I am a beginner in Web Designing. For sure a CMS like Joomla (Joomla 3.1, now) is very useful for one who doesn't care about coding. But... I know for sure that the ability of coding really helps a lot in the production of stunning websites. And I wish to produce magnificent Sites, only. I measured my forces by producing a first Site, namely A Site for the free tuition of Computer Matters, using Joomla 2.5 This Site is still under development.

I learned, by attending Lynda movies, that XHTML.1 is preferable, when compared with HTML 4.1 Now, my questions are:

Would it be preferable to start with HTML5? I don't think so. Is it true that HTML5 works badly with certain browser like Explorer?...and not so well in any case? I would do really appreciate a Master's advice. Tks Bruno

  • You are wondering which version of HTML to concentrate on learning as a beginner and yet you have produced a (clearly linked) site on giving Computer Tuition?
    – joesk
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:06
  • joesk. I was helped, of course, but the design was mine.
    – user22911
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:28
  • ...and I am very familiar with the subjects treated in my first site.
    – user22911
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:56
  • You're doing great so far!
    – joesk
    Jan 30, 2013 at 19:04
  • Thanks, joesk. At the age of 70, I find it exciting to "go back to school". I am a stubborn person so I shall show you (in a reasonable period of time i.e. a few months) the first stunning site produce only with my forces. Please encourage me! Thank you!
    – user22911
    Jan 31, 2013 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


HTML5 uses better markups that are not only easier to use but also is slightly better for SEO purposes, while its not amazing for SEO as Google yets to favor HTML5 websites it does better from Rich Markups and the ASIDE elements and Articles which helps Google establish what the page is about and maybe elements which have nothing to do with the page itself. With HTML4, XHTML etc it's not possible to inform Google that say a Blog roll or links to the right of the page are not anything to do with the actual article.

HTML5 Compatibility

There are many JavaScripts like HTML5Shiv, Modernizr that make HTML5 compatible in older devices and browsers as well as giving you the ability to style different elements for different versions of Browsers.

Think Frameworks Rather than CMS

I think beginner website designers are better of exploring the various frameworks available then using those to build a website in any CMS. In this day and age you want to be thinking of the Responsive Design, I recently wrote an article about how it can help small businesses and why all website designers should use responsive design. Mobile internet surfing is exploding at the moment and with 4G becoming more available and the fact that Mobiles are becoming faster, I strongly believe that all designers should be opting to use responsive design in all their projects. Not only does it give you edge over your competitors if they are failing to take this up, it also gives your customer better experiences for their visitors. Failing to learn responsive may lose your sales as well.

Hundreds of Quality Frameworks

As a beginner it'll be beneficial for you to take a look at various frameworks, most of these frameworks have been compiled for Joomla and Wordpress.. Once you know a framework its pretty easy to get it to work with a CMS or simply obtain a copy that has been made for the CMS that you require.

Here's a few good Responsive Frameworks / Boiler Plates

I personally prefer Zurb Foundation because its not to heavy and offers a really nice fluid grid, while a lot of other people like Bootstrap but I find it just way to heavy and the grid system it uses I dislike, but as I've said there are hundreds and the best one is the one that makes you to work fast and deliver the best results. Some people fight over which one is best but to be honest the best framework or boiler plate is one that allows you as the designer to make use off the most.

Frameworks / Boiler Plates for Various CMS

Github is a great place for looking for frameworks that have already been converted into a Joomla Theme or Wordpress Template, meaning that you save lots of time and you just focus on the DESIGN elements of the site and how it should function.

Don't Believe Everything You Read

As I've mentioned that in the HTML Compatibility section there is plenty of ways of overcoming compatibility issues. HTML5 works fine and most who claim its not good are those who are frightened of change.

