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Which Software to start learning first

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by savvie, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. savvie

    savvie New Member

    Hello

    I'm a print Graphic Designer and Illustrator and know I now want to learn a list of other of software applications for web. I wonder if someone can recommend the most important of the following for me to start learning first in terms of (a.) employability and (b.) which software needs to be understood first for the next to follow on etc:

    Flash
    Dreamweaver
    HTML
    After Effects
    Wordpress

    I also wanted to ask what is the "best" program for building a website and which is the best for creating mobile applications?

    Many thanks
     
  2. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    It's not software that you need. Web development is about coding, and no software will write code correctly 100% of the time. You have to do this manually, and for that you'll need a good understanding of HTML and CSS. These are the foundations of any website. Take time to learn how to do it properly, i.e. so that it validates. Take a look at W3 Schools.

    There are some programs out there that will allow you to create a website visually, but the code will be horrible, and won't do you any favours in terms of SEO. If you want to do it properly then you have to take time to learn to do it properly from scratch, writing code a line at a time using a text editor (just save the document as a *.HTML file).

    Also, forget Flash, it's pretty much dead except for a few exceptions.
     
  3. savvie

    savvie New Member

    Hi Paul, thanks for your reply.

    So whats happens for animations and movement - if you don't use flash can you do this with html/css?

    Also - it terms of SEO - are there resources you would recommend to help me get up to scratch with it? I know what it is but I don't know how its influenced.

    Would you use html/css for mobile and tablet design?
     
  4. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    HTML 5/CSS 3 allows for some fancy functionality. Anything that isn't handled by those will likely be PHP or some other function. Mobile and tablet sites are but together in much the same way. Look into "responsive web design" to learn about creating one site that works the same way on mobile devices without requiring different versions.

    SEO is a bit hard to pin down since what work and what doesn't is very opinion based. The best thing I can recommend is learning how to use HTML tags properly (when to use a H1 tag rather than a H3 for example). If your code validates correctly then that's a good start. Next, keep your page load time down to a minimum. There are javascript functions such as minify.js that help to remove extra space from your code when your pages load. This speeds up load time quite a bit when used in conjunction with other tricks (keeping your image sizes small, for example).

    Finally, ensure the words and phrase you want to get ranked for are used on your site liberally but naturally. Search engine algorithms are smart and can detect 'keyword stuffing. Write copy for readers, not for search engines. Also, try and keep your site updated regularly. Many people recommend having a blog so that search engines have a reason to crawl your site often.
     
    LovesPrint and savvie like this.
  5. savvie

    savvie New Member

    Thanks!
     
  6. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    Wordpress and Freeway. Anything more than that get someone else to code it.
     
  7. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    In regards to learning SEO, the Google documentation on their website is a great place to start. It's a twisty beast is SEO, very opinionated, with some science, but lots of speculation. And, once you've got the hang of it, Google come along with a new update and change it all again ;) Fun, but irritating.
     
  8. SDGSteve

    SDGSteve New Member

    Have to say I only find SEO gets confusing when there are lots of changes and forums/blogs are clogged with people dishing out poor or out of date advice, there has always been a foundation of "white hat" techniques which have always worked and probably always will (good on page keyword density and quality backlinks primarily), it's only when you get bad advice or chance a few short cuts that things start going bad! Learning SEO should be well after the other stuff though, not many people do it all, usually you'll tend to the design side or the SEO side.
     
  9. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    Seo is mostly bullshit IMO. The best way to get visitors is to make a good, interesting site, change it frequently and publicise the hell out of it on and offline. So many people waste so much money with so-called 'experts'. You also have to ask what your site is for. Lots of people use theirs as an online catalogue/portfolio, which means most people that go there are sent there personally. People will very rarely find your site and give you work out of the blue, just like they didn't previously find you in the Yellow pages and give you work, it's mostly recommendations, word of mouth and networking. That's not to say you should ignore the very basics - no flash, html text with keywords etc, but just my two penneth...
     
  10. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    Coincidentally, that's one of the best "SEO" techniques too. I'm not a massive believer in SEO, just posting good frequent content that people can learn from or engage with.
     
  11. RiseResolution

    RiseResolution New Member

    Learn to write HTML in notepad first, seriously. Forget about using dreamweaver and stuff...

    Don't get me wrong I love and would be lost without dreamweaver; but I only use as a pretty tabbed notepad with syntax highlighting, FTP, and good search tools.

    Im not saying dont ever use the WYSIWYG features... but only use them in specific situations to makes it easier for you, NOT because that is how u learned to create web pages and is the only way you know how to do it.

    Tizag Tutorials

    This website is an EXCELLENT place to start.

    Good luck :D

    Feel free to message me if you get stuck or anything
     
  12. Tony Hardy

    Tony Hardy Well-Known Member

    I'd be tempted to use something like Coda for markup etc. Links directly in with an FTP uploader too, so you can save your files and they upload straight away. Pretty cool;
    Coda 2
     
  13. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    I know some of the comments suggest using a plain text editor to learn code. I think you would be best off using one that is at least aimed a programing so it shows syntax formatting so it is easier to read (notepad++ is a good free one on PC for example). Also some basic text editors have some severe limitations. I.e the standard notepad on windows only has one edit and undo level. Beyond that you're going to be stuck with any mistakes you make.

    I use Expresso (mainly for CSS) and TextMate as code editors but I also use Dreamweaver. I've been in jobs where some developers have this obsessive hate for Dreamweaver. I don't get why, its just a tool! It might come from the misconception that anyone using Dreamweaver is going to write rubbish code. This is probably true in some cases where rookies rely on the 'design view' but as I say its only a tool and has some brilliant features providing you get into the good habits all developers should have!

    If you have access to the Adobe creative suite, then I would still recommend Dreamweaver as long as you focus on the code view. It has some great code editing features making it more powerful than a plain text editor. As mentioned in this thread though focus on the technology such as HTML and CSS first and get confortable working out how web pages are setup and structured with the various HTML tags. Then look into how CSS can be used to position and style the content to create the design. Some Dreamweaver tutorials might include some specific Dreamweaver features that might distract you away from learning the fundamentals of HTML and CSS.

    Animation on web pages would be something I would look into after you get the basics right or learn separately. You could look into flash, but its really not going to be around for that much longer other than advertising banners. One other piece of software you suggested was After Effects which is really a video composition / fx package rather than anything to do with websites directly, so it depends how interested you are on websites compared to learning video and animation.

    Mobile applications - this is a whole specialist area which would be something I wouldn't look at just yet unless you are really keen to dedicate a lot of your time into it since it goes way beyond basic HTML and CSS mobile applications are . Its probably a running before you can walk situation.

    I would not advise against trying to learn lots of different things though. This is what I did. Its just being realistic about expectations with how you expect to progress since becoming 'advanced' at any one of these areas is going to take a lot of time.
     
  14. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    Seriously, just use Freeway or Wordpress templates and get someone else to code anything more complicated. Coding is a bitch. Stick to what you're good at. You can mark up the cost of the coding part and you'll still make more money than struggling away for days and days trying to do it yourself.
     

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