General Question

woodlandanimals's avatar

How should i start to learn HTML, CSS, and Java?

Asked by woodlandanimals (84points) October 17th, 2007

I’m self taught, and have many holes in my knowledge. If i was going to go through it again….. what are the best free resources for a guided learning experience?

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11 Answers

robhaya's avatar

W3 Schools has some good guided resources on HTML and CSS.

For Java, try Sun Developer Networks there’s a dearth of tutorials on the site. And you might also want to check out IBM developersWork

These are some great free resources, but working on some real world projects will really help get your feet wet and truly understand the technologies better. Especially if you can work alongside an experienced developer or mentor on a project who can help guide you.

Good Luck! I started out the same way 11 years ago. All my knowledge is self taught from books, but the real world experience helps brings everything you learn and more together.

osakarob's avatar

Thanks for asking this question woodlandanimals. I was going to post a similar one.
Kudos to Robhaya for his helpful answer!

vishare's avatar

I cosign for W3school. Big thumbs up

segdeha's avatar

Do you mean to ask about Java or JavaScript? They’re not the same thing.

woodlandanimals's avatar

meant JavaScript….. sorry, i shouldn’t post without coffee:)

Mangus's avatar

I think this questions really depends on one’s learning style. For my own part, reading texts on a subject rarely makes it stick. Even going through stepped tutorials doesn’t seem to help me remember stuff. In my own struggles to digest everything CSS, HTML, and javascript related I’ve found only one way to do it.

My strategy is to do project-based learning. Whether it is personal, or for a client, I try not to limit design solutions to my current knowledge set. I conceptualize site designs without regard to what technology, markup or CSS hack is going to be needed to accomplish it (within reason) and then I just go to it. Sometimes this is a slow process, but the reason it works is that the process of thinking through the solution to each problem (i.e. how to make the horizontal menu do what I want, or how to implement a log-in feature, etc.) makes it stick in my head because I connect goals of the project with the problem solving process through to the solution. I bring every resource into the problem-solving process to gain knowledge: W3schools, google searches, etc.

Lately I’ve been refining that process. Sometimes I find a tip in a forum, or buried in a site’s markup/css solution that solves my problem. Now, once I’ve got the solution, I go back to reference sources, like the book “CSS Mastery” by Andy Budd, and figure out WHY the solution worked, and my previous tries did not.

All this helps integrate new information with what I already know in a way that improves retention.

pixelplumber's avatar

Good question Woodlands. We get asked this alot in our neck of the woods.

Our answers are always based on the following:

1. What level of knowledge do you currently have?
2. What level do you aspire to achieve?
3. What are you going to be doing once you learn what you are after?

We can usually steer people towards the right line of learning once we know those things. However, there are some basic starting books we consider mandatory reading for all our new hires:

Designing With Web Standards – Jeffrey Zeldman
Eric Meyer on CSS – Eric Meyer
Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krugg
Defensive Design For The Web – 37 signals
Dom Scripting – Jeremy Keith (for when you want to tackle JavaScript)

If you only read one of the above, DWWS by Zeldman will give you a great perspective on where the web has come since 1995 (back when I started) so that you will have some ideas of why things are getting better. You should be able to get your local library to find you copies of most of those books, or you can pick them up used at any tech book store or Amazon.

As for “free” online resources:

If you are just starting out: – good beginner tutorials – as mentioned above, it goes from beginning to medium in level – some decent tutorials on everything web related, but the message forums there are friendly

Other than that, look at code. View source everywhere you go. When we have students working in our office, we are always watching to see how they learn. The ones that are always looking under the hood of the sites they visit are usually the ones we want to hire (or be worried about stealing our jobs) because they tend to want to learn.

Hope some of this helps. Web development is both a great hobby and a great industry. Just remember to have fun!

woodlandanimals's avatar

Thanks Magnus & Pixelplumber!!! super helpful, and reading lists are really appreciated:)
last week i installed the firefox developers tools and i’ve been looking at the css and sources for every site i like….. it’s starting to actually look like something to me.
And i also took on a couple of projects w/ friends that are bigger then my current skillset…. i guess the best way to accelerate your learning is to accelerate your failures.

thanks everyone!

webmasterwilliam's avatar

I also concur with I think another question you should ask is should you study PHP. The difference between JavaScript and PHP is that JavaScript is code that runs on the user’s computer, while PHP is code that runs on the server. Both are needed, however PHP is more useful for developing websites that are more logic and database driven. It’s actually a well structured language and is fun to code.

Pitbull's avatar

You may find both CSS and HTML at php tutorial Nowdays it is also popular PHP. You may also find tutorials at this resource. I think you have chosen the right way to study.

archananair's avatar

In my opinion you choose w3school .this is a best tutorial for your startu

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