Complete newbie looking for tips what to learn


I would like to start learning web design, I have never done anything like this. Trying to find a tutorial on the Internet is a bit overwhelming and I feel like I need to be pointed to a place to start.

I prefer learning new skills by committing to a project. Here I am thinking about a website-database of a special collectibles category with items having a list of specific characteristics and a search engine that can filter items out according to those characteristics. I would also like to be able to people register and login on the website to add those items as “owned” and perhaps be able to add new items to the database. The number of people accessing would be small.

Is it possible for you to say where should I turn to start? Which course should I take? Maybe something specific to read? I strongly suspect that this is not an easy task but I am willing to commit to this.


I think you might be jumping quite far ahead with what you want to make. Database driven websites with user generated content take quite a bit of understanding. Not only do you have to understand how to get everything to talk to each other but there are numerous security issues that have to be thought about.

If you are really just begining I’d advise you stick to more simple static webpages to start with to understand the basic principles. I’d look at html5 and CSS and look to create a simple responsive webpage that is validated, fast, SEO friendly, cross browser compatible etc.

It’s a bit old now but look up CSS Zen garden website. It aims to show you the princple of separating the content of the page from the styling.

Hopefully others will agree that’s a reasonable place to start.


And what about if I cut the user generated content and stick to a database website displaying data created by me? Do you think that it still would be an unreasonable place to start?

well you could do that. There are still some security issues if you do things like allow people to search or return different data dependant on user input i.e forms variables.

The problem is though that database interaction requires a serverside language, so you would need to learn html and PHP (for example there are others but this is pretty common). Then on top of that you’d need to understand how to query your database which would most likely be mysql. so it gets pretty complicated fast.

I’m not saying don’t try. Just start with a simple html page and make sure you get a good bed rock to work from. Once you’ve understood that you can then look to add in the database driven parts. Or you could even just start using a simple text file or XML file and using PHP to pull in values from there. There will be less security issues as it’s just a text file of values.

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All web pages are built with HTML and CSS. I’d say start by getting a good grasp of those before you try to do anything else. They’re not hard to learn and you should be able to make rapid progress. Once you have a solid understanding of the basics, then you can move on to learn whatever else you want.

We see so many members here run into problems because they’ve tried to run before they can walk. Take your time and learn things in a logical order, or you may waste more time trying to troubleshoot and sort out errors caused by lack of knowledge than it would have taken to learn things properly in the first place.


I can only reiterate the sentiments of the other posts, but it can be quite frustraing to see people in the forums who are attempting quite ambitious projects before they have even learnt the basics.
I would go as far to say, having seen so many such cases that “cutting corners” in this way actuallly slows down the developer’s learning progress as they spend time struggling with complex problems when they don’t even understand the simple things, oh, and they struggle with the simple tings too. :smile:

Start simple, take it one small step at a time.
Start making one static page with html & css, add more pages and navigation. Once you are comfortable with doing this and maybe have a more experienced person look at your code, then look at learning server-side programming and databases.

A word of caution, do be careful where you learn from. Anyone can make a tutorial and post on Youtube or their own site, that does not mean they know what they are doing, it just means they think they do. I only say this because another reoccuring theme in the forums are people “learning” from such resources, but the methods are out-dated, dangerously insecure or just plain wrong.
I’m not saying it’s all bad, but there is a lot of bad stuff out there and the newcomer who does not know any better won’t be able to distinguish the good from bad.


I would suggest creating a very basic web-page that displays content such as a hobby or subject that is well known, for example a record collection, list of cooking recipes, etc.

The idea is to concentrate on the web page layout and not having to think about the content.

Also learn to validate the html and CSS and to Goigle for solutions by pasting the errors and warnings.

That’s really nice that you are showing your interest to learn about web design. There are a number of resources available online with the help of which you can get to know many things about the website design. The second option is you can take the assistance of professionals who can guide you towards the correct path and can help you to gather all the important information about it. Go ahead with the option you feel comfortable with.

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