Update my web development knowledge
September 26, 2017 10:34 AM   Subscribe

I was super into web development (HTML, CSS, Javascript) up until about 2010, when the real world took over and I didn't have time to play with code. I'm interested in diving back in, but have no idea where to start.

I was an HTML flunky back in the days of the early web and got really into CSS and beginner-level Javascript in college. I probably should have made web development my career, but for many reasons, I did not. I've dropped out of the scene for a long, long time. Back in the day I was really into Smashing Magazine and A List Apart (I was always more into the design aspect of web development).

I've got the urge to make a new website for myself. I'm not trying to change careers (at least not yet...) but I think it would be fun to dive back in. If I'm trying to get my skills from 2010 to creating a modern website in Wordpress or a similar CMS (maybe Craft CMS?), where would you recommend starting? I'm not super interested in paying for an online class like Treehouse. I'm much more of a trial and error code learner. :)
posted by good day merlock to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
I've been doing web development now for over 20 years with no formal training. I would get yourself some hosting (I recommend webfaction, or dreamhost if the webfaction admin is too cryptic) and install WP and get started. These days Googleing questions leads me to places like wpbeginner.com and stackoverflow.com. There's the WP codex, of course. There's some good freed stuff at tutsplus.com. Themeforest.com is a good place to look for themes.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:02 AM on September 26, 2017

Javascript has gotten huge since you quit, to the point where most scripting and templating that you used to do on the server side (in PHP or whatever) is now just done in the browser.

You'll want at least a basic familiarity with Node.js, since that's what most of the tooling is written in these days, and the accompanying package manager NPM. Facebook's React framework is popular for interactive front-ends now (but for an alternative, see Vue).

Bootstrap is nice for quickly knocking together site designs and basic interactive elements, although there are lots of alternatives about. Also look into CSS preprocessors SASS and LESS, which make stylesheets a fair bit easier to manage. (Bootstrap uses LESS, but the main killer features -- variables and nested selectors -- are almost identical in both.)
posted by neckro23 at 12:44 PM on September 26, 2017 [3 favorites]

Smashing and ALA are still around, and still very good reading to start getting familiar with modern web development. Regularly reading both will familiarise you with the current vocabulary, and should be a good starting point.
posted by third word on a random page at 12:57 AM on September 27, 2017

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