Where to Get Started With Web Development

Photo by Joshua Reddekopp

Who This Article is For

If you’re ready to code your first website, this post is for you. In this post, I will focus on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I’ll also touch on API’s and Databases. I will talk about what they are used for and go into Static vs Dynamic sites. I will also highlight good resources to learn with (both free and paid options).

What This Article Isn’t

I will not go into coding an example or project. To get experience, it’s best to practice the ideas and concepts covered. For hands on work, I’d recommend visiting any of the resources highlighted in the end or following a YouTube series.

My Advice on Development

If you want to get into Software Develompent, start with learning the fundamentals of the language. Learn the basic syntax for the language, but don’t get hung up on trying to master it. You can look that up as you go. It’s more important to focus on the key concepts and the functionalities of the language you are working with. Now, let’s dive into it.

HTML & CSS

HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and with it, you define the elements of your site. It is like the structure and foundation of a home. In it’s bare form, it works but it doesn’t look good. If all websites only had HTML, they would look the similar and you would just see text, links, images.

To add some color to your site, you will need CSS. With it, you can transform your site to make it look aesthetically pleasing by defining the font, size, width, padding, color, spacing, shadow, and much more.

HTML and CSS can take you pretty far. But your site will be limited as a static website.

Static vs Dynamic

Static means that your site has fixed content that it and will display the same information to all users. It’s a good place to host information, content, and links to other pages. For a lot of sites, this is all you need. But as soon you need to handle transactions and do more than just display content on the screen, then your site will need to be dynamic. For example, if your website needs to have users login, create an account, or purchase something, then you will need a dynamic site.

This is where JavaScript (JS) comes in. JS is a programming language, and with it you can define classes, objects, functions, loops, data structures, and create algorithms. With this logic, you could do things in the background, and program to update something on the screen. In Frontend Development, JS is used to change the way something is displayed or shown to the user. In Backend Development, it is used to write server logic, and connect to APIs and databases.

API’s are very useful if you want to connect your site to other applications, like MailChimp or EventBrite for example. If you’re in need of a database, you’ll need to decide between SQL and NoSQL. Because this article is an introduction to your first coding of a website, I won’t go into the details of APIs and Databases. If your ready to learn more about them, the links below can help break them down. What’s an API, and difference between SQL and NoSQL.

Final Comments

Just to recap, you could use HTML and CSS to generate a static website. To add more functionality, you will need a programming language like JavaScript. With it, you could do Full Stack Development (Frontend and Backend). You could also use it to connect your site to an API or Database.

To get started, you can learn and practice for free on W3 schools, Free Code Camp, and Khan Academy. For a paid option, I recommend Zero To Mastery by Andrei. He has really good programming courses that can take you from beginner to advanced. My friend my just started a new YouTube channel where he will cover coding and finances. Check it out here.

Tech analyst at Accenture. Mobile app and web developer. Passionate about tech and education.

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