How I created my first website

Like much of the world, I use the Internet every day. A few months ago, I wouldn’t have bothered asking how the magic happens, how the internet actually works. Taking a position as office manager at an IT consulting company changed my attitude. Being surrounded by developers who can spend endless hours sitting in front of the computer made me wonder what was so interesting about it. I decided to find out.

I started my journey with a short introduction from one of Tivix’s technical architects and head of our European office, Dariusz Fryta. He gave me a general idea of how the virtual world works. It was basic but essential information to go further, and taught me a small, but very important lesson: listening to a lecture from someone who is really familiar with the topic brings certain advantages. You can ask as many questions as you wish (and believe me I had plenty of them) and you can go over things as many times as it takes you to fully understand it. With subject matter than can be dull, it helps to find a lecturer who is enthusiastic about the topic — and that enthusiasm may be contagious!

The second step I took was reading a book called HTML & CSS by Jon Duckett, which came highly recommended by internauts. I would recommend it to all beginners; it is a very comprehensive resource. It was there that I found the answers to my very first question, “How does the internet work?” with a nice visual explanation, easy-to-understand language, many examples to illustrate a given theory, and links to useful tools for building websites.

Books are great tools, but again, having someone to go to with questions is an even more valuable resource. Luckily for me, that person was Tivix front-end developer Rafał Krupiński. If you have a chance to turn to someone who specializes in the area you are learning, take advantage of it, because feedback and advice based on your actual work and the mistakes you might make is more valuable than any book.

As somebody smart said, “practice makes perfect.” I spent several hours training and practicing to establish my new HTML and CSS skills. JS Bin made it fast and easy to look at the outcome of the code I wrote. Sublime Text Editor syntax highlighting makes code easier to read, but JS Bin was more convenient for testing code because it displays the result immediately.

After I finished my training projects and felt a little bit more confident with what I learned up to that point, I turned to Jon’s Duckett second book, JavaScript & jQuery: interactive front-end development and started reading about JavaScript. To be honest, to me it was a huge jump between levels of difficulty. JavaScript was not as easy to learn as HTML and CSS. I would be lying if I said I really know JavaScript now, but through this introduction I gained another piece of information in building my picture of the structure of web development.

JavaScript was the first programming language I became familiar with, and it was also a good basis for getting to know basics of Python/Django. The springboard in learning about another new, complex programming language (as if I wasn’t already occupied enough) was getting accepted to the awesome Django Girls workshop I attended in Berlin. It was comprehensive training and really tied together all the pieces of knowledge I had picked up so far. All the riddles were solved, or at least most of them, for sure.

In the final stage of my journey, I talked to experienced project manager Perri Bronson, who taught me about what it takes to build a website, from starting with wireframes through to maintaining a project that is up and running. She also introduced me to the Twitter Bootstrap framework, and that was the final closure to all I needed to learn to build my first website.

The conclusion (to this not-that-short story) is: all you need to achieve your goal is determination and persistence (and back-end developer Maciej Jaworski, who will do the most difficult part of your website 🙂 .