Web sites have become exponentially more complex and the expectations of site visitors have soared as well.
The only way to build powerful pages is to use sophisticated tools, quickly and effectively.
Choose tools that have decent documentation and a good community. You will need help. Be ready to reciprocate.
Use sample code. Everytime you have to learn something new, start with someone else’s posted code. It might not work exactly as you want it to, but you can tweak it, one piece at a time, until it does.
Be very aware of the code architecture. Use an MVC approach, since it is likely you will have at least two views - through a template or HTML and AJAX/JSON.
Abandon ideas that are too difficult. This isn’t lazy, it is smart. You’re smart, if you can’t get something working quickly, find another one. Many smart people posted great ideas - use them (and share yours). Abandon tools or libraries that don’t work quickly, too. There is one caveat - if you can see a tool’s potential and are humble enough to admit the problem is a learning curve, it may be worth persisting a little longer. eZ publish is a great example of this - it was well worth learning.
Use abstract data structures and concepts. Multi-dimensional arrays are incredibly powerful.
Be persistent, if it is almost working, keep trying. Try things that don’t make sense, because sometimes, they work - and well.
Don’t be afraid to be wrong.
Explore, learn, try. Very little of what I have learned has been useless. Even mistakes and bad ideas are valuable, to avoid.
Be independent. Don’t ask for help right away. Try to solve your own problems, then ask.