Journal of a Geek

Things you should know before doing web development…

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Starting from around the 10th grade, I got interested in programming. When I broke my ankle my junior year, I got interested in HTML and web programming. Since then I have been getting more and more involved in web development. I am of course still learning things about web development and do not consider myself a master by any means. But if you are looking to get into web development seriously, these are some things you should really learn about:

1) The basics of computer programming. Even though HTTP is a stateless language, programming for it still follows many of the same rules as a normal state language. You still need to learn what variables, data types, logic statements, loops, data structures, classes, and functions are.

2) Basic HTML. After the programming is done, all web development breaks down to basic HTML. When Ruby on Rails or PHP generates a page from a database, it turns into a basic HTML page. Also, most web programming is done based some what on tags. Knowing HTML will make the whole concept of using tags much easier to grasp.

3) SQL. Nothing lately has influenced my web development skills more than learning SQL. It doesn’t matter if you use mySQL, SQLite, Orcale, SQL Server, or one of the many other database variants. These are all based of basic SQL. Databases begin to open up the whole idea of dynamic web pages. If I can figure out how to store the data in the database easily, I can easily call it back up in any format I want.

4) Learn a web specific language. Once you have a good grasp of programming and database, you can start fooling around with web programming languages. There are a lot of languages and frameworks (helpers for a language designed to make it easier) out there. I would recommend ASP.NET, Ruby on Rails, or PHP.

5) Google. Google is probably the world’s best reference guide for programming, and the best part is that it’s free! You can pretty much type in what you are looking to do, and chances are someone once did it and put it on the web.

6) Stay informed about new web technologies. The main resource I use is TechCrunch and its podcast TalkCrunch.

This is pretty much the path I took learning web programming and development. It may not be the best approach, but it has worked for me. The most important thing is to keep playing with whatever language you are learning. Think of things you want to learn to do and see if you can do them. Also helpful is to look for examples online, and then play around with them to learn what each part of the example does. I hope you find this helpful.

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Written by Ryan Farnell

June 5, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Posted in Web Development

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