We all know that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It’s also often exactly what is needed for the occasion.
So here I am with a new website, a couple of blogs to look after, and a image portfolio to build for the DH. Problem is… the in-the-house IT guy doesn’t do web. Networking yes, Windows management yes, hardware troubleshooting, yes. Web — no.
I need a little knowledge. This weekend.
What to do? Research — of course! I found: books, tutorials, on-line, off-line, podcasts for crying out loud. Overwhelming. What did I get out of it all? XHTML and CSS.
Armed with a couple of acronyms I head to Borders Books.. An hour or so in the computer section and I come home with three books.
Freeman & Freeman’s Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML. I’d never seen anything like it, but the heading “Brain Friendly” intrigued me. Then to satisfy the old school geek in me I added the O’Reilly CSS and HTML &XHTML pocket references. I didn’t know at the time that the Head First books were published by O’Reilly. (Yeah, I know — look on the spine dweeb.)
Over the course of a week I worked through the Head First book. Not bad, not bad at all. The weird graphics, bouncy layout and tilted sense of humor work; I learned something. I got a kick out of building the three websites featured in the book. I tried out a bunch of the stuff I was learning on my own pages. I made a few of them look better and I only broke one thing. (Which was not at all the fault of the Head First book. I was messing with a blog page — one of those ones with all the PHP on it. Not a good idea when you don’t know PHP.)
The O’Reilly Pocket References do just what P.R.s have always have done. Collect up way too much info in one little package. I’m not sure I’d recommend them for the non-geeky but if you’re used to looking at syntax summaries and grew up thinking that manpages encoded the meaning of the universe you’re going to wonder how anyone gets by without these two.
Well I’m off to
break make some more pretty on my web pages.