HTML and CSS

Hello Experts,

I am thinking about taking a college course to upgrade my skills, but they teach HTML 4 and CSS 2.

I know that the latest is HTML 5 and CSS 3, and my question is if I complete HTML 4 and CSS 2 how hard it will be to upgrade to the latest versions?

Is there latest version of JavaScript?

Thank you
APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAsked:
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Cornelia YoderArtistCommented:
Once you learn HTML4 or CSS2, it should be very easy to learn any additions in the newer versions, so honestly I wouldn't worry about it.

With JavaScript, the latest is 1.8.6, but what browser platform it will run on is equally important for what features are supported.
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
You might want to give some of the online learning sites a try.    In order, I would get a good understanding of html, then css then a core of javascript and jquery.   Don't try and learn everything at once.  

http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/web
http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/javascript
http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/jquery

http://www.w3schools.com/
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Kyle HamiltonData ScientistCommented:
Don't waste your time learning html4 and css2. Even though much of it is the same in html5 and css3, you'll be missing out on a whole lot of important features in use in modern web development as well as potentially picking up some bad habits. There are plenty of tutorials on the web for html5/css3.

javascript is a bigger beast, and it really depends how far you want to go. learning jquery will give you a basic ability to manipulate elements on the page and use other people's plugins.

If you're serious about programming in javascript, you should get these two books first:

Javascript: The Definitive Guide, by Flannagan
Javascript: The Good Parts, by Crockford
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Scott Fell, EE MVEDeveloper & EE ModeratorCommented:
+1 Don't waste your time learning html4 and css2.
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Kyle HamiltonData ScientistCommented:
also, you might want to talk to the course instructor. the course description might be outdated. you never know...
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Kim WalkerWeb Programmer/TechnicianCommented:
I doubt you'll find a course in HTML5 or CSS3 that doesn't rely on a basic knowledge of HTML4 and CSS2. If you can find one, go for it. But look closely at the prerequisite skills before enrolling in an HTML5 or CSS3 class.
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Kyle HamiltonData ScientistCommented:
@xmediaman,

HTML4 vs HTML5 is not the same as Calculus1 VS Calculus2. To do calc2 you need calc1. To do html5 you do not necessarily need html4. html4 is NOT prerequisite.

What you are learning is HTML. After that, html5 has some features that html4 does not, and some features of html4 are deprecated in html5.
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Chris StanyonWebDevCommented:
90% [arbitrary figure plucked out of the air!] of CSS is the same across CSS2 and 3 - the same applies to HTML5 - When coding in HTML5 and CSS3, most of what you do is exactly the same as 4 and 2 - so if your college only offers that, then go for it - it's still valid and still more widely used than 5/3 - browsers aren't going to be dropping support for it any time soon!!

Sorry guys, but:

-1 Don't waste your time learning html4 and css2.
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Kim WalkerWeb Programmer/TechnicianCommented:
I stand corrected, kozaiwaniec. Basic HTML is more likely to be a requisite, not necessary HTML4. However, an HTML4 class is more likely to include basic HTML than an HTML5 class. But, as I said, if you can find an HTML5 class that doesn't require basic HTML skills, go for it. If you already have basic HTML skills, go for the HTML5 class. But be warned, there are still plenty of browsers in use that do not support HTML5 or CSS3. So consider your target audience, too.
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COBOLdinosaurCommented:
Well, I have teaching experience in Web Development and a few other things at the college level; so maybe I should weigh in.  

If the course is not supporting the latest standards based technology then you are wasting money on it.  Yes you will get basic principles in a course based on obsolete technology, but you will not get the substantial changes in browser technology or standards.   As a graduate from such a course you will not be workplace-ready because you will still lack the most important part; an understanding of how the technology relates to the standards, and real world requirements.

Continuing to teach based on HTML4 and CSS2 indicates that the instructor is out of date and too lazy or uncommitted to to keep up.  they might also have the same attitude toward teaching.

Cd&
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Chris StanyonWebDevCommented:
Cd& - HTML4 and CSS2 are obsolete technologies! Really?
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Kim WalkerWeb Programmer/TechnicianCommented:
Actually HTML 4.01 is the latest and greatest standard. HTML5 is still a work in progress. As long as the HTML5 class also covers HTML4 then the student would be PROPERLY prepared since HTML5 is still largely unsupported. The same goes for CSS3.

I'm still required by my employers to support IE7 and IE8 because about 10% of the target audience is still using them. And my target audience is ages 15-18.
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COBOLdinosaurCommented:
HTML5 is still largely unsupported. The same goes for CSS3.

All modern browsers support HTML5 and CSS3.  The fact that old browsers do not support modern technology is irrelevant. As all old browser code still works in HTML5 and CSS3, the legacy junk is still quite well support.

Actually HTML 4.01 is the latest and greatest standard.

If you are talking about the last standard with a final recommendation, then that would actually be XHTML, but assuming that HTML5 is not a completed specification is incorrect.  The W3C process takes about 10 years and a standard is considered ready for general use when it reaches the CR stage, because that is when the manufacturers are confident enough in the stability to implement.  That is part of the reason for HTML5 getting forked, and why the modules for CSS4 have already been discussed and someone prioritized at the editor memo level.

