I have a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Kansas State University. I have found myself filling the role of VP Technology for an auction firm. Having never taken a course in anything relating to computers since “keyboarding” during my freshman year of high school – which I essentially tested out of and spent my time playing Doom II and Descent – I frequently find myself needing a primer on a programming language or a protocol or a standard.
While most of the time I need to know how to build a specific kind of MySQL query or perform a specific operation with PHP or Perl – and a quick Google search usually suffices for such needs – sometimes I have the need to quickly become proficient with an entire language or standard such as PHP or XML or XHTML. For this need of learning the basic concepts quickly, I usually turn to W3Schools.
The W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C is the standards body in charge of making sure that the languages and protocols on the web not only make sense but continue to evolve and improve in a way that lets everyone have influence. I’m not sure if W3Schools is directly associated with the W3C. If you know the answer, let me know in the comments.
W3 Schools is a site that offers very concise tutorials on many of the current web standards and scripting languages. It gives both lessons and quizzes to ensure that you comprehend the material. It has an open source feel to it, and though while I don’t know exactly the structure behind the scenes, I feel like I’m learning from a learned community rather than a biased for-pay source.
I’ve found W3 Schools to be very straight-forward and simple; it’s a site that can quickly take you from not knowing anything about a specific topic to knowing enough to build your first ‘hello world’ printout in about 30 minutes. After the primer, mastery is up to you, but W3 Schools has always been a great starting point for me