HTML5 References

If you do decide to opt to use HTML5 ensure you bookmark this site as It helped me tons making the move from HTML4 to HTML5: HTML5 Doctor

W3C Believes in HTML5

I also wrote another article a way back about W3C making plans to finish HTML5 standard, which is worth a read. They have completed HTML5 and now working towards HTML 5.1 so its fully supported and believed in which should give you even more confidence in making the move.


It's worth noting that I am a HTML5 fan boy but other than that there will become a point where you will need to make that change because the advantages of using HTML5 will outweigh the ones using older style of coding. Why not make the change while your mind is younger, people delaying something that is sooner than later become standard doesn't make sense to me.

  • No comments except that I find the gentleman who replied to me a really very kind and helpful person. Should I, then, start immediately with HTML5, disregarding HTML4 & XHTML 1 ?
    – user22911
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:24
  • No comments except that I find the gentleman who replied to me a really very kind and helpful person. Should I, then, start immediately with HTML5, disregarding HTML4 & XHTML 1 ? After that I shall need to to learn CSS3 and Javascript plus PHP and MySQL Will you confirm, sir?
    – user22911
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:31
  • Hi, you want to use CSS3 with HTML5 at the same time while designing, the easiest way to learn is making static pages but its not essential you could just start making templates for Joomla or Wordpress. I believe that Joomla 3 uses the Bootstrap Framework so you could take a look at developing pages without the CMS and then incorporate those into actual templates with reading the Joomla Docs how-tos. Jan 30, 2013 at 18:35
  • +1 - Great answer. And to the OP, yes, you should absolutely start out with HTML 5.
    – Kenzo
    Jan 30, 2013 at 18:36
  • The problem I have with people learning HTML4 and XHTML1 is that at some point your only going to have to learn HTML5.. So you might as well start of with HTML5. 90% of HTML5 still uses elements that are used in HTML4 so your kinda be learning both anyway. Theres no right or wrong answer to this but its what you think logically is worth while. Jan 30, 2013 at 18:36

At the beginning, forget about the differences between XHTML, HTML4, HTML5 (markup), CSS2, CSS3 (styling), etc.

Think about it like learning to build a house. In the beginning, you don't really need to understand the differences between gas heating systems vs electric vs solar, or what style of house is currently en vogue (ranch, multi-story, igloo-shaped). You need to understand how to properly lay a foundation, build the framework, etc.

Learn HTML. Then, get a basic understanding of CSS & JavaScript. After that, it's time for a server-side language, probably PHP to start, with MySQL shortly thereafter.

None of these things are required knowledge to build a site using CMS software like Joomla, WordPress, etc. But if you want to be able to customize said CMS more than just installing other peoples' themes, plugins, modules, etc., it is necessary to study the core underlying technologies used. In most cases, those technologies are HTML/CSS/JavaScript/PHP/MySQL.

You have a long road ahead, with a lot of time spent refreshing your browser window to see the effects of your creations. But, it is a very satisfying feeling to see something you've created, from scratch. Even if it isn't the best-looking thing in the world, that baby is yours.

Once you have the core knowledge of web development & design down pat, making Joomla/WordPress/et. al., sing to your tune is simply a matter of learning the different ways that they utilize and incorporate those core technologies. In the end, they're all just houses of a different style.

  • AKTed. First: though I am an Italian I can tell you that you write a very fine English (it was about time to find someone who doesn't use horrible abbreviations, wrong spelling, slang etc.). Second: I, happily, see that you are a well-read person. I am learning from you "et al." I am using mainly lynda.com movie-lessons. I had started with lynda's HTML & XHTML, learning that XHTML is the way to go, first. After reading bybe's suggestions I have decided to switch to HTML5. To resume: shall I continue with HTML & XHTML or HTML5 is fine? I thank you for your further suggestion. Warm thanks. Bruno
    – user22911
    Feb 1, 2013 at 12:00
  • My previous answer to you was really a complete one but too long for the standard of this Site. Sorry that I had to reduce it. Regards. Sorry that we can't correspond via mail-Bruno
    – user22911
    Feb 1, 2013 at 12:02

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