Hello there. All of a sudden I remember that I was supposed to learn web design. That what I was telling myself back in 1999 when I was writing "welcome to my site its under construction" in multiple colors using wordpad. So now 13 years later I decided to put the hours in and do my best to spend a good 60 minutes every day to learn more than just the basics. I know a few things from back then, just really really basic stuff like what 'br' and stuff like that means, but if I'm watching the code from one of those free templates its still a wall of text that is slightly confusing. And the CSS....I got to wrap my brain around that one. I found this site by lucky accident and it seems like a giant library of 'know how' filled with people who know their trade. So now a Facebook like later I look forward to learning web design! I do have one starter question in case anyone reads this and that is regarding java scripts and the likes.....must one learn java in order to create web sites? -Tomas

Hi Tomas and welcome.

The answer is: Java is not neccessary. To create a website, theoreticaly, HTML is enough. In practice CSS is a must also (to make page look nice and to de-couple contents and design) as well as Javascript (to do many client side things like form validation etc). Now, more complex web applications deal with data which will bring you to server side scripting and databases. Here, Java can be used a sa a server side tecnology, it is powerful and professional web server platforms exist. But I am not really knowledgeable here, I use PHP - avery popular server scripting language. Others are Ruby, ASP variations etc. On the database side MySql is very popular since it is opensource (free) and widely supported. But you are not limited to mySql if your company owns (or you are skilled in) some other DB system.

In other words: Java or not Java: there is a lot to learn (continously).

Just to clarify for Tomas because he mentioned both JavaScript and Java in his question..

They are not the same technology although many that are just getting into the web field may not be aware of that.

For starters, you definately want to get your HTML and CSS foundation. That's very important.

JavaScript is very useful and you will want to learn how to incorporate it into your sites. Not to worry, you can learn the basics of javascript pretty quickly. After the basics, you can pickup on jQuery which is simply a javascript library. it helps you do javascript, but much faster with fewer lines of code. Javascript is used for client side development.

Next, in my opinion, would be Ajax. Again, it sounds comlicated, but there not much to to basic Ajax. Ajax allows you to interact with server-side scripting very nicely without having to refresh the page, as well as other things, but dont worry about that now.

Now, As broj1 mentions, there are server side scripting languages (PHP, ASP.NET, JAVA, ASP, etc.. This is where the power is turned on. With server side scripting, you can connect your site to a data source and introduce a whole new set of features on your site such as providing the ability to send messages.

Thanks a bunch broj1 and JorgeM for the input, much apreciated.

I think I will first learn html and then CSS and then later javascript. What are your thoughts on flash? When should I start learning it?

You'll also want to make sure that while you are learning HTML, you continue with HTML5. Even though its not a specification (estimated for 2014), there are quite a bit of new elements that include audio and video.

You may find that while Flash is being used, leveraging HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript may be a better alternative, especially if the web developers/broswers are moving away from Flash. No offense to any Flash developers..

I can not comment on Flash since I have never used it on my sites. I had an odd bad experience with sites using Flash in past (see note below) but that does not mean that I can criticize it right away. I think it is a tool to use for some special group of customers (musicians use it often maybe, and artists due of many possibilities for rich visual content and interacion) but more important these days is progresive enhancement (supporting many browsers), SEO friendlines (search engines find you and rank you high), maintanability, scalability, which are quite harder to reach with Flash.

HTML5 and CSS3 are still finding their places in web browsers. Together with Javascript these technologies will enable much more riches and probably do what Flash already does today. I think it is worth learnig them since they are standardized and not proprietary - but this is my personal view, I do not want to start new war :-)

Just a note: last night I was going to check on http://www.felixbaumgartner.com/ how preparations go for the maddest skydive in human history and saw only a black screen in my Firefox on Fedora linux. I had to hack for next quarter of hour to access the content which is in Flash.

Thanks again for your replies.

Well well well, after looking at it I think I'm going to skip flash when the time comes, and go for HTML5 and CSS3. I have much much reading a head of me. I did start playing around with notepad at work today, but due to the intranet at work I was unable to test it in a browser because our work platform and internet browser are completely separated for security reasons. I do however have Dreamweaver on my office desktop but it really annoys me because it has some type of auto fill function. So if I'm going to close a tag, lets say a font tag then the program pastes a tag while I'm writing it manually so I always have to manually delete one. But I guess that is a luxury problem.

Oh and how about that Felix, hope there are some photage of the event.

While we are at it, the editors play some part here, too. If you are on windows have a look at Notepad++ (http://notepad-plus-plus.org). It is nice free editor that higlights html, css, javascript, php and others and makes mistakes stand out so they are easy to spot and correct. I prefer coding html by hand (not with WYSIWYG editors) so I exactly know what is going on.

I will stick to notepad, I like having a clean screen. Thanks for the tip on notepad++, I didnt even know that it existed.