Learning the fundamentals of Web Development is an important skill for just about anyone to have, especially if they are making at least part of their income from creating and managing websites.
At RocketTheme, we pride ourselves on building templates and extensions that are easy to customize and use, without having to delve into advanced scripting. Even with this in mind, a little know-how can open the door to a whole new world of possibilities.
For example: With a little HTML knowledge, and a basic understanding of CSS, you can create rich, unique custom modules that present your content in a way no other site on the Web does. It allows you to take the founding the template or theme makes possible, and bring it to the next level.
In this article, we will touch on some of the online courses that can help you get started with Web development, as well as share some of our team’s tips.
There are hundreds of online courses out there that can give you a fundamental understanding of just about anything you would need to know about Web development. From basic HTML to MySQL database management, there really is no limit to what you can learn. Many of these courses are even offered for free.
OSTraining is one of the leading online training sites on the Web for anyone that wants to learn more about Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, and even more general topics like HTML and SEO (search engine optimization). With over 500 live classes given, and an entire library of video courses to help you get started, it is definitely worth looking into.
OSTraining has several free courses to get you started, but its more detailed classes require a subscription, which start at $25/month.
Udemy is a giant source of online training courses on just about any subject you could imagine. Each class is held to its high standards of production and content, and the money you pay goes to the instructor, with a percentage going to Udemy.
Classes at Udemy generally run around $99-199, with plenty of free courses available for learning Web development. A brief search revealed a 42-part course on HTML5 available, absolutely free.
This recommendation came from Kevin DuCommon, who advised: “Codrops is an awesome site for tutorials and resources for all levels. There is always something interesting and inspiring on there, with step by step instructions, examples to download and play with, etc.”
Codrops has an entire library of useful tutorials that can be accessed for free. There is even a playground set up where you can try out some of these creations to find out how they work.
Codeacademy has a whole new take on learning code, and it’s free. It leads you through the learning process by having you type in the code, and see the results as you enter it in. While doing this, the site gives you detailed instruction to help you understand not only what something does, but why and how it does it.
You enroll in a class by selecting the project you want to take on. Once you enroll, you are given step-by-step instructions on how to build the project. It’s up to you to edit the source code to add each element, and your work is checked after each individual step has been completed.
Getting started with Web development can be tricky. There are so many different platforms and standards to keep up with. Each site you see on the Web is likely made up of several different types of code, each contributing an important piece of the page.
Each browser has its own set of compatible technologies and scripts that should be taken into account when a site is being developed. You want each page to look great on just about any browser your visitors are likely to use. This can mean sacrificing advanced functionality in favor of compatibility, or working a way for individual browsers to load the page differently. This can be a lot to keep up with, especially as new standards come out.
Reggie Simmons suggested using developer tools built in to the browser to see how some of your favorite sites are made. Chrome DevTools and Firefox Developer Tools are among the best tool sets out there right now, and you can learn a lot from them.
Arifin FinLy passed along this resource list from Dan Edwards which contains a virtual treasure trove of useful links and information for Web developers and designers. You can never have too many good resources to work from when you are creating a site.
Djamil Legato also suggested the HTML guide from the Mozilla Developer Network as an excellent resource for anyone that wants to learn HTML and/or quickly look up any elements or attributes to find out what they do.
Kevin DuCommon added, “Shay Howe has an excellent overview of basic HTML and CSS elements in his online guide.” He continued, “Webmaker also has some excellent resources to help you learn by example.”
The best way to learn how to do something is to try to do it yourself. Use a sandbox server and start creating. Don’t be afraid to fail.
When Thomas Edison created the light bulb, he wasn’t successful the first time. He wasn’t even successful with his second, third, fourth, or twentieth attempt. When asked how he felt about having failed so many times to create a working light bulb, he replied (paraphrased): “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully discovered 10,000 ways to not make a light bulb.”
Web development works pretty much the same way. You can pick up the syntax and learn the different elements needed to build something, but trial and error will teach you how to improve on it, and make it your own.