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Should a web designer know Javascript?

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  1. Author: Winston
    User type: Standard User
    Posts: 67
    Date: July 24, 2006, 10:57 p.m.

    Hey, just a question to the web developer gurus around.

    For someone that puts together websites, mainly writing in HTML/CSS, do you recommend learning javascript, or whats the standards term? ECMAScript?

    I am guessing it would be good to at least understand what your looking at when you come across it, maybe learn a few small things. But is it neccesary?

    S'pose I should be asking how hard it is to then learn PHP/MySQL stuff as well! Is it a mission? First glance at this, it looks a helluva lot harder than HTML, which I've been told isn't ‘real’ programming anyway! ;-)

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  2. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: July 27, 2006, 12:41 a.m.

    Yeah you'r right, the official name is ECMAScript. Javascript is Mozilla/Netscape's implementation, while JScript is IE's implementation. ECMAScript is the cross browser version, but in general it tends to get refered to as Javascript anyway. :mrgreen:

    I don't think it's totally necessary to know Javascript for most websites these days. I tend to try to avoid Javascript myself as much as possible unless it's absolutely needed. Some people turn Javascript off in their browser, so if you do use it, you must also provide a fallback for the site to also work without. In general I use HTML/CSS as much as possible, and any programming I mainly do in PHP at the server side, it's much safer and more predictable, as you don't really know what's going on at the client's end. I don't think Javascript is really that necessary to know for most designers (unless you want to do cross browser dropdown menus maybe).

    On the other hand, once you learn one programming language, you can pick up others real quick, because they are all very similar to eachother. The reason why they say HTML isn't a ‘real’ programming language, because it's really just a document with formatting that only loads once in the browser, i.e. it's static. HTML is therefore a markup language. A program has loops, variables, functions, jumps backwards and forwards in the code, and so forth.

    I found that the hardest thing people find when they first get into programming, is being able to understand and think how a program works and fits together, not the actual language itself, that's pretty easy to pick up. The best way to to learn programming is by doing it yourself, i.e. practical, not just theory. Theory is good, i.e. reading up about the language itself, but doing it yourself and practicing writing various programs is really the best way to pick it up. If you have access to a server that runs PHP and want to learn programming, you could maybe look at going through some tutorials that can be found online. I think there are even some on php.net, but after that, the best way is just to keep practicing at it, to get an understanding of how programs work, once you're over that hill, programming is nothing really.

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  3. Author: Winston
    User type: Standard User
    Posts: 67
    Date: July 27, 2006, 10:17 p.m.

    Thanks for that info, very helpful.

    I think PHP is probably more useful than Javascript, and considering OS X comes with Apache and PHP ready to go, I think it must be time to dive into it.

    Jumping backwards and forwards, making loops of stupid sentences… memories of mucking with BASIC on the CPC464 :mrgreen:

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  4. Author: robvdl
    User type: Administrator
    Posts: 67
    Date: July 27, 2006, 11:19 p.m.

    True, I forgot that OS X is based on Unix these days, so that should make a nice Apache / PHP environment without the need for a server.

    I've recently switched to Ubuntu Dapper on my desktop, trying to leave Windows behind, or at least not become too dependent on it, still dual booting for games… it's still the games that keep windows on my harddrive. But all in all, Ubuntu is an awesome Linux distro, I love it. ;-)

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