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A Free Web Book!

By Steve Wilkison | No Comments

Thinking Web: Voices Of The CommunityThe folks over at SitePoint have released a free book (in digital form: pdf, epub and/or mobi) that is a real treat. It’s titled Thinking Web: Voices Of The Community and it’s a collection of articles written by various members of the SitePoint community and it covers a lot of ground in the web development world.

Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll find in the book:

Chapter 1 – Anatomy of a Website by Ralph Mason
Ralph’s chapter looks at the building blocks of a website, from hosting through to favicons, with everything in between. If you are new to the world of web, then this is the article for you.

Chapter 2 – Designing in the Dark by Alex Dawson
Alex examines the ideas of web accessibility and talks you through the process of identifying your audience and ensuring that your sites meet their needs and expectations.

Chapter 3 – Everything Must Go by Alex Dawson
Alex is back, this time discussing the concepts of web accessibility in more detail. If you want some practical advice to ensure that your sites work for everyone, then this is a must read.

Chapter 4 – Going Freelance by John Borda
You might be the best web developer in the world, but if no one knows that then it’s of very little use to you. John looks at some of the things that a freelancer can do in order to make a successful career in the cutthroat world of web development.

Chapter 5 – Successful PSD to HTML Freelancing by Paul O’Brien
In this chapter, CSS expert Paul talks about the intricacies of quoting on and carrying out a PSD to HTML conversion job. He points out some of the pitfalls and explains how to avoid them.

Chapter 6 – Write Email Markup That Doesn’t Explode in the Inbox by Coyote Holmberg
If writing electronic newsletters is something that is on your radar then this article by Coyote will be invaluable. In it she discusses the dos and don’ts of writing HTML emails from the design stage right through to the sending.

Chapter 7 – Make Your Website Stand Out from the Crowd by Ursula Comeau
Social media has become so commonplace that it can’t be ignored if you want your business to succeed and Ursula explains how important social media and blogging can be to your website and your online marketing strategy.

Chapter 8 – Information Organization and the Web by Sherry Curry
You might have the most valuable information on the planet on your website, but if it is hard to navigate then the chances of people giving up before they ever get to it are great. Sherry talks about good strategies for organising and labeling your information so that it is accessible and easy to find.

Chapter 9 – Using Vector Graphics to Build a Noughts & Crosses Game by Clive Wickham
In this tutorial, Clive outlines how you can easily build a simple game of Noughts & Crosses using interactive vector graphics and explores two ways of presenting it, via SVG and HTML5 Canvas.

Chapter 10 – Efficient Actionscript by Christian Snodgrass
Christian examines a selection of some of the more useful Actionscript tips, tricks and techniques for use in mid-to-large projects.

Chapter 11 – Databases : The Basic Concepts by Nuria Zuazo
Databases are a must for any dynamic site and some basic knowledge is necessary to make the most of your database. In this article, Nuria looks at some of the intricacies of the modern day database and how you can harness its power in your own sites.

Chapter 12 – The Iceberg of TCP/IP by Robert Wellock
Robert skims the surface of the massive subject that is TCP/IP and looks at a selection of protocols focusing on what is most relevant to web design or general home computing.

If you’re not familiar with SitePoint, it’s a fantastic organization that hosts forums, publishes books, offers online training and much more. It’s well worth checking out their various sites. In addition to the forums and online training they have individual sites dedicated to mobile development, ruby, online learning and website design. Visit their main site and you can find articles from and links to all their network sites.

The book is free, so what have you got to lose. Go get your copy now!

Organizations For Web Instructors

By Steve Wilkison | No Comments

Teaching Web DesignNow that I’m teaching web development full time at Watkins, I’m very interested in networking with other instructors at the college and university level who teach web design and/or development. I think it would be great to start some type of organization for web instructors to share ideas, problems, solutions, etc. I’ve done some research via Google, but can’t seem to find any existing organizations along this line. If you know if any such organization or group, please let me know.

As more and more colleges and universities begin to offer more and more courses in web design and web development (as well as mobile app development, Flash development, etc.) I think a real need is developing to put instructors in touch with each other. Many of us are developing our curriculum completely on our own and it seems it would be very productive to see what others are doing and how they are approaching different topics and subjects.

Here at Watkins we currently have three Web Development courses, all of which fall under the Graphic Design Department. We are hoping to begin a “concentration” in Web Development in the fall of 2012 as part of a student’s degree. I’m hoping to begin offering more specialized courses in coming semesters that cover some of the exciting new technologies and marketing opportunities that are emerging. I’d love to offer a class dedicated strictly to WordPress development. It would also include an introduction to PHP and MySQL. A course on “Social Networking” would be great as well. Students could learn how to design and build custom pages for Facebook, how to utilize opportunities on Twitter and YouTube and lots more. I could easily teach an entire class on JavaScript and jQuery and another on HTML5 and CSS3. And a class on building apps for iOS and Android would, of course, be a no-brainer. Students learn about most of these topics in the current three classes we offer, but having dedicated courses would open up so many more possibilities.

I’m spending some of my time this summer looking at programs from other colleges and universities and trying to get an idea of how others are approaching teaching these subjects. It’s a real challenge because so much in our field changes so fast and so frequently. You really have to stay on top of things and constantly consider reworking the classes and the curriculum. I hope to reach out to some of the other instructors and teachers at various schools and get their ideas and input.

If you teach web design, web development, coding, Flash, mobile app development or really any other “web” related technology I’d love to hear from you. I think we all have a lot we can learn from and share with each other.

website by Steve Wilkison