Monday, March 16, 2009

MSDN Beginner Lessons or: How I Learned to Program and Love Web Development.

I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to work at an Internet Service Provider as one of my first jobs, and in between helping Mary Kay Cosmetic consultants try to get online using dial up I spent most of my time learning about how the Internet and the World Wide Web work inside and out. I also credit a large portion of my customer service and troubleshooting skills to the year and a half that I spent on the call floor fixing things over the phone. After moving on to work for computer help desks and eventually finish school with a Computer Engineering degree, I can still say that a lot of what I have learned has been through trial and error or through reading articles and watching videos online.

Recently I have had a few friends ask about getting into creating dynamic web pages. While creating a Facebook or MySpace page is a good start for web development, many people have grandiose visions for new business ideas that will make them filthy rich. If you aim to create a website to take over the world, I suggest you do it the old fashion way with VC funding and a professional web development team, but creating a simple yet functional website is really not that difficult. Most people are familiar with basic HTML now days and a fair number have event taken the initiative to learn CSS or Photoshop for higher level design. It seems like the last hurdle to get over is going from static to dynamic websites. Sure, you can setup a hosted blog or add a calendar widget to a static page to increase it's functionality, but if you are willing to spend a bit more time you can easily apply all of your static website knowledge (HTML, CSS, Design) to creating dynamic html pages.

If anyone is interested in learning about programming I suggest the MSDN Beginner Developer Learning Center which contains both a Web Track for web development and Windows Track for software development. Both of them cover use of the free Visual Studio Express Edition tools which are professional quality development environments that greatly help the development process. For an example of the material, here is a video that shows an introduction to the Internet and how static and dynamic web pages work:

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:54a0a1de-890c-4f72-9c3b-34797d4c01ed&amp;showPlaylist=true" target="_new" title="Introduction to the Web as a Platform">Video: Introduction to the Web as a Platform</a>

1 comment:

Greg Bray said...

Found another series from Microsoft that is designed to help beginners learn .NET technologies. Check it out:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/rampup/default.aspx

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