Q:
Student: I am looking for a way to learn web site design as quickly and efficiently as possible and make money with it too in the mean time. Can you give me any advice? At this point I have problems with moving components and am trying to figure out how to do .gif graphics.

A:
Congratulations! You are embarking on a great journey. Rama was consistently enthusiastic about technology. To be a programmer means that you have to simultaneously hold large disparate complex constructs in your mind. Just perfect for us meditators who do this sort of thing every day.

1. GIF Animation's
There are a number of tools that perform this function very well. Fireworks and Flash by Macromedia approach this by giving you artist tools that you can render over time and export an animation direct from the programs. Other tools such as Animation Studio bundled with Paint Shop Pro (a must!) by JASC allow you to apply cool photo effects over time. If you are looking for a bargain entry point, search Download.com and Filemine.com for gif animation tools and specifically GIF Construction Set - an original. While not as sophisticated as some of the higher end tools, these programs enable you to link together small photos over time.

2. HTML
The glue that holds the pages together isn't necessary complex, but can be daunting at first. This language runs as interpreted code within the browser. Because of this, all of the HTML code that drives the world web sites is yours for the seeing just by clicking VIEW SOURCE. Still, nothing beats a great HTML editor. We highly recommend Dreamweaver also from Macromedia. This top-notch editor allows you to use the WYSIWYG editor and automatically writes the code and even allows you to get down to the tag level and adjust it by hand. With complex tables and frames, you normally have hours of tweaking, but with this and other high end editors, your life is greatly simplified. If you are priced out of the park, check your system for Front Page Express (c:\program files\front page express). It comes with Windows 98 and can help you get through the construction of individual pages.

3. Making money
The market is crowded with a lot of talented programmers, but that is not a reason to stay out! The trick when you are first starting out is to identify areas that you believe have a demand and become a master at those. If you like animated gifs and develop a proficiency, consider making banners for existing web sites. Because companies like to change their banners often, this is quite often a source of steady revenue. Be creative, the Internet is still the place of pioneers so make your own mark!

4. Getting started
Be the board! Be the program! Start by subscribing to Internet World, Web Techniques, and make your home page Developer.com! Yes, most of it will look confusing, but by immersing yourself into the cyberculture of programmers, you will quickly pick up on the lingo and then the mindset. It also doesn't hurt to intensify your meditation as well. This will sharpen the mind and increase your psychic sensitivity. This means that you can get to a place where you feel the answer before you know it. This programmers' intuition is invaluable when debugging and creating.

GOOD LUCK! NEVER GIVE UP! Above all, be patient with yourself. No matter what the occasional snob programmer might put out, no one learned this overnight!

 

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