A good part of it is coming from the web.
I mean, I’m a certified programmer (I went to Multihexa, a programmation school over here) but what you learn in school is pertty much how to do your work with the minimal effort, there isn’t any ‘creative’ aspect to it. That’s why I’m always on forums / blogs / google to try to find out cool stuff that just came out… so I guess we could say 70% of my knowledge come from the web, 20% from school, and 10% from job :) (currently doing a work placement as a graphist / programmer).
Much of it these days comes from the Web I suppose. I initially learned HTML in 1999 – around the dot-com boom lol – There was no doctype to declare – everything set out in tables, CSS was practically a twinkle in its daddy’s eye, used only for colouring text. We would marvel at that alchemy of slicing up images and spreading them across table cells to make a ‘natural’ looking webpage that mirrored print design. None of this process was wrong for its time – there wasn’t an alternative really as CSS was very basic and there were compatibility issues between the browsers (netscape and IE).
But, I’m happy to say that I kept up with the trends and embraced CSS as and when it was taken up by the browsers properly (in IE6’s case of course, that was never) and am a stern advocate of web standards and the semantic web. Much if not all of this ‘new’ knowledge has come from the web – on forums, blogs, newsfeeds – generally to tweak the knowledge I have, to jolt me out of bad habits, or to introduce new concepts which I may or may not agree with. The web is my home now lol!
A long answer to the question – but it was a complicated question for me to answer hehe.
In my early days, almost completely from books.
Now, I’d say almost 100% from websites to get the
latest CSS tips and tricks.
For design ideas I have a few favorite websites
that showcase some of the best designs out there. I grab
screen shots of my favorites, print them out, and study them
like a fiend.
I also subscribe to an online magazine called "Before and After"
It’s not only about site design, but for print as well.
I don’t know why, but I hate learning from book. It’s often not really semantic, and oudated, even if you take a recent one. Take for exemple HTML book, they are still showing <br> instead of <br /> and lot of little details like that. Some of them still design with table (yea, like back when we started :P) ! So … I never read those book anymore, they are so wrong :X !
If you ever find a good book, I’ll be glad to check it out tough, but I doubt you will…
The thing with HTML etc is that the spead of new trends etc is actually slowing down to a pace were you can buy books that will help. Good example is that CSS2.1 has been around for a while.
However I tend to think books on code gets out dated sooner than books on trends and other elements like usability, accessibility etc.
I know books are outdated soon, but for me they got another value why I like to read them. Everything I read on the internet is in English. And while my main language is Dutch, it sometimes just learns a lot faster when I read the things in my own language. For the rest is the internet much more updated ofcourse and also learns me specific tricks (like on css-tricks) but sometimes books are just helping me to get a little deeper in to the theory.
I suppose it depends on what you’re trying to learn. I still have a HTML 4.01 reference book from 2001, and although at that time sites were built with tables and scant regard for semantics, this book still lists the meaning of each tag and its proper intended use. Just as useful today as it was then. Some of the tags are like looking back at silent films lol.
90% from the web, 5% from books, 5% from school. I am currently back in school going for a Web Technologies degree. Haven’t gotten into any courses where I’ve learned anything I didn’t already know. Should be getting into a PHP class soon, which is something I know very little about, so I’m looking forward to that one.
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