If you wait until all the I's are dotted, and the Ts are crossed you will generally be 3-5 years behind the curve.  If you tech technology that way you turn out graduates who have a harder time finding work because they are not up to date.  A grad with HTML4 and CSS2 is not going to be well equipped to manage requirements that specify use of <video>, data-items, transitions, and the complex selectors possible in CSS3.  They will only be 70% ready for work in a modern shop, and most employers are not willing to carry the cost of the additional training required.


Cd&
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APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone.

Well, to be honest, I've used HTML for 12+ years, but I'm bad with CSS and cross-browsers.  I use tables for pretty much everything, and know CSS next to none.  I'm actually a Classic ASP programmer - outdated too, I know, but decided to start off by learning how to make things prettier.

As well, another piece of the equation is mobile, iPad, etc...
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APD TorontoSoftware DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Any thoughts based on my previous comment?

When I asked the instructor re HTML5 / CSS3, he did blow a fuse, saying its not a standard and it'll b thought in  few years,
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Chris StanyonWebDevCommented:
Don't use tables for design - that's bad!! Use CSS and do it properly and you designs will work across all devices and browsers..

If he said that about standards, then re-consider paying him your hard earned money - he clearly needs to update his skills (at your expense!)
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Kim WalkerWeb Programmer/TechnicianCommented:
COBOLdinosaur, you're reinforcing my point which apparently I'm not making very well. I would never suggest that HTML5 and CSS3 should NOT be taught. But I am arguing that learning HTML4 and CSS2 are not a "waste of time" as others have suggested. HTML5 and CSS3 without knowing HTML4 and CSS2 would severely handicap the student. By your calculations, they would only be 30% ready for work in a modern shop. (I know I'm exaggerating.)

Don't ignore the fact that not all internet users are using modern browsers. My job sure would be a lot easier if they were.
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COBOLdinosaurCommented:
@xmedian, I did misunderstand what you were saying; partially. Because HTML and CSS are evolved standards, it is normal to teach to the latest version, but you never ignore the legacy or how thing got to where they are today. So any complete HTML5 course would graduate students who could do the new stuff, but understand how the old stuff works and how to do upgrade.

@APD_Toronto,

The second you mention mobile and ipad, the debate basically ends.  You absolutely need the modern tools to work with those devices.  As For the instructor who blew a fuse; they are clearly indicating that they do not have a clue how the web standards process works.  They need to spend some time in the real world to see how thing work today; not 2003 when HTML4 was still the standard, but many of use were moving to XHTML1.

Cd&
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Kim WalkerWeb Programmer/TechnicianCommented:
I concur.
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Kyle HamiltonData ScientistCommented:
maybe you should stop putting labels and version numbers on it, and just learn HTML and CSS from the ground up including all the latest features. You decide how far you want to go, and how cutting edge. But your chances of getting work will increase the more latest/greatest you know. In this industry it's pretty much always a race, so if you want to compete, you need to stay up to date. But that is your decision - i'm sure there are plenty of places that are happy in their ways using outdated technology. I can assure you they don't pay very much.

If you want to do cool cutting edge stuff, you need cool cutting edge tools - there is no way around that.

If you just want to do a menial job as a low level web developer, then.. well, enough said. In my opinion, that kind of work is pretty unsatisfying, but that's just me :)
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Chris StanyonWebDevCommented:
maybe you should stop putting labels and version numbers on it, and just learn HTML and CSS
Well put ;)
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Cornelia YoderArtistCommented:
As I said in the very first posted answer:

"Once you learn HTML4 or CSS2, it should be very easy to learn any additions in the newer versions, so honestly I wouldn't worry about it."

I think we've come full circle.  Just learn what you have available, and when you are done, you'll know enough to pick up any later additions in future versions pretty easily.
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COBOLdinosaurCommented:
@yodercm,

Why would you pay for a course that will give you less than free online tutorials, and leave you with a skillset that is not going to get you much of a job?

Cd&
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Cornelia YoderArtistCommented:
@coboldinosaur

At no point did I say that paying for a course was better than a free one, so what's the problem?

What I DID say was that he needs to learn HTML and should use the best available source without worrying about whether it was HTML4 or 5.

Some people learn better in a classroom with a live teacher, some can learn from books, some from online tutorials.  I think this person is best able to decide what works for him.

If he feels a classroom setting is best for him, whether it is HTML4 or 5 is not a big deal.  

As for getting a job, if the job requires HTML5, he will be able to pick up the differences himself quite easily.   Heck, by the time he finishes a class (or online tutorial), it might be HTML6.

When I was managing and recruiting programmers for IBM, I never even asked applicants those kind of questions (do you know XYZ version 7?), it was irrelevant to their long term capability and success.

Any job recruiter that really cares whether someone knows the latest bell and whistle rather than cares if the applicant is capable of learning and of working in their environment should take up accounting instead of recruiting.
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