You will find on this website a collection of tutorials centred on web development. The tutorials cover a range of topics from basic XHTML coding to application development using ASP.NET.

The tutorials themselves are not intended as comprehensive references. Their intention is to provide a structured introduction. Anyone who has worked their way through a tutorial ought to be in a position to continue with their study and practice of the topic with reference to other online resources.

The tutorials

  • XHTML - go to Tutorial >

    XHTML is a standard for representing the structure and content of a web page. Its predecessor HTML not only represented the content and structure, but also included aspects such as the presentation of the information on the screen. However, attempting to change the design and presentation of the information using XHTML is now frowned upon and all page styling should now be done using a technique/standard called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

    This change of emphasis is a mixed blessing. It makes creation of page content very straightforward, and simplifies the XHTML data file, however, to make the page look 'cool' requires a lot of effort using CSS. This introduction to XHTML will only deal with the basic XHTML elements for coding the structure and content of a web page. CSS will be dealt with in a later tutorial.

  • CSS - go to Tutorial >

    Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) define how to display XHTML. The XHTML tutorial stressed the importance of separating content from style. XHTML simply codes the structure and content of the web page. CSS provide a powerful technique for determining the presentation of a webpage on a display and/or device.

    Although CSS techniques can be used within a web page to perform styling at the level of the whole page and even down to the level of an individual element, we will avoid this use. The power of CSS is in their ability to control the presentation of all the pages in a website. Multiple style sheets are allowed and the combined effect will be applied to the page by cascading the effects of each in turn.

  • Web Images - go to Tutorial >

    Images are both used and abused by web page creators. The old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" has to be treated with caution, as images on web pages have quite often been used for pure decoration, and as such perform no useful purpose. However, a well placed image can illustrate a complex point, which might otherwise be more difficult to express in words. This tutorial will explore the issues surrounding the use of images on web pages. We will emphasise 'correct' use, and come up with a list of guidelines which will help when using images with your websites.

  • Embedded Media - go to Tutorial >

    Sometimes is is necessary to include more than just text and images in a web page. The recent upsurge in online music and video demonstrates this clearly. The questions for the web developer are:

    • How do we include advanced content in web pages?
    • What issues are there in providing such content?

    This tutorial looks at the techniques that are required and discusses the range of issues to be resolved .

  • Expression® Web - go to Tutorial >

    One only has to use analysis tools on websites revealed using a Google search to realise that there are many websites in use which do not meet the latest standards. Many sites don't just fail to comply with basic page formatting standards, such as HTML, XHTML or CSS, but they fail to meet accessibility criteria. We are not just talking about client websites; we are talking about the home pages of some website design companies. One cannot really defend this, however, some of the problems are caused by a reliance on development tools which do not work well with the latest standards and techniques. This could be due to a lack of support (e.g. FrontPage® 2003) or it could be by virtue of the overly complex and non-intuitive nature of configuration for the tools themselves.

    This tutorial requires the participant to have a good knowledge of XHTML, CSS and Website Accessibility standards. It also assumes that you can work with XHTML and CSS code in a text editing environment. The aim is to demonstrate that high-end visual tools can be used to develop standards based accessible websites with minimal recourse to use of the text-based code view.

  • ASP.NET 2.0 - go to Tutorial >

    This tutorial is aimed at anyone who has studied program design and web page creation. An understanding of programming concepts and XHTML is essential, and this will preferably be supplemented by an understanding of web standards, accessibility issues and object oriented techniques for program development.

    The focus of this tutorial is that of scripting as a technique for enhancing an application environment. This could be interpreted in many ways; for example:

    • Scripting actions in a multimedia presentation
    • Developing macros in a spreadsheet application
    • Configuring an interactive user interface for an Access database
    • Automating document creation for Word documents in an office environment.

    However, this tutorial will develop the concept of scripting as a technique to make web pages dynamic and interactive using the C# language and ASP.NET.

  • Web Services - go to Tutorial >

    "Web services provide a standard means of interoperating between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and/or frameworks." [W3C, 2007]

    Web Services is a big subject, however, this tutorial will look at it from the point of view of Web Applications using SOAP messages encoded using XML for interoperating with Web Services accessible using a WSDL definition.

    This may all seem quite complex or full of Jargon and Acronyms but the tutorial aims to lead you gently through the processes of building a remote web service into your web application.

    This tutorial is based on the use of ASP.NET to build web applications which incorporate results of web service calls.

Developer notes

In the course of undertaking development projects there occur situations where you need to solve a problem which is new to you. After the event, these may seem trivial, but in the middle of a project they can consume a lot of time. These pages are my attempt to provide some quick pragmatic solutions to common development issues.

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