How Basic Web Development Languages HTML and CSS Work

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In this article, we start with 1) the web design using HTML and CSS, then deep dive into 2) HTML and 3) CSS, and finishing the topic by learning 4) where you can improve your HTML and CSS skills.

WEB DESIGN USING HTML AND CSS

What is Web Design/web development?

The term web design refers to the development, creation and visual design of the various files and documents that you see on the web. The better the web design, more will the visitors get attracted to a web page, leading to more activity and hence improving the probability of sales. For all website owners, it is important to create not just visually attractive designs but also highly functional ones. While designing a website, one must keep in mind several factors that can lead to a highly interactive page/pages. The quality and appeal of the web design plays an important role in influencing the decision of a visitor to revisit the website.

Building a website needs proper planning and thinking so that the result is a design that has high visual appeal as well as a smooth interface. Creation or development of a website is a process involving the right level of creativity, imagination, skills and knowledge. While planning a web design, you can consider the following given tips:

  • Define your target audience – The first step is to define your target audience as this will have an impact on your design, content, and other specifications.
  • Clutter-free design – It is always better to go for a clutter-free design as simplicity, and the concept of ‘less is more’ is often more welcomed by users.
  • Intuitive navigation – The functionality and navigation of the website too must be fast, smooth and intuitive in nature. For this, it is better to go for a design with low bandwidth.

Brief Intro about Web Development Languages

A programming language is a language that is used to create content for the internet or web. It is a formally developed language that is created in order to communicate directions and instructions into a machine such as a computer system. There are many types of programming languages which are used to develop several programs that help to control machines and the way they function.

Programming can be understood as coding where your aim is to solve a puzzle in order to come up with a clear and translated solution. Programming is the way to make a web page or website appear as an understandable series of written content, visual graphics and colors, etc. But the programming languages, in which web pages are written, do not appear to you as syntax or codes but their translated versions. For example, if a page is written using HTML, which is a programming language, then the visual output won’t be in HTML but in language that you can understand.

HTML and CSS are some of the most common and popular languages used to create or design websites. Only those who have learned the coding and structure of these languages can use them to develop websites. The following is a brief of the objective of these languages:

  • Objective of using HTML: HTML can be understood as the style information and page structure of a web page and is a language that provides the basic structure of websites. HTML is further modified and enhanced by other platforms such as CSS and JavaScript.
  • Objective of using CSS: CSS on the other hand is rather a markup language that is used to control the different aspects of web design including a presentation, formatting, and layout.

HTML

What is HTML?

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language is a programming or web markup language that is used for creation and development of web pages. HTML is the main basis or core of any web page, no matter how complex it is in nature and irrespective of the technologies involved in its creation. Anyone who wants to learn how to create content for the web must first learn HTML. HTML basically provides the general structure for the creation or development of webpages. The elements of a web page such as the headlines, the titles, the links and the text, etc. are all included in an HTML file or document.

This language uses tags that identify content, and there are more than hundred different such tags. Tags are basically those elements that provide instructions about how the text would be displayed and how graphics will be visible. This can be better understood by knowing that each web page on the web is made up of a bunch of HTML tags that describe or denote every kind of content present on the page. The content is wrapped up or enclosed within these HTML tags. The ‘tag’ aspect is represented by open and close brackets within which the content is given. For example, if you had to display the sentence ‘My Name is John’ on a webpage, then the HTML command that you will give for it will be:

<p> My Name is John</p>

Since HTML is a markup language, it does not need or require any special editor and one does not need to compile it. HTML can be written in any text editor, but some people also make use of special HTML editors for the designing or creation of web pages. Also, HTML does not require any server or the help of uploading on the internet to interpret documents on your computer system. Basically, in order to use and learn HTML, you need to memorize as many tags as possible, especially the most important or commonly used ones, which are given as follows:

<a>-this tag helps to create a hyperlink so that a user can go from one page to another.

<p>-this tag denotes a paragraph.

<br>-this tag is used to create a single line break in a page or document.

<img>-this tag is used to denote a space for an image that is linked.

<b>-this tag is used to denote a word or series of words in bold.

<div>-this tag in HTML is used to divide off sections in a document.

<html>-this tag is used to denote the starting of an HTML document.

To understand the nuances of writing an HTML code, you can refer to the following example:

<html>

<head>

<title>The first web page</title>

</head>

<body>

All the content of the web page comes here:

</body>

</html>

How does HTML work?

As mentioned above, HTML is the primary or most basic building block of a web page and is a language that helps a web designer create the format or structure of web pages. In order to work with HTML or use it, you will either need a text editor like Notepad or WordPad or an HTML editor. In order to create a file using HTML, you will need to name it as index.htm or index.html. Creating a website or webpage by making use of HTML is a fairly simple process, one that mainly requires you to memorize the tags, know their usage and implement them when needed. While HTML forms the core of all web pages on the internet, it is important to understand that it alone isn’t enough and designers may need to use other platforms and programming languages too to come up with a brilliant page or site.

Process of creating a website using HTML

Step 1.Creating an HTML doc

The first step in creating an HTML document is to select a text editor or HTML editor of your choice and then save it under the name’sample.html’ or ‘sample.htm’. This means that your file will be stored under this name on your desktop or computer system.

