someone you don't know; you can make them, but it's best for someone to read a few pages of a book and decide whether or not it works for him.
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble



  16. #16
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    I am thoroughly enjoying my trip thru Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML and CSS - I am just in Chapter 3 and came out to ask a question on specificity and saw this...I am self-taught, been stumbling around trying to modify templates into what I really want and picked up this book to figure out what the stuff in one of them means. I really like learning this way, but I have always liked to learn from a source and then go out on my own later, but not everyone likes to learn that way....

    Got my own question to post...

    Best Wishes for a great journey!

    Jeannie

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    SitePoint Addict Newviewit's Avatar
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    I would recommend getting your hands dirty and building a website from scratch. Books can teach you but nothing beats the real thing.

    -Use Xampp for hosting website on your computer to play around with.
    -If you have the resources try out Dreamweaver for coding as it can simplify things with their tutorials and features
    -Tons of helpful tutorials and forums that will supply all the information and resources you will ever need for free...
    UNLIMITED Domains - UNLIMITED Disk Space - UNLIMITED Bandwidth
    *Black Friday - Website Hosting Deal of The Year - 50% OFF!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newviewit View Post
    I would recommend getting your hands dirty and building a website from scratch. Books can teach you but nothing beats the real thing.

    -Use Xampp for hosting website on your computer to play around with.
    -If you have the resources try out Dreamweaver for coding as it can simplify things with their tutorials and features
    -Tons of helpful tutorials and forums that will supply all the information and resources you will ever need for free...
    Nothing beats experience when learning something. Dreamweaver is a very popular editor.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohoutek View Post
    I don't think there's a wrong or right in approaching a new topic of interest. We all learn very differently, and what might be the perfect approach to Joe, could be absolutely useless to Jane, and vice versa.

    I was once recommended a PHP book by someone who had sworn that it was the most intuitively written, easy to comprehend book on PHP that was on the market. That person had read a dozen or more books on PHP. I bought it and it turned out that the approach taken in that book didn't work at all for me. I bought a different book and the approach used by the author was much more compatible with the way my brain functions and comprehends.

    I think many of us had that experience in school where one teacher taught you something and you grasped it right away, and then you had another teacher trying to teach you the exact same thing and he left you with more question marks in your head than your braincells would ever care to cope with.

    I think that is the general problem with the usefulness of recommending something to someone you don't know; you can make them, but it's best for someone to read a few pages of a book and decide whether or not it works for him.

    Yeah.. books that explain stuff like this that may be easily understandable for some.. are like reading Latin for others.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohoutek View Post
    I bought a different book and the approach used by the author was much more compatible with the way my brain functions and comprehends.
    I teach middle and high school "alternative" kids, and I've taught web design to them. I used the Head First HTML/CSS book, and it was terrific. It is based on brain research; there is a lot going on under its "Cool! Wow!" exterior. I can't recommend it and the HF Web Design book highly enough.

  21. #21
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    That's spooky Max, in another thread (someone asking for an editor recommendation for kids) alongside saying that they should probably hand code and use a book (to assist them) rather than WYSIWYG (and getting bad habits) I recommended that exact title!

  22. #22
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    You can take these online tutorials to learn designing.Books can teach you but nothing beats the real things!

  23. #23
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    You guys are incredibly helpful. I recently purchased the book HTML, XHTML, & CSS 6th edition, its a pretty good book so far, nice for a reference book.

    I wanna get in and get my hands dirty, it's just hard to come up with ideas and what not.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Black Max's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    That's spooky Max, in another thread (someone asking for an editor recommendation for kids) alongside saying that they should probably hand code and use a book (to assist them) rather than WYSIWYG (and getting bad habits) I recommended that exact title!
    Same problems, same solutions.... As for spooky, I'll ask the ghost of the old lady that lives in my house. Doubt she's much on Web design, though.

  25. #25
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Max View Post
    I teach middle and high school "alternative" kids, and I've taught web design to them. I used the Head First HTML/CSS book, and it was terrific. It is based on brain research; there is a lot going on under its "Cool! Wow!" exterior. I can't recommend it and the HF Web Design book highly enough.

    I've never read a Head First book. Thanks for the information. Do you know whether all books by Head First are treated with the same/similar methodology?
    Maleika E. A. | Rockatee | Twitter | Dribbble




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