Friday, March 07, 2008

Call me old-fashioned...

... but I still prefer to learn my computer languages from books. Yes, those things made out of paper and printed with ink. Holding a book makes you look smarter. Heaven forbid you use those 3M flags to mark pages for future reference. If a chick sees a man with a thick book and said book has at least 8 of those 3M flags sticking out of it, she'll promptly proposition that man on the spot. I'm not even kidding. It's happened to me at least twice. For reals.

OK, seriously, I just like being able to open a book to learn something new and not need to boot the computer. Once I am on the computer, I have to fight the urge to look at pr0n. (See JHo's comment from the AI reviews the other week). Trust me, there is NO pr0n in "The Definitive Guide to mySQL 5.0". I have to admit the section on creating a PHP class to store encrypted login information did make my genitalia tingle just a bit.

But I digress. In my quest to develop web based apps, I realized that I need to brush up on, no, re-learn, my html (who can forget my looping Austin Powers theme music and the *surprise!* picture of Doug the Miller Lite guy). Also I need to learn some CSS as well. Seeing as several of y'all dabble in web design and/or developing, I was wondering if you had any recommendations. I don't mind URLs but would much prefer book titles.


B Town Chump said...

As you know, I do know a bit about HTML, and have recently dabbled in CSS. What you need to know is that CSS IS the future of HTML, and basically, you should only need to know a few basic HTML tags for formatting. Essentially what I'm saying is that CSS is the future of HTML programming. Interestingly, though, they're not two independent languages, but CSS extends the usefulness of HTML.

I too agree with you that there is absolutely no substitute for a good book, especially when you're using it for reference. It's just so nice to flip back and fourth between actual physical pages, rather than sift through a hundred open browser windows then search each document for what you need. But I digress.

To brush up on your HTML, I highly recommend HTML, XHTML & CSS Visual Quickstart Guide. I'm still using the 5th edition, but let me tell you that it's my HTML Bible (or Koran, if you prefer). I've been using this book (as well as earlier versions) for many, many years now. The reference sections in the back are second to none. I literally have this book by my side everytime I program HTML, no matter how menial the task. You can get it for less than $25 on Amazon, and I guarantee this will be the ONLY HTML book you need. My edition (5th) just touches on CSS, but I'm sure the 6th edition will have much more.

B Town Big C said...

Thanks for the tip. Coincidently enough I got my shipment of 3 more mySQL books and 1 PHP book today... one book I was particularly looking forward to... want to guess what the one book for HTML and XHTML it recommended? Yep, HTML, XHTML and CSS 6th Ed: Visual QuickStart Guide. Now, it also happens to be by the same publisher but seeing as the book I am reading is excellent, I feel really good about getting the HTML book also.

This database driven website thing using open source languages is really interesting. I'd recommend picking up PHP 6 and mySQL 5 Visual QuickPro Guide. It's amazing what you could possibly do with a book and a quick download. I'm going to walk through all of the exercises in the book first, but I can already say that doing our own UFL site is entirely possible.