Building Websites with HTML and CSS – Part 1

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The Internet. That massive, awesome compendium that has managed to gravitate this planet’s denizens towards their computers and tablets and smart phones and what not. As of today, the Indexed Web contains at least 13.36 billion pages, according to this source. The Web has managed to invade every aspect of our lives. And with its ever increasing reach, the need for understanding its functioning and leverage its assets has also skyrocketed. To be able to comprehend how the web works, we must first decode its smallest independent unit, the web page. And to be able to build webpages, a working knowledge of two languages: HTML and CSS, is essential.

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language. It does the job of conveying the structure of your webpage to the browser. Consider this – when you save a document in Microsoft Word, it doesn’t only save the words that you typed in the document. Information about the font sizes you applied in each part of the document, the spacing between words and paragraphs and between margins and text and a host of other tidbits of data are associated with the saved file. In the same way, when a document is written for the web, similar pieces of information pertaining to the structure of the document need to be relayed to the browser so it can accurately interpret the code. HTML is the language we use to talk to the browser and tell it how to lay out our webpage before a viewer.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is the web’s make up kit (cheesy analogy, I know). While HTML is used to structure pages, CSS ensures that its contents look lively and pleasing to the eye. Wikipedia says:

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation semantics (the look and formatting) of a document written in a markup language. Its most common application is to style web pages written in HTML and XHTML.

Together, these symbiotic languages form the elements required to construct a webpage.

There is a small section of the spectrum that believes the existence of programs like Adobe Dreamweaver and Content Management Systems like WordPress and Joomla spell the end of the age of relevance of webscripting languages such as HTML and CSS. To the contrary, the fading out of DW and the burgeoning of highly dynamic websites based on CMS’es has only reinforced the importance of having at least a basic knowledge of coding.

What is certain is that knowing a modicum of HTML and CSS is important whether you are a blogger or small bussiness owner or maybe even a web designer. So if you’re convinced its time for you to wise up on some of these topics, hop on to the next part, where we’ll hook you up with the tools required to get going.

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