so you want to be a developer?

Web development

Do you find yourself asking where do I begin in web development?.

If you are like me and get easily distracted click here for the short version

This is the first post in my series of cheat sheets for anyone looking to start developing websites professionally. I look forward to your questions and sharing ideas with you.

the basic process.
basic-process-of-web-development

  • Register domain and get a web host.
  • Write code.
  • Upload pages to server.
  • Point domain name to server and view your website

Of course this is assuming you have a designer and you are given a layout of what the page should look like. If not then you need a design, content, seo and all the bells and whistles that make a successful website. However we are only talking about developing right now, and you probably have questions. So here we go!

What languages should I learn to start development?
For starters you should ask yourself, “What type of things do you want to develop?”

I am a front end developer /SEO analyst and Video Editor. Being a front end developer means I control how a website functions/looks and plays. I start with HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript using the Jquery library. I also play with PHP, MySQL and XML to help compliment some functionally of our sites when dealing with eCommerce and sitemap indexing. At home I tinker with c++ and c# to program video games (still a work in progress)


Lets define some buzz words.
Language Libraries: Jquery for starters.
The best way to describe a language library is, essentially, this: someone took the time to write a bunch of functions into a variable and gave us a list of them to use with a shorter syntax. Boom. That’s about it.

Example: In javascript if you wanted to change the background color of the body on load you would type

function changeBackground(color) { document.body.style.background = color; } 

onload="changeBackground('blue');"

//When using jquery you could simply put:

 $('body').css('background', ' #3AAABB);

What are frameworks?
Frameworks are a lot like libraries only for the entire web development process. It is a gallery of pre made JavaScript, CSS and HTML. They ultimately make the development process easier. There are many frameworks including getskeleton and foundation
The one I use the most when building a responsive website is bootstrap. (Read about Responsive Design)


What programs should I use to start being a web developer?
Part of being a good developer is knowing which programs compliment your trade. Below I will list the programs both free and paid that I use daily in order to be more efficient. There are other options, but unless you want to do the research yourself, just take my word for it and grab these freebies.

writing code: web-coding-software-sublimetxtMany users can stick with the stock text editor provided with your operating system (like notepad and text edit). However in order to become a better developer you should really head here and grab Sublime TXT. This great program lays out your code in color formatting along with providing hundreds of plugins to make you a faster developer. One of the biggest benefits is that it helps keep you more organized if you have multiple projects at once. I cannot stress how beneficial sublime text is. The best part is it’s free!! I do suggest buying it though just to support the cause and invest into better editions of the software. That’s the NERD in me.

There are other options such as CODA (mac) https://panic.com/coda/

ftp (file transfer protocol)
FTP Programs let you upload your websites from your computer to the host/web server. (see my blog post on choosing a web server and registering a domain)..I use filezilla. why? Because it’s free and has never let me down. With this you can manage multiple sites and quickly access your server

image processing:the-goodies-of-development-programs
There are some freebies out there like GIMP and Inkscape for both vector and raster images. However, we tend to rely on the big boys like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. It is very important to learn how to edit images, because being a developer professionally means a designer gives you the image files and you need to cut, dice and crop images out to use in your code to turn a multi layered Photoshop document into a fully functional web page.

extras goodies:

Xenu Link Checker
This tool will crawl your website and find any broken links including email, images and url links. Very handy when trying to make sure the user experience is A+

smart git
This allows you to create a save state, stage and commit changes to your website. It is great for reverting back to old copies of the site to make sure you never mess anything up. It also shows you side by side each line of code that has changes since the last commit. Very useful.

navicat-lite
This program is super handy when dealing with sql database driven sites. It allows you to enter the tables that create the back end structures and edit them live on the server. AKA. WordPress/Opencart and things like that. (this program is only for the more experienced user)

Open Office/Word Excel
A lot of the times content comes down the pipeline from clients/customers in this format. It is good to be able to open it.

Server Software: Apache and Ubuntu
This is really only important if you are running things like php that need to be rendered while you work on them. For the basic html, css and JavaScript you don’t need a local server.

These are the basic tools I use daily as a professional web developer. I’m currently writing a post called development 101 the basics, so keep an eye out. I hope this helps.

FOR THE EASILY DISTRACTED

LANGUAGES: HTML5/CSS3/Javascript. (BASICS)
and the more advanced…PHP/ MYSQL/PEARL/RUBY/JAVA/c++/C#/LUA…. There is a list.

PROGRAMS:

FREE:
SublimeTxt Code for PC
Filezilla FTP
GIMP Rasterized Images
Inkscape Vector Images
Xenu link checker
Open office Word/Excel
Smart GIT web backup/restore utility

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