Steps to becoming a front-end web developer

There are a few things you have to know in order to be a front-end web developer. Where to start and what to learn. This guide will take you through the steps of becoming a front-end web developer.

First things first

Before we start seeing stuff on the screen, we have to make something out of nothing. We start at the basics of web developing: HTML. This markup language will draw shapes on the web page and display text.

HTML is not only very important, your whole markup will depend on it. Don’t touch CSS yet! We’ll come to that later.
CSS is worthless with a bad markup supporting it.

1. Learn HTML

  1. Learn basic HTML
  2. Learn about xhtml and validation
  3. Make valid xhtml and validate

Learning perfect HTML will take some time but it will really pay off later. It’s way easier to prevent mistakes and track down bugs when the markup is perfect.

Next step is what you’ve been waiting for; applying CSS.

2. Know CSS

  1. How to apply CSS
  2. Know all the important aspects of styling
  3. Learn about positioning
  4. Get to advanced CSS

You don’t have to be perfect at CSS. But being good at it will save a lot of time for your designer.

If you plan on becoming a server side programmer you are best off learning a server side language to generate HTML pages now. Take a look at PHP, ASP.NET, JSP etc. if you want to know more.

Now that you know good HTML and CSS it’s time to put in a little Javascript.
Don’t start by using a framework now, you first need to understand what Javascript is and what it can do to alter the layout of the web page.

3. Rock Javascript!

  1. Read a good book about Javascript.
  2. Get to know some funny Javascript effects and concepts. (There are a lot on the Internet)

After I read a good book and experimented with Javascript on some projects a bit, I wanted to get everything out of Javascript by making nice effects like the other guys do. For this there are a lot of frameworks available, which also happen to make your Javascript coding a lot easier!

4. Pick your framework

 

There are a few great Javascript frameworks out there. The biggest players in the game are: MooTools, jQuery and script.aculo.us.

MooTools is a lightweight Javascript framework which can be used to utilize simple effects on the elements on your page. It doesn’t have a lot of fancy features, but it does the job. Good choice for beginners.

jQuery might be the most popular one out there. Not without a reason! It’s easy to apply, it has great docs, maybe even easier to learn and does a wonderful job. Does require some plugins for extra functionality but it’s a really nice framework. Also has a large community.

script.aculo.us is the mother ship of the Javascript frameworks. It’s big and weights a ton. It might be a bit slower and requires a bit more programming than its competitors, but it is powerful in what it does. The capabilities of script.aculo.us take a lot up in speed, but for that you get complete control. You can create excellent Rich Internet Applications with this framework.

 

Conclusion

In just a few step you can become a front-end web developer. This might take a while and it might take some time to get used to a language, but it will pay-off in the end.
There is a lot to be learned on the Internet and it is never too late to try out web development and make the web a little more exciting.

Gaya Kessler is a 22 year old web developer writing about all kind of things. He’s the owner of Gaya Design. You can also catch him on twitter.

 

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