If you’re looking for a book on web page building, look for one that matches the tools and technologies that you’re going to be using.

Tools include:

  • HTML editors (eg FrontPage or Dreamweaver)
  • Graphics editing software
  • Database software

Technologies include things like:

  • HTML/XHTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • VBScript
  • Flash
  • ASP
  • PHP
  • CGI

This might mean buying several books to cover everything that you need to know, but don’t overwhelm yourself with more than you need. If there was learning required, then you should have built the time required for it into your project plan. If you didn’t, you’ve already come unstuck and need to think again. If you did, make sure you stick to your schedule!

You need to make sure that at least one of your books covers design issues. This is extremely important, and must come first when you begin to construct the pages. Layout, colour, navigation and font selection are all important decisions that need to be taken from an informed viewpoint. Look at other websites that you like, look at websites that you don’t like, and work out how you can be more like the former.

The following books are very much my personal recommendations on the topic of web design and web development.

  • Designing with Web Standards – Jeffrey Zeldman
  • Eric Meyer on CSS – Eric A. Meyer
  • PHP and MySQL Web Development – Luke Welling, Laura Thomson
  • Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability – Steve Krug

You might want to try some of the following websites, which provide a mixture of tutorials from beginner to advanced levels, and also free sample code that you can use on your websites. You’re often allowed to modify the code to suit your own site and purpose, though you’ll probably have to maintain a copyright notice.

These should give you more than enough to get your teeth into the actual development of your site. It’s a lot of hard work, but when you get it right, you’ve created a great tool for others to use, and a sound basis for a community, your business, or your cause to grow. Maybe it’s not going too far to say that with a good website, everyone’s a winner!

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