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A couple comments:

 

-- Keep in mind that HTML5 is an emerging technology, and a lot of the cutting edge stuff isn't supported in all browsers. See http://caniuse.com/ for list of what browsers support what. There are some things, like http://code.google.com/p/html5shiv/, which help older browsers like IE7 support basic HTML5 elements.

 

-- What is required to make a "nice site" really depends on the design and your goals. At the minimum, you'd need HTML/CSS/Photoshop skills. You could also include Javascript/jQuery/AJAX if you need more interactivity/animation, and potentially PHP/MySQL if you're needing things that basic HTML/CSS doesn't support (user login, emailing contact forms, etc.). C++ isn't a web language, so I doubt you will find it useful on the web (thought it may be useful for other things).

 

-- HTML5 is definitely the future, and I think you'll see that HTML5/Javascript & jQuery are getting used a lot more often than Flash. However, also keep in mind that there are limitations to what HTML5/Javascript can do, so those technologies don't replace Flash 100%.

 

-- You're going to find much better resources online than in a library. Unless you have a library with super new books, I think you'll find that anything there will be old and out of date. Libraries tend not to be very good for learning about emerging technologies. You'd be better off looking at places like:

 

http://killersitesuniversity.com/ and the various sites in the KillerSites network

http://www.codeschool.com/

http://www.lynda.com/

http://net.tutsplus.com/

http://www.tizag.com/

etc.

 

-- The forum could be running slow for a variety of reasons... hard to say. It could be partially your internet connection. It's a large web application, so it's not going to be as fast as some other, smaller forum scripts. The use of HTML5 shouldn't slow a browser down, but the extensive use of Javascript/jQuery could.

 

-- For making a forum, that's something that you'd most likely use a pre-existing script for. Something like Vanilla Forums, PHPBB, Invision Power Boards, etc. Manually making a forum would be a pretty large amount of work.

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