Summary: Skills Needed For Web Design (long)

Subject: Summary: Skills Needed For Web Design (long)
From: Kathryn Marshall <kmarshall -at- MODACAD -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 15:25:50 -0700

Many, many thanks for the informative replies regarding how to get
started with Web Design.

Most people agreed that you can get up to speed on the basics of
creating web pages by reading books, online references, and through
practice (trial & error). Taking courses certainly helps, but is not
required. Scripting languages like CGI scripting, JavaScript, and Visual
Basic Script allow you to add more functionality to your web page. If
you have ever taken a programming class and are familiar with C and C++
terminology, you can learn these on your own. To do what I would call
advanced web design (real fancy stuff!), it's important to understand
C++ -- especially since most Windows95/97 apps rely on C basics.

Programs like FrontPage are a quick & relatively easy way to create Web
pages without having to program or even know HTML. But FrontPage has
limitations -- like it only runs on FrontPage Server, which is not
compatible with all servers; thus your site will not be accessible to

Programming Languages
JavaScript and Java are not the same thing! To learn Java, you should be
familiar with C and C++. Here, classes are probably the way to go. These
languages take time to learn (try a 4-year college -- haha). As an
alternative, start out with scripting languages.

You can also use Delphi 3 to create Web-enabled applications. It's based
on ObjectPascal. (It is supposedly very powerful and intuitive, but I'm
not sure how much programming background you need to use it). For $99,
it's worth checking out:

Server Issues
If you're using scripting language, always ask your service provider
which scripts they'll accept. Many don't accept scripts they don't
write, since scripts reduce a server's security level; and many won't
give you access to change the WWW service settings necessary to enable
your scripts.

The ideal situation is to run your own server, with a mini TCP/IP
network (even if it's only got one computer on it). This gives you
ultimate control over the WWW service settings, which you need to code
and test CGI or other scripts. It also helps you to understand how the
basic code, server, browser, scripts, etc all interact.

If you're running NT 4.0, then install that along with the Microsoft
Peer Web Services that comes with it. For Windows 95 users, the Personal
Web Server that comes with Front Page 98 supports Java applets and
Active X (I didn't see anything about CGI support).

Most servers for Windows 95 do not support CGI, Perl, redirection,
server-side includes, and many standard server features.

Design Issues
Don't get too carried away with programming bells and whistles; always
keep the user in mind when designing web pages. Here it helps to read up
on design principles and user interface design. Basically, try to
anticipate how users will read the page and design accordingly (and keep
it simple).

Recommended Books
Dynamics In Document Design by Karen Schriver
ISBN 0471306363

Designing Web Graphics 2 by Lynda Weinman
1997 New Ryder Publishing
ISBN 1-56205-715-4

You can order these online from
(or at a real live bookstore -- imagine that!)

Useful Web Sites
OmniHTTPD (freeware) Windows 95 server that supports CGI, Perl and more.
(This site will give you free access to an online CBT course that
teaches you Java).
(so that you know how NOT to design your web pages!)
Kathryn Marshall
ModaCAD, Inc.

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