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What's the landscape like...

Steven YaegerII
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Joined: May 31, 2000
Posts: 182
I'm wondering a few things about the web-design industry, specifically about HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Which version of each is the best to learn if you want to get hired? With imperfect browser compatibility, it would seem that a less modern version would be more supported. But then, I guess the newer versions would also replace the older ones. Any ideas? Would HTML4.01, JavaScript3.1, and CSS2 (??) be about right?
And, do most paid web-authors write DTD specific documents?
bill bozeman
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Joined: Jun 30, 2000
Posts: 1070
I have been doing HTML, Javascript and CSS for about 2 years now and there is really no specefic version you should stick with. Go with HTML 4, but there are something in prior version that have been deprecated that are still worth knowing like the font tags. As for Javascript, js 2.0 and up is good if you want the widest range of browser support, and with CSS, I would start with 1 and work my way up. CSS can be a bit more of a bear, but once you get a good sheet going, then you just reuse it for all of the sites you do.
Somethings you didn't mention that would be helpful also as you get more experienced with HTML are DHTML, ASP, CGI, and of course your full range of Java stuff like JSP, Servlets, Applets, and Beans.
It is also good to know about image processing, and to have a good photo software (IMO, Photoshop is probably the best) and know about colors, fonts, and layout.
This is how I went about doing what I am doing. First I learned databasing, but that part is not necessary at first.
HTML came next and this is quite easy. Learn everything you can about tables, forms, frames, img, href, and you are good to go.

Javascript came next, and this is also pretty easy. Learn everything about form validation, rollovers, window opening and manipulation, and browser sniffing and you are in good shape there. (There is a lot more about JS, but the above is what I use over and over.
CSS came next, and I only spent about a week with this. Like I said, get a good sheet that works on both browsers and make this an include file. Then you can just reuse that sheet over and over on all of you future sites by just changing some of the values.
DHTML came next as this is just the combination of Javascript and CSS. This can be a nightmare to get to work on all platforms and browsers, but you can do some pretty cool stuff with it. With this one, I learned a lot of the basics, and some great sites ( to help you out when you need it. You don't end up using DHTML all the time, but it is good to know what it can do so when you do need it.
ASP came next. This is a lot easier than Java, and much easier to start practicing with on your on machine, if you are Windows. Not as powerful as Java, but still a very popular server side language and easy to pick up. Learn everything about form validation, looping, conditional statements, response.writes, server variables, session variables, and database connectivity (ADO). Also try to write things in functions or procedures as this is a procedural language. (Like I said, I knew databasing alrady so SQL and database design made the ADO stuff pretty easy. If you don't know SQL, this would be a good time to learn it).
With knowledge of all that, you will be able to develop powerful applications for Window servers (IIS, because ASP only runs on windows servers unless you have Chilisoft's version for Unix). I also ended up picking up on stuff like ColdFusion, some Perl (but not much) and CGI.
Next step for me has been Java, which is why I am at this site all the time. I have been studying Java for about 3 months now, and I love the language. Admittingly it is harder than any of the above, but it is the logical next move.
Hope that helps you some and good luck to you. Ask more questions if you get stuck with a particular item.

[This message has been edited by bill bozeman (edited November 15, 2000).]
Frank Carver

Joined: Jan 07, 1999
Posts: 6920
One thing I have noticed is that commercial web athoring is a real jungle. The market is flooded with people with a little bit of experience willing to work for peanuts to "get a foot in the door", and customer expectations are often wildly unrealistic.
Good luck.

Read about me at ~ Raspberry Alpha Omega ~ Frank's Punchbarrel Blog
Steven YaegerII
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 31, 2000
Posts: 182
Thanks alot for the perspective guys. I'm going to start getting my feet wet in other areas and wanted to narrow the field a bit. After looking at the HTML4.01 spec, it threw me a little.
I can identify with your statement, Frank. I'd probally work for peanuts just to get some real experience.
Thanks again,
I agree. Here's the link:
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