Step 2. Know and use the proper structure of an HTML doc

The next step for creating a web page is to know the correct and proper structure of an HTML doc and then use it when writing the code. All web pages have a certain format that has to be followed, and the following are the details of this format:

  • The first line of the document identifies the version or the type of HTML that you are using.
  • The rest of the document must be enclosed within <html> and </html> pair of tags.
  • The first part or section of a web page is known as the HEAD, and this means that the page begins with <head> tag and ends with </head> tag. This section contains information for the browser, and this part contains the purpose of the document but the information given in it is not displayed on the web page.
  • The next part of the HTML code contains information that is displayed on the web page and this part is known as the BODY and is enclosed within the <body> and </body> pair of tags.
Step 3. Work then on smaller pieces of text

Now that you have understood the format and structure, it is time to fill in smaller details. Here, it is important to remember that the Head section’s most important tag is the TITLE tag that is used to give the title to your web page. This title is not displayed on the web page but lets the browser know the title of your document. This tag is compulsory and cannot be left out. Similarly, the BODY of the document must consist of important tags like ‘PARAGRAPH’ or <p> tags so as to distinguish between different paragraphs of the content.

Step 4. Displaying images

Another important aspect of creating s webpage using HTML is to add images to it. There are two main ways of doing so, and they are given as follows:

  • The first method involves linking the page to another website that has the image that you want to display. This can be done by giving the code: <img src=”web address” alt=”logo”>
  • The next method is having an images folder and linking your web page to the image directly by following the given code: <img src=”image source” alt=”My picture”>
Step 5. Adjusting colors on your website

If you are interested in adjusting colors on your website, then you must understand that HTML color codes are hexadecimal triplets which represent red, green and blue colors which means that if the color is red then the color code #FF0000 is ‘255’ red, ‘0’ green and ‘0’ blue. Every color has a code, and the colors of background, text and tables can be adjusted accordingly.

CSS

What is CSS?

CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is a simple language that is used to alter and change the visual appeal and overall appearance of websites. CSS helps to describe how a particular webpage or website on the web will and should look in a web browser. While HTML forms the structure, CSS does the decorating and designing work. Without making use of this language or programming platform, a web page can look bland and boring. CSS is in charge of the typography, the backgrounds, the colors as well as the other design characteristics.

What is really special about CSS is the fact that the same CSS file can be linked to multiple pages which makes it possible for a developer or designer to change the look of several pages simultaneously. This language makes use of a simple and easy to understand syntax that is composed of two parts that are the selector and the declaration. The selector is the one who decides the element on which a rule is applicable whereas the declaration decides the action to be taken on the element.

CSS is a set of rules which can be used to assign different properties to HTML. The rules can be applied not just to single sentences or multiple lines but also to entire documents and even several documents. Every browser already has a default or set style sheet but by using CSS, you can edit this style sheet and add your own version of it. CSS thus enables one to make his/her website appear unique, customized in style and high in a visual appeal.

How does CSS work?

CSS gives your website or webpage a certain element of style by adding colors, changing backdrops, offering interesting fonts and changing the tone and mood of it. It is a highly powerful and effective tool that can add spice to a boring webpage or website. To know how CSS really works, you can read the following given information:

Basic CSS Syntax:

Selector{property: value;}

To understand that syntax, assume that you wish to give a nice red color to your background then you will use the following CSS code:

Body{background-color: #FF0000;}

Applying CSS to HTML code

Now that you know the basic syntax or code of CSS, it is time to learn how to apply CSS to an HTML code. Basically, there are three different ways of doing so, and they are given as follows:

1. In-Line Method or Attribute Style

By using the red background color example, you can apply this method by following the given example:

<html>

   <head>

       <title>demonstration</title>

   </head>

   <body style=”background-color: #FF0000;”>

       <p>This is a red background </p>

   </body>

   </html>

2. Internal Method or Tag Style

Another way to apply CSS to HTML is by using the internal method or the tag<style>. Follow the given example to understand this better:

<html>

   <head>

       <title>demonstration</title>

       <style type=”text/css”>

       body {background-color: #FF0000;}

       </style>

   </head>

   <body>

       <p>This is a red background</p>

   </body>

   </html>

3. External Method or Link to a style sheet

This is the third method and in this method, a link is established to a so-called external style sheet. An external style sheet is basically a document that has a .css extension. You can create a link in your HTML document to reach that file so as to take its appearance attributes. Such a link can be created by following the given HTML code:

<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” href=”folder/style.css” />

In this, the stylesheet has been named style.css and is located inside a folder that is named folder.

WHERE CAN YOU IMPROVE YOUR HTML AND CSS SKILLS?

If you are someone who is interested in learning HTML and CSS from scratch or improving your skills in order to build your knowledge or be able to create your own webpage or website, then you will be glad to know that there are many online courses and tutorials that can help you get a basic and deep insight into these programming languages. While some courses are full-fledged courses that take weeks to complete, others may be short term tutorials that provide you with the basic know-how. The following are some links that may be of help for the same purpose.

  • Free classes on Codeacademy: One of the best ways to learn how to use HTML and CSS is by logging onto CodeAcademy, which is the one stop address for superb learning, practicing and training of these programming languages. The estimated course time for a course on this platform is 7 hours and in order to start learning, you need to create an account and then sign in with it.
  • Learn web design incl. HTML: This is another platform that not only teaches you how to use HTML and CSS but also the creation of a website from scratch. This is a complete solution for all your needs related to these programming languages and overall web designing. One of the best parts of this website is that it allows you to use a free trial and then sign up to avail the entire course.
  • Learn to code HTML & CSS: This website enables you to learn HTML and CSS from scratch. It not only teaches you to know the basics of both but also enables you to work with typography, creating lists, adding media, building forms, writing your best code and setting backgrounds and gradients, etc. It is a simple to use a platform that costs you little and also offers you advanced lessons in the programming languages.
  • Master tricks for HTML: HTML and CSS are simple languages, but one needs guidance and training to learn them and master them. This is a platform that helps you learn these languages quickly and in a way that you will become independent while using them or creating your own web pages.

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