I learned how to code my "Contact Me" page, and its result page, "Contact Form Delivery," in January, 2015, thanks to the generous folks at Free Contact Form, who share these instructions at no cost:
In the mid-1990s, I began coding HTML web pages using a plain text editor, Windows Notepad. I learned the basics from instructions I found on the web, through a lot of trial-and-error. I tried a few early HTML editors, including HotDog. Later I tested Microsoft Word as an HTML editor, but did not find it useful. In my early efforts, I relied on HTML Tables for my layouts.
In the new millenium, I learned Dreamweaver and Flash in a course at Drexel, where I earned a BS degree in Computing Technology in 2006. The pages I designed with Dreamweaver relied on DIV rather than TABLE tags for layouts, and incorporated CSS styling. I used Dreamweaver for a few projects after that, then tried hard-coding a couple of DIV-based designs using Notepad.
Claris Home Page
I soon switched to the much simpler Claris Home Page 3.0 editor for personal pages as well as for work, because my boss at Philly's Nonprofit Technology Resources
(where I worked intermittently from 1996 to 2012 as a volunteer and as a staff member) was familiar with it, and because its ease-of-use made it a better choice for teaching others how to write for the web.
Back to Basics
In recent years, I have stopped using web editors and gone back to coding with plain text editors such as Notepad. As of January, 2015, I have been using Notepad++
, a free "source code editor and Notepad replacement" for a year or two, and am very happy with it. It includes a number of built-in coding shortcuts. It is very handy for identifying pairs of opening and closing tags, and helping me spot missing or extraneous tags.
In 2011 I began designing a blog, using the WordPress.com
(fully hosted) platform at first, but soon switching to the more powerful, but harder to learn, WordPress.org
(self-hosted) platform. I designed one public blog for a member of my extended family, and began work on a blog of my own that I have not yet launched. For details, see my Dave Butler's Blogs page (coming soon).
PHP and MySQL
In 2012 I loaded some of my MS-Access data tables and queries into a MySQL database of my own design, and learned how to code database-driven web pages using PHP. I soon decided to incorporate that design into a blog framework. My plan will require a number of custom-designed templates, within a custom "theme" of my own design, to interface with my custom database. As of January, 2015, I still have a fair amount of infrastructure to build before I can get to the fun part.