Web Basics

The first course in the Certificate of Web Application Development.

The client side.

It’s busy in here

There were over 800 of us doing the course, so the conferences were lively. When I arrived there were already 300 posts and the course hadn’t officially begun! This of course led to serious message overload which I’ve talked about elsewhere. Basically delete unread.

The course

I’d worked with HTML and CSS before so I thought, not for the first time, that I’d have little to learn. Wrong. There was a vast amount of stuff to learn and regurgitate.

The web ‘-bility’ twins: usa and accessi shambled their way to centre stage, causing much heated discussion about who they were and how to accommodate them. About the only thing we were all agreed on was that Jakob Nielsen’s site wasn’t all that usable.

The latest web standards were on hand too. You were required to code in valid XHTML with valid CSS in a separate file. No inline styling here please.

You were allowed to use tables for layout. But there was a clear inference that this was going to stop when you’d learnt your CSS properly.

Pages had to work in all the usual browsers and to “degrade gracefully” in the antiques.

Enter the ironmongers

We were introduced to A & B Pots and Pans, a company that I’m already heartily sick of. You were required to provide them with some template pages and a report. You also needed to do a report for your ‘colleagues’ which was to be a wee bit more technical.

I produced a truly miserable looking set of pages but they were valid and, with the style sheets off, were very nice. But this ‘wasn’t a course on web design’ so I got away with it.

The reports were hell; you had 3000 words to do the job of 10,000. My advice is to get stuck into the report as soon as possible, it’s 70% of the marks and the temptation to spend your time tinkering with your pages is strong.

Who should do this Course?

Unless you’re already writing books, or blogging about web standards, semantic mark-up, accessibility and CSS this is a great introduction to them. I came away wanting to know more. Which has got to be a good sign, no?

What this course does not do is to teach you the design skill necessary to produce a good looking web page.

Can you Learn HTML from this Course?

I’ll give a qualified yes. It would be better if you already knew some HTML, CSS and were wanting to take your skills to another level.