[ I'm not quite sure if I chose the proper section of forum however I will take this risk ;) ]

Hello, I'm young student from eastern Europe. I've been trying to achieve some skills in webmastering (At last I've got some free time to keep focus on that :) )
, however I'm still beginner and I've got several question to more advanced and experienced webmasters.

First of all - which languages are the most useful and necessary? Well, my aim is to build simple but up-to-date and professional websites.

I'm trying to master PHP, MySQL and Java Script. I have heard that Java Script is out-of-date, but I find it very useful to basic visual effects - is that a right approach?

Secondly - browsers. I'm using the lates Firefox. How should I check other browser? Just install all of them, or would you recommend me some other tool?

What about smartphones, tablets, and all portable devices? Where can I read something about preparing websites for various kinds of devices?

And the last thing. What about html5? Could you recommend me some books or articles to get some informations about this new standard?

I'll be glad for any advices and clues ;)

ehm ... are you talking about being a webmaster, or creating webapplications?
a lot of what you are asking depend on information you are not giving yet:
are you going to host your website yourself, if not, what technologies will you use (limited by what the host you will take will support).

there are no 'most usefull' languages, they all have a different syntax, but they all 'get the job done'. sure, in some cases, or for some purposes, you'll want to use one language rather than another, but since you don't explain what you try to write, or what it should do, it's a bit difficult to go deeper into that.

simple but up to date ... even a simple html page can be 'up-to-date', it just won't be dynamic. php is a good choice, but gwt can also help you out. JavaScript out of date? wouldn't say that too soon. it's still a handy scripting language, especially if you go into the whole jQuery experience.

as for browsers, I assume there are ways to test for different browsers without actually installing them all, but I wouldn't know one. The good old test-em will still work, though, but starting with FireFox with Firebug installed is a very good choice, it 'll make your debugging a lot easier.

hey, i am no web design expert yet but i keep myself busy through projects and reading, in my opinion standards are key, and here are some interesting sites about web design standard practices and blogs.

http://www.alistapart.com/
http://www.positioniseverything.net/
http://www.webstandards.org/

keep an objective mind while reading from the internet, theres always stuff to keep and stuff to ignore. There is almost never one unique right solution.

as far as technology goes i'm from a .NET background so i prefer ASP.NET/C# to php

javascript is still very usefull, asp/php work on the server side, you need javascript to handle client side actions to prevent as many post backs as possible.

I recently found out about jquery and ajax, those are also very useful tools you might want to look up, jquery gives you tools in javascript you would not believe!

as far as learning goes, here are my 2 best advice :

1) http://www.w3schools.com/ *awesome*
2) http://www.google.com/ is your best friend

You must learn HTML and CSS before ever touching PHP, SQL and JavaScript, which is NOT out of date, it is used for lots of things, especially in the case of jQuery, which is a library of useful code that reduces the effort to do many things. And many developers show off by making their jQuery scripts freely available.

If you can't use HTML and CSS, you are wasting your time trying to learn PHP, etc. Because web pages are written in HTML, and styled by CSS. PHP is often used to extract data from a database and to write the results, usually using loops, into some html which you have written, or to esend emails, run calculations etc. Javascript, and especially jQuery, give lots of special effects to impress people with.

But if you have no html, no css, there is no point in learning the other languages first. Their job is to enhance the html.

1. There is no 'best language' as very language have its own strength and weakness. PHP, MySQL and Java Script are good language for beginner and I agreed with drjohn that html and CSS is the basic of it. And, AJAX and jQuery will be good for advance.
2. I suggest IE tester used for testing the IE even in old version. As for Chrome and Safari, one of it instealled will be enough as they are both in same platform.
3. About the mobile device, it is basically depending the media width. Hopefully this link will help you.

Meanwhile, if you wish to start from basic, please refer here