Web Design: Drinking From a Firehose

Ray Wenderlich
Water Spraying from a Firehose

Image credit: Mario Trejo

Believe it or not, this is the first site I’ve made from scratch since around 1997. And wow a lot of things have changed since then.

Before I used to make web sites in straight HTML using tables and transparent GIFs for layout, and used tools like Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop (4.0!) to make simple effects. The web sites back then were very basic and didn’t look all that good, so it was easy for an amateur to get in there and make a decent (comparatively) site.

Trying to get back into web design after all this time has been a bit of a shock, to say the least. There are a ton new new topics to learn all at once – CSS, PHP, Photoshop, Illustrator, WordPress, effective blogging, social media, design skills in general. The bar has been raised extremely high, due to the many talented artists and designers in the field. And for software developers like me without much artistic background – it seems like drinking from a firehose!

But, as with learning anything new, all you can do is take one step at a time. The learning is actually a lot of fun – it’s one of the main reasons I like software development as a field. And there are a lot of folks like Dan Cederholm and Chris Coyier who have been kind enough to share their experience and wisdom so web design n00bs like me can get up to speed quicker!

So yes, getting into web design is like drinking from a firehose. But if you’re thirsty to learn – that may be just what you need.

Ray Wenderlich

Ray is an indie software developer currently focusing on iPhone and iPad development, and the administrator of this site. He’s the founder of a small iPhone development studio called Razeware, and is passionate both about making apps and teaching others the techniques to make them.

When Ray’s not programming, he’s probably playing video games, role playing games, or board games.

User Comments


  • Probably one of my better areas is web development, purely because i have a far better understanding of it and seems to come more naturally.

    Objective-C has been self taught and can be frustrating to remember and understand at times.

    I've spent a lot of time recently working with Wordpress, throughly enjoy it, and its very easy to use. Biggest surprise for me was the shear amount of websites that actually use it.

    Another interesting aspect is HTML5 and CSS3 however i haven't done much because of certain browsers lacking the compatibility. *cough* IE *cough* Hopefully they correct this soon though.

    I did make a demo of bubbles using html5 that demonstrated oscillating, bounding boxes and animation as well. Was pretty cool.
  • A very elegant way to put it. Web design is definitely complex, but it can be really fun. Once you get the ball rolling you really don't want to stop learning more and more!

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