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Buy books or free online tutorials?

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by Conway, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. Conway

    Conway New Member

    Is it me, or does anyone else find these free online coding tutorials hard to follow?… u know the ones that teach how to code up a psd design into a working html & css file,

    For one thing, they seem very rushed and I often find the people that write them provide very vague descriptions when explaining each step which often leaves me very frustrated when trying to fill in the gaps in my mind, going back and forth over the tutorial and finding, even though I have followed the tutorial step by step, what I produce almost never works which often leaves me very frustrated.

    The trouble is, these designers that write these tutorials seem to think they can simply take off there designers hat and replace it with a teaching cap, well I’m afraid to say it’s not quite as a simple as that, teaching a process that the author may well be familiar with, in this case (converting a psd into a working html and css design) is a complicated process and unfortunately a lot of them overlook this fact and end up producing a glossed over tutorial which is ridiculously hard to follow and very unhelpful.

    *A message for all web designers that participate in writing these tutorials - teaching is a skilled profession that has to be learn t like any other profession. if your going to participate in writing these tutorials make sure you explain each step clearly and don't assume just because you can easily understand it, that everyone else will, cause they won't and often, can't.

    So my advice is this, any other designers that need to learn how to code websites is this, go buy and invest in some of the web design books found on amazon, you'll know which are the best ones to buy by reading the customer reviews, it may mean you forking out a bit of cash for now but least you will learn the correct way from the start in a well explained manner, rather than being left frustrated and time wasted from free online tutorials. they are free for a reason, because they are rubbish!!!!

    Anyone else had a similarly frustrating experience trying to follow these free online tutorials? or ones from a design magazine like computer arts, which are equally bad!!!

    if so please comment..........
  2. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    I tried using tutorials online but in the end went and got a book. If you are serious about learning something you have to invest a bit. . . you wouldn't jump in a car and go out and drive without a lesson, would you? Now if I need to find how to do a particular thing I at least have some knowledge and can find a tutorial I can follow.
  3. nitin888

    nitin888 New Member

    One of the websites which I like is

    W3Schools Online Web Tutorials

    There is a lot of material about HTML and CSS. A book is the best option but you can try this website if you're an online learner .
  4. sarah_a

    sarah_a Member

    I agree with you, what books would you say worked best for you? I have had very basic teaching when it comes to web design, I want to enhance my skills. I am thinking about buying Web design for dummies or something...

    hmm I have been looking around I just dont know what is better or not...

  5. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    I used Head First HTML & CSS - which takes you through building a website or two from scratch. It's a bit quirky but certainly has enabled me to understand html & CSS. I now find I can use the web to find out how to do more. I have also used which is on-line training. I had a free trial. W3Schools mentioned above is also good.
  6. IS-James

    IS-James Member

    My advice would be to get a book that teaches you the main techniques and then also pick up the O'Reilly pocket guide so you have something to refer to when you can't remember the names of attributes etc.

    The book I read when I first started was Eric Meyer on CSS. It goes through all of the basics and is very easy to follow.

    One of the other big things for beginners is to get a decent editor. Something with syntax highlighting makes it so much easier to spot mistakes. Grabbing Notepad++ and turning syntax highlighting and function completion on saves loads of time and effort spent trying to work out why a layout is broken and then finding it is because you missed a semi-colon or a typo in a attribute name.
  7. rgregory

    rgregory Member

    Books I would recommend are The CSS Anthology by Rachel Andrew, CSS Mastery by Andy Bud and Handcrafted CSS by Dan Cederholm - in that order I felt like they really helped me to go from beginner to more intermediate in terms of coding. I agree that the editing suite in Dreamweaver also helps by highlighting potential problems and i'm a big fan of Adobe TV and DocType for video tutorials/inspiration.

    Another really good tool is firebugs inspection tool, a lot of times i'm on a cool site and i'd like to know how to achieve some of the results and firebug really aids understanding.
  8. kyee

    kyee New Member

    there is such a wealth of free content (often better and wider scope than available in books) on various blogs and networks. Personally, I wouldnt waste my money if I was you :)

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