Web Language Basics

This introduction to Web Languages is for anyone who wants to learn how the web works and how to make a website with HTML and CSS. We hope these tutorials and guides will be helpful to you as you learn the basics of web design.

Websites are made from a combination of computer languages, sent as text to the viewer’s computer, and there translated into a visable web page. Different languages do different things on a web page. The two most basic languages, that are the foundation of any website, are Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). These two languages work together to form the base of any web page.

HTML is a markup language, used to tell a web browser, like Internet Explorer or Firefox, what different parts of your website are. It uses tags (explained in the HTML Introduction) to tell a browser the difference between text meant for a paragraph or a heading, what should be a link and where it links to, or where to find an image and how large to display it. In essence, it provides the content for a website.

CSS provides the style for a site. A style sheet (a document containing css code) tells a browser how to display different HTML tags. For example, a style sheet could tell a browser to make all paragraphs green and use arial font, or make a red outline around all images. The newest version of CSS also allows you to define drop-shadows, round corners on images or other square objects, and many other things that will enhance our web viewing experience as designers start to use these new options.

Many other languages add interactive content to the web. Actionscript and Javascript are scripting languages that allow a designer to create animated objects like dropdown menus and Flash games. PHP and MySQL are languages that run on a web server and interact with databases to store user preferences and information to provide a unique experience for each user. These languages won’t be covered on our site for the time being, but will be added in the future as our HTML and CSS sections are completed.

With that introduction, you are ready to start learning the languages themselves. Start with our HTML Introduction to learn how to build the base of your website.