The course will follow a simple structure. Each week we will deliver a 1 hour lecture on a topic related to web development. In that lecture there will be an opportunity for discussion on the material presented. After most of the lectures, you will be set an small assignment, designed to make you revisit the topics covered in the lecture and give you some hands on experience with HTML & CSS. Of course, this is only how we envision things. How it will actually play out depends entirely on your needs, so we may change the format in the future based on your feedback. There will be plenty of opportunity for discussion throughout the course, all of which will affect what we teach, and how we teach it. By the end of the course we hope that you will have a good grasp of both HTML & CSS, and will feel confident in writing your own code from scratch. You will also be able to appreciate many of the practices of modern web developers, and use them to improve yourself as a web developer.
All of the course materials will be available for viewing here on the Wiki. This will include articles such as this one which cover each of the lessons in detail, slides used in the lessons, course assignments (more about these later), and links to resources that we reference in the lessons. There will be opportunities for further reading on all of topics we cover, which we will compile into a list of links and publish here on the Wiki. If you require any further information, just send either of us an email - we're happy to answer any questions you may have.
On the wiki...
Initially, we have plotted out an 8 week module which aims to take those with relatively no knowledge of HTML or CSS and equip them with the knowledge to create and style quality web content. If you already have some experience with HTML & CSS, we hope that the earlier topics we cover will serve not only as a refresher, but as a chance for you to gain a deeper understanding of why we use these technologies the way we do. The first couple of lessons are designed to introduce the course, and for us to discuss what you would like to get out of it. They also introduce HTML by looking at the structure of a webpage, and briefly highlighting some of the common elements you'll be regularly using. We'll the move onto some in-depth HTML tutorials, followed by CSS tutorials that complement the HTML you've been learning. Finally we'll be looking at some of the more advanced things you can do with CSS, and working on a large example that will bring together everything you've learned over the 8 weeks. For more information, consult the Course Outline.
We’ve got some things in our sites such as Finda, the RNN sites, etc., that allow you write content that adheres to the general style of the page. We’ll be enabling more of these things so that you can get a bit more creative with your content.
We're not big fans of lengthy assignments, so we don't plan on giving you anything that will take up too much of your time (your workload is big enough already without us adding more to the pile). We will however set small tasks that will help you reflect on what we've taught you in the lessons. More than anything, they'll help you question your understanding of what we've taught you, and bring to light any issues you're having with the content. If you can complete the assignments, it means you've got a good understanding of the course content.
We write the lessons in the weeks leading up to teaching them. This gives them the chance to evolve based on the rate at which you're absorbing the course material, as well as the things that you fine most interesting. If you feel that we're skimming over topics that you feel need more explanation, or indeed, if you feel that we're digging a little too deep into things that you feel you already have a good understanding of, please let us know. This course is for your benefit, and we want to fine tune it so that you get the most out of it.
We all learn at different paces, and the amount of content we cram into each lesson is based on an average learning rate (which doesn't actually exist in the real world), so if you feeling left behind, please let us know. Chances are, someone else is feeling the same way, and it's really important that we're not running ahead, as it becomes crucial that we're all on the same page as we get close to the end of the course, and start looking at more advanced topics. We're more than happy to run short catch-up classes between the main lessons, for those who couldn't make it to a lesson, or for those who'd like us to revisit a past topic. You can email either of us to arrange a session.
We've consulted many different sources in order to build this course, and we've tried to keep things as lean as possible in order to give the course what we think is a good pace.
The main websites we have drawn content & inspiration from are: W3SchoolsOpera Web Standards Curriculum[University of Texas] HTML: Getting Started You may want to look at some of the above sites if you'd like to dig deeper into any of the topics we cover in the course. We're also a fan of the HTML training videos on YouTube, and we make use of a live HTML editor during the lectures that you might want to play around with yourself.
HTML is a markup language that we use to wrap up our web content so that browsers know how to display it. It allows us to define which pars of our document are headings, which parts of the text need specific emphasis, display images within our page, and reformat text as lists and tables. There are many more ways we can display our content, as well as collect information from our visitors, but we'll get to all of that over the coming weeks
CSS is a language that lets us describe the visual apprarence of our content, and give it a style of its own. With CSS we can alter the colour of text & backgrounds, the fonts to use when displaying our text and the positioning of all of the elements on the page. It is a powerful tool which lets you get really creative with how you want your website to look, and how people should percieve your content.
Once the script or cssstylesheet has been downloaded by your customer the first time, it is cached in the browser. Then every other page that is downloaded loads more quickly in the browser window. If you wrote all your style into the HTML pages, then you would needlessly download lots more info on the page that really didn't have to be.
The separation of content, presentation and behaviour is just one of many "web standards". Web standards cover a modern set of practices that web developers should adhere to in order to give visitors a consistent experience when visiting their website, regardless of the device/browser they visit with.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was set up initially to steer the development of languages such as HTML and CSS, making sure that needless features aren't added, and that the ones we have serve a clearly defined purpose. More recently, their attention has been turned towards developing web standards, so that the languages are used correctly, and in a way that gives the best web experience to the widest audience possible.
Basic HTML ConceptsDocument overview - Meet HTML!HTML Syntax - tags, html, xhtml, attributesBlock & Inline - <DIV>'s and <SPAN>'sSpecial characters.
1. Introduction to Web Development<br />Colin Gourlay & Kevin Vanderbeken<br />