Ways: web design techniques

So you want to be a webmonkey? In the years that I’ve been tinkering around with web sites, I’ve learned a lot by example, and at least as much by trial and error. Maybe some of it will be of use to you. (Patience, please, while I gradually add material to this part of the site…)

HTML — the nitty-gritty

If you want to start building web sites, there’s no substitute for learning HTML, or HyperText Markup Language. Sure, you can use so-called WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) page editors like Dreamweaver, GoLive, and the like; but really nothing beats a sound knowledge of the underlying markup language. Even if you do use a WYSIWYG editor for most of your layout work, knowing HTML thoroughly will help you to tweak and refine the code spat out by the editor to make it more efficient, standards-compliant, and compatible with all sorts of internet-enabled devices. While knowing HTML won’t itself make you a great web designer, you’re unlikely to become one if you remain ignorant of it. This section will provide help and pointers on HTML coding.


To quote from the back cover of David Flanagan’s JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (the Rhino book from O’Reilly):

JavaScript is a powerful, object-based scripting language that can be embedded directly in HTML pages. It allows you to create dynamic, interactive web-based applications that run completely within a web browser.

Indeed — though its commonest use on the Web is probably still for producing the ubiquitous rollover effect. But with the standardisation of the Document Object Model and better implementation of the same in newer browsers, we can expect to see JS being put to much more fruitful use. In this section, I’ll post or link to any JS programs or applications that I think are genuinely useful.

CGI — the Common Gateway Interface

Without CGI, the Web would be a less interesting and less useful place. If you’ve ever bought a book from, participated in an online discussion forum, or even just filled in a contact form like mine, then you’ve used a web application — and most web applications are CGI programs. In this section, I’ll post CGI programs or modifications that I think you might find useful. If you don’t know anything about CGI, you might want to check out some CGI basics before you try working with any of the programs.

And the rest — miscellaneous bits and bobs

There are always topics that defy reasonable categorisation; or that might be categorised, but there are so few examples that it simply isn’t worth creating a separate heading for them. That pretty much describes what you’ll find in this section.

This page was last modified on Thursday, February 26, 2009