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The Basics of Web Coding

By: Jared Mikuls

To most, reading web code is about as clear as reading in a foreign language, but to people like me, it displays vital information about how a website functions. In today’s world, it’s not necessary to understand code in order to make your own website. Tools like Wordpress, Squarespace, and Wix make it super easy for even the most technologically illiterate to create their own site. Though it’s not a necessity to know how to code, it’s a huge plus to simply understand how it works. In this blog, I’ll give you a brief overview of the three main web coding languages: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Building a website isn’t so different from building a house. Before you can put in the wiring you need walls, and before you put up walls, you need to lay a foundation. In the world of web design, HTML (which stands for Hypertext Markup Language) is your foundation. HTML, which is by far the easiest language to use, is used to insert all of your content on to your web page. With just a little bit of code, you can upload all of your headings, paragraphs, and images on to your website.

While mastering HTML isn’t too difficult, it will leave your website looking like it was made in 1999; and that’s where CSS comes in. If HTML is your website’s foundations, then Cascading Style Sheets is the website’s walls. You can use CSS to stylize any element of the page and further control the layout of the site. Want to change all of your headers to a certain font or add a gradient background to the site? Easy. Take a look at the example below to see how you can use CSS to upgrade your HTML code.

Finally, the last coding language that is often implemented in web design is JavaScript. This is by far the most advanced of the three languages. While HTML inputs the site’s content and CSS makes it look good, JavaScript makes it interactive. Following the house metaphor, JS is like the wiring. Let’s say you want to put a form on a website that a user would use to fill out their information, or you want the site to start an animation based on the user’s scroll position. That is all done with JavaScript. Compared to HTML and CSS, this language requires a bit more time to get the hang of but mastering it can take your site to the next level.

It may seem like a lot at first, but understanding how web coding works can take your site from good to great. Of course, you can continue to use website builders like Wordpress, Squarespace, or Wix; but if you understand how the code works you can customize your sites further than before and troubleshoot any errors with a breeze. This was just a brief introduction to the world of web coding, but if you’re interested in learning more about coding there are tons of free resources out there to get you started. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below. Good luck! W3 Schools


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