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Javascript For Designers: Getting on Your Feet Fast

Posted by web2.0 Design resourse Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Web designers are a special breed – we’re one of a small group of professionals that actively seeks out to improve ourselves and our craft through any means possible. This generally means on our own, from each other, and through an awful lot of ‘guess, test and revise.’ Web design isn’t for the faint of heart or those with any fear of failure.

The most daunting ‘learning experience’ for developing developers is to make the jump from the HTMLs and the CSSs of the world to web scripting. It looks good from the outside – all that added interactivity and animation and cool effects and features – oh my. But for some designers, it proves to be a difficult lesson to learn, as scripting can require more focus, logic, and organization than the coding that you are used to.

Getting on Your Feet Fast

Let’s take a look at bulletproof ways to ease into Javascript at an accelerated pace. Javascript is the perfect place to start to learn scripting because it is generally less complex than other scripting languages, and is client-side – meaning that you will be able to test your scripts on your computer as you script it, in real time, without setting up servers or putting forth any more effort than you really need to. However you code pages now is great – don’t do anything differently to accommodate Javascript – she’s easy to get along with.

The first place I start when looking to learn anything new is on the web – makes sense to learn the web from the web, right? Yeah, books are nice, and they can make you look intelligent, but the truth of the matter is that you’ll find most (if not all) of that same information out on the web, and, out on the web, you can find the most updated tutorials. If books suit you, there are a plethora of books out there on Javascript – feel free to help yourself to any of them.

Websites That Teach Javascript

Something to remember about Javascript websites as you scour the web for help – there are essentially two types of Javascript websites; those that are focused on scripts, and those that are focused on teaching Javascript. I say this because I’ve worked with a lot of students that have stumbled across script websites, started reading scripts on those pages as if they were tutorials and then got confused and discouraged when they couldn’t follow the code – this would be akin to trying to read Braille by shouting at it.

Javascript learning sites spend more time on simple logic and processes. Stuff you will never really do on a website (as you’ll see below) but it will get you into the scripting mindset and help you ease into the building blocks that will creep into every script you work with.

Let’s take a look at two ‘learning’ Javascript sites.


Javascript For Designers

I don’t know where this site came from or remember how I found it, but I constantly reference Tizag for many of their tutorials. They are straightforward and direct, but move through the topic in a way that makes it easy to understand. Their lessons aren’t too long, giving you just enough to take out and test before returning for the next lesson.


Javascript For Designers

This site is a step up from the rest in teaching you Javascript (or anything for that matter) and there’s one really simple reason why – they let you try it for yourself right there in the tutorial. A lot of people don’t like learning from books because you can’t try it for yourself; that is unless, of course, you find some ridiculous way to prop the book up against your monitor, so you can read it without holding it open and type all at once, but that’s not very conducive to being able to focus on the script at hand.


Javascript For Designers

About.com offers premium advice and tutorials on just about anything for free. It’s pretty much to a multi-information oriented site. Fortunately, here you’ll be able to find a variety of tutorials and workshops focused on begginer to advanced JavaScript users.

Academic Tutorials

Javascript For Designers

The Academic Tutorials site is very similar to the W3 schools learning center. It provides extensive and well organized facts on JavaScript. You will also find yourself with more hands-on experience than you thought, since almost every tutorial has various examples.


Javascript For Designers

This site contains front-line examples and begginer JavaScript experiences for the novice of users. Tutorials showcase several useful scripts and images that aid you in the advancement of your skills as a designer.


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