Carmen Nel's World

HTML and CSS is the backbone of your SharePoint site, it is the bones that gives your site structure and the makeup, foundation and perfume that makes your site look and feel beautiful. Unfortunately most people feel that writing and compiling HTML and CSS is a very daunting task, more or less like learning Mandarin or Klingon. The truth is that it doesn’t need to be that difficult. In my 6 years’ experience in SharePoint land I have come across 5 important “Follow This” instructions that will make your approach to coding and all other “outlandish” codes much easier:

“Follow This 1” – Know what it is that you are attempting to understand and why 

You know the saying “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up there”. Well the same with trying to learn code. If you don’t know what the code is and what it is used for then it will keep on being “outlandish”. So first and foremost, go and research what HTML and CSS is used for and why.

“Follow This 2” – What do you want to do with the “Outlandish” code 

Now that you know what HTML and CSS is, you can start plotting what you want to do with it. In most SharePoint cases you would want to use CSS and HTML for your Masterpage and page layouts. In this step, take a piece of paper and draw your Masterpage or page layout and start planning the process, the look and feel and even the “smell” of your portal.

“Follow This 3” – Know what the “Outlandish” code can do for you 

It is now time to learn the actual code and discover what it can do for you. Most of the time I realised that I can build mountains with my code instead of the little ant-hills that I anticipated and planned in step 2. Before you go for a course, first learn the basics by surfing the web and finding resources. If you do it this way around you will not feel lost in the classroom and you will probably not suffer from information overload.

“Follow This 4” – Be the inner child that you know is in there somewhere 

Play with the code, discover new ways of doing things and use your imagination. If you fall of your chair and break your computer, ask IT  to fix it or roll back and imagine a new way of doing it. This is the best way to learn.

“Follow This 5” – Try, Try and Try again

The more you use the coding language the quicker you will learn. Find tutorials online and start using the code. Never stop using it because coding is not like riding a bike where you can just get back on. It is something that you have to nurture and grow as you discover new possibilities in SharePoint land.

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