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.

Lat­er, magpie

Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML
CSS Pocket RefernceHTML & XHTML Pocket Reference