In 1997, View -> Source was the web page debugging tool we had available. I remember my friend Drey complaining about the lack of tools. I’d never been any kind of developer besides a web developer, so I had no idea what she was talking about.
Sometimes people who have been applications developers but not web developers are at sea when they first have to work with web front end frameworks. They don’t really know HTML well enough to create working and easily styled web pages. When they ask me for help, I usually hand them a copy of Dan Cederholm’s “Web Standards Solutions”. I’m not sure if this has actually helped anyone but it’s the only way I can think to guide them.
I think that starting with the most basic HTML and learning through the evolution of web front end technology (I remember being so excited about CSS) is a tremendous advantage. I don’t even know where to start with someone who doesn’t already know what valid and well-formed means, or separation of content from formatting, or, of course, semantic markup. That shorthand is my foundation.