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Network Engineer to Web Developer...NEED ADVICE


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Thanks to killersites for this terrific forum. I was a Network Engineer for 12 years and left the industry last year.


I just moved into web development and have been working with a graphic designer. Basically he designs the site, makes the images in Photoshop and then I put them together in Dreamweaver CS5. Nothing fancy.


I am trying to improve my skills and understanding of the web landscape. The infinite technologies are making my head spin--ASP, PHP, CMS, AJAX etc. Short of building an ecommerce site, I can't even understand how they are used (most of the sites I have done are just static informational sites)


Can anyone give me any advice on moving to more dynamic, data driven design & development skills? For example, what combination of tools you use to bring it all together (Dreamweaver, Drupal, MySQL).


I have no mentors to learn from like I did when I worked in the corporate world, so I could really use some help.


Jon Cullen

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You will get other more comprehensive answers to your inquiry here than this very basic one from me. I still consider myself a beginner.


Dreamweaver and Frontpage and other such WYSIWYG web development tools are just that. Tools. They write HTML and CSS for you. Until and unless you learn the basics of those two "languages" you are in essence working blind. You will have no understanding of WHY things appear as they do!


HTML is used to introduce the CONTENT of your website (Headings, paragraphs, images etc.)

CSS gives those elements STYLE that you specify (Main headings are 24pt, bold, Times New Roman in color with a drop-shadow. Paragraphs are 12pt .......etc.) You get the idea?


Best of luck, and don't be daunted. HTML and CSS are not terribly difficult to master.



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Thanks for taking the time to respond Alfie! Yes, HTML and CSS are the way to go. I've actually been using them for a long time. They are basically my foundation for web design.


I am trying expand my skills and it seems lots of site are built with web frameworks like Drupal, Joolma, Wordpress, etc. I've never built a database drive site, so I am trying to figure out where to begin.

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Sites like Joomla, Wordpress, etc are easy to work with. Everything is done for you with the exception of some details you may want to improve/alter to fit your needs.


If you are thinking of creating your CMS then that is whole 'nother thing altogether which requires strong php skills along with an strong knack on how to code it from hackers hacking into your site.


Not to discourage you but if you want to get your hands dirty then try out one of those CMS that you've mentioned and then toy around with codes to see what works and what doesn't work. Intalling and setting up those ready made CMS's are relatively easy.


And if you want to dig in deeping on how php works then check out Stef's videos.

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