This is the archive of the old Colorless! Go to the new Colorless →

Where to begin? (Thread)

Hey guys! How are you? So here's the thing, I kinda need a little help, well a lot of help. I've been wanting to start some kind of programming and web design type stuff however I don't know where to start.
We don't have any classes on such a subject at school and there are no places near me that teach computer programming. Think you guys can help?
Btw I'm new to the Colorless so hi! :)

Hello, I'm good, you? Well saying "stuff" doesn't define all too much, but anyways this link might help it's a good site in my opinion and you should be able to learn at least something.


Web design and web programming are two very different things.

I can't really say much about the design part - I am not a designer, it takes me forever to make anything look halfway decent - but generally, to make websites, you'd want to use HTML (for the websites structure) and CSS (for the websites looks), and some graphics program to create graphics for your websites. The graphics program, you'll hopefully be able to find your way around yourself, as for the HTML part:

w3schools, linked above, isn't outright bad, but it is a bit outdated, and often, their tutorials advocate things that are not generally seen as being a good idea anymore. Google has a thorough, though high speed tutorial that starts at zero, HTML, CSS, and Javascript from the Ground Up.

That title already mentions the next thing you'll probably find interesting, Javascript. Thus far, we've had languages that specify presentation, not behaviour - they're for describing what the content of a website is (HTML), and how it looks (CSS). Javascript is a programming language that runs in your browser. If you need code to run there - to, for example, show a preview without reloading the page - you'll want to use javascript for that (In general, you'll want to use it whenever you want to do something without reloading the page, or some more complex user interface part). Googles tutorial also covers some javscript. There are a lot of libraries - packs of pre-made functions - that are commonly used to make javascript development easier (Like jQuery), but sadly, I don't really know much about these. There probably are tutorials on their respective websites. I really only know a decent reference page, mozillas doc center. Javascript probably isn't terribly important to you at first, you might want to skip this and go from CSS right to PHP.

This covers the "front end" - how things look, and what they do in the browser. Once you have these things down (once you have HTML and CSS down, really) you can make static web pages. Usually, you'll want to make dynamic pages, though - pages where users can submit things, pages that are generated dynamically given various parameters, etc etc.

To do that, you'd generally use a programming language running on your server that then outputs HTML. Popular programming languages for that are PHP, Ruby and Perl. Neither of these is significantly better or worse than any of the others, PHP is probably the easiest to get started with (though also the easiest to screw up with). I don't know any good tutorials, but w3schools is probably at least decent. If you've never programmed before, this might be a bit hard at first, but if you keep trying, you'll eventually get the hang of it. Google is your friend for most questions.

In general, at each step, try to make some simple things! A simple website that does nothing but look interesting, javascript code that moves images around on the website, PHP code that allows people to post comments on a site... use your imagination! You only really get better at programming by programming.

One final caveat - if you end up choosing PHP as the language to learn, you'll come to a point where you'll want to access data from a (probably MySQL) database. Practically every tutorial is wrong about this and teaches horrible things that should not be done. Here is how you should access a database in 2011. Otherwise, you'll most likely write terribly insecure code.

Have fun, and don't give up too easily~!

You are on the old site. New site is here:

The site has been updated on the 24th December 2011. Please go there when you are finished with the archives.

  • 481,435 posts
  • 2,075 threads
  • 23,121 users