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Learning HTML & CSS


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Hello everyone,I am very enthused and interested about learning how to become fluent in HTML and CSS for building simple web pages, and hopefully further increasing my knowledge with JavaScript and maybe even ASP.NET. But I must start somewhere, and that somewhere appears to be the markup language of HTML and CSS.Now, I have some questions about learning HTML. Well, I hear there is this lovely bit of HTML commonly referred to as HTML 5! Now, I want to do this right, and I'm not sure if HTML 5 is fully implemented in most browsers and modern sites, and was wondering if this would still be the best version of HTML to start with. Any suggestions? Should I learn HTML 4.0 / 4.01 and then proceed to learn HTML 5? Or would starting with 5 just give me a head start and not really force me to waste my time on 4.0 / 4.01.Also, I'm guessing I should learn HTML before CSS? I'm not sure, though, so any suggestions there would be appreciated..Thanks!P.S. I was thinking this book might be a great reference: "http://www.amazon.com/Beginning-HTML5-CSS3-Generation-Standards/dp/1430228741/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275020265&sr=8-2"P.P.S. What the heck is up with XHTML and do I really need to learn it?!

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Heya qcom,I wouldn't make the mistake of trying to learn HTML and browser standards at the same time; those are two large animals. I would go through both the HTML tutorial on this site and the CSS tutorial because they really go hand in hand. But, take it one step at a time.My best suggestion is to try things along the way. So, with each new thing you learn, take time write it out on your computer and test out what it looks like in the browser. And usually at the end of each chapter in the tutorial there are different things you can try to get a greater understanding of the topic.As for HTML5 and CSS3, there are a lot of differences between these and their older counterparts. However, you can think of it more as building blocks that compound on each other. There are plenty of things online for HTML5, but not necessarily for a budding web developer. These are things you can tackle when you have more understanding.I'm going to put one plug in here and say that, when you want to learn a server-side programming language (you mentioned ASP.net), learn PHP instead. Developing on a Windows-specific platform, which is required with ASP, has always been a headache for me. I love PHP and its versatility, and it opened up many doors for me to learn other excellent programming languages such as Ruby (on Rails).To your questions:1) I've heard good things about that book, though have not read it. I think it would a be a good one to pick up later when you have a good knowledge of the basics.2) XHTML is essentially HTML with more strict syntax. There are other differences and reasons that it become a recommendation, but it's not a hot topic anymore.Aaron

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I wouldn't make the mistake of trying to learn HTML and browser standards at the same time
HTML is a "browser" (web) standard - you can't learn them separately. However, HTML5 is indeed not actually supported much at all yet.
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My advice is start as you mean to go on. learn XHTML. Use HTML 4.0/1 in the XHTML form. This enforces good coding pratice and will help later when you get to displaying data imported in XML form. As for css, start with just displaying something using the standard HTML tags then mess around with the attributes with css. from there on it just grows.Life is never dull.

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Thank you for the replies,Rufus, I like your suggestion with going over the tutorials on W3 first, and learning standards and the specifics of HTML5 and CSS3 later. By the way, are the W3 tutorials for HTML 4 and XHTML? Are there no HTML5 parts to them? But a question arose, when reading your guys' response: When learning HTML, should I learn that and then, XHTML, or what? What progression is the most logical and future proof, that appears to be key. It seems to me that I should find the new standards in XHTML and then learn HTML with those standards in mind.

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XHTML is just a stricter version of HTML 4.01I'd go for XHTML - just as it teaches better coding practises, and thats a good habit to get into from the start.Learn CSS in conjunction with (X)HTML - they go hand in hand.As for HTML5 and CSS3 - best get a grounding in what HTML and CSS is before learning specifics, especially as HTML5 and CSS3 are not widely supported yet.

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OK, now on W3, why is HTML separate from XHTML?Which one should I delve into first, is it possible to entirely skip HTML, and go to XHTML?Should I learn the XHTML standards and then go into HTML knowing what coding practices I should be following?

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OK, now on W3, why is HTML separate from XHTML?Which one should I delve into first, is it possible to entirely skip HTML, and go to XHTML?
You cant skip HTML, as XHTML is more or less HTML but with a few differences.Even says on W3schools - "XHTML is a stricter and cleaner version of HTML. In this tutorial you will learn the difference between HTML and XHTML."
Should I learn the XHTML standards and then go into HTML knowing what coding practices I should be following?
Upto you really. But if you dont know HTML, then it'll be difficult to understand the differences between the 2.
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You cant skip HTML, as XHTML is more or less HTML but with a few differences.Even says on W3schools - "XHTML is a stricter and cleaner version of HTML. In this tutorial you will learn the difference between HTML and XHTML."Upto you really. But if you dont know HTML, then it'll be difficult to understand the differences between the 2.
I'll probably skim through the very basics of XHTML, as I have already make (very) simple things with HTML before.Alright, thanks everyone!
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I wouldn't make the mistake of trying to learn HTML and browser standards at the same time; those are two large animals.
Umm...mistake? :) That wouldn't be a mistake, in fact that's the way you should learn HTML. If your going to learn it, learn it right, the first time.
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That's kind of what I thought, I think I'm going to go with this plan:1) Learn HTML (from the separate HTML tutorial on W3) with the XHTML syntax in mind (I've already browsed through it)2) Learn XML (to help with the understanding of XHTML)3) Completely learn XHTML syntax4) Learn the new improvements in HTML5 and hopefully try to implement themCSS should fit along maybe right after XHTML or maybe after HTML5Does that sound good to everyone? :)

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That's kind of what I thought, I think I'm going to go with this plan:1) Learn HTML (from the separate HTML tutorial on W3) with the XHTML syntax in mind (I've already browsed through it)2) Learn XML (to help with the understanding of XHTML)3) Completely learn XHTML syntax4) Learn the new improvements in HTML5 and hopefully try to implement themCSS should fit along maybe right after XHTML or maybe after HTML5Does that sound good to everyone? :)
Sounds like a fairly decent plan. I'm not really certain that XML is necessary though, but if you want to learn it go ahead. :)When you're learning (X)HTML though keep in mind that certain presentational tags are deprecated in favor of CSS (For example, <center>, <i>, <u>, <font>). I'm not sure if the tutorials use them or how often. Just something to keep in mind...
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I think you can skip XML. Really the only thing about XHTML versus HTML is:- XHTML has to be all lowercase; tags, attributes, etc. HTML can be either. - <div style='width: 400px;'></div> - XHTML - <DIV style='width: 400px;'></DIV> - HTML (I don't think opening and closing have to be the same case either, ex. <div></DIV>)- Empty XHTML tags have to be self closing - 'Empty' tags are those that don't have a closing tag. Ex. <img>, <br> - They must be written as so: <img src='image.jpg' alt='' />, <br /> (Note the '/' characters)I think that's about it. So there's really not much XML in XHTML, in my opinion. There might be a few other rules, but I don't know them. :)(FWIW, I don't really know XML :) )

Edited by ShadowMage
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if you validate you're pages, then you'll be provided with any errors that would inhibit a page from containing only valid markup.

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Umm...mistake? :) That wouldn't be a mistake, in fact that's the way you should learn HTML. If your going to learn it, learn it right, the first time.
I suppose what I meant by that is, when learning HTML and CSS, you don't want to worry about, "hmm does this element, selector, or property work in every browser?" I think that can be confusing as heck for someone who is a beginner. That is why the HTML tutorials on W3schools do a good job; they lay down the basics so that you can go off and discover how it can be done in modern browsers. Edited by Rufus
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Those are browser "quirks" - when they don't go by the standards.

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