Internet Design 101: How HTML, CSS, and JavaScript Work


Ever puzzled how pc programming works, however have not carried out something extra difficult on the net than add a photograph to Fb?

Then you definitely’re in the fitting place.

To somebody who’s by no means coded earlier than, the idea of making a web site from scratch — structure, design, and all — can appear actually intimidating. You may be picturing Harvard college students from the film, The Social Community, sitting at their computer systems with gigantic headphones on and hammering out code, and suppose to your self, ‘I might by no means try this.’

Really, you’ll be able to.

Anybody can be taught to code, similar to anybody can be taught a brand new language. In truth, programming is type of like talking a international language — which is strictly why they’re referred to as programming languages. Each has its personal guidelines and syntax that should be discovered step-by-step. These guidelines are methods to inform your pc what to do. Extra particularly, in net programming, they’re methods of telling your browsers what to do.

The aim of this publish is to, in plain English, train you with the fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and one of the crucial frequent programming languages, JavaScript. However earlier than we start, let’s get an concept of what programming languages truly are.

What Is a Programming Language?

Programming, or coding, is like fixing a puzzle. Contemplate a human language, like English or French. We use these languages to show ideas and concepts into actions and conduct. In programming, the aim of the puzzle is strictly the identical — you are simply driving completely different sorts of conduct, and the supply of that conduct is not a human. It is a pc.

A programming language is our manner of speaking with software program. The individuals who use programming languages are sometimes referred to as programmers or builders. The issues we inform software program utilizing a programming language could possibly be to make a webpage look a sure manner, or to make an object on the web page transfer if the human consumer takes a sure motion.

Programming in Internet Growth

So, when an internet designer is given an finish aim like “create a webpage that has this header, this font, these colours, these photos, and an animated unicorn strolling throughout the display when customers click on on this button,” the net designer’s job is to take that massive concept and break it aside into tiny items, after which translate these items into directions that the pc can perceive — together with placing all these directions within the right order or syntax.

Each web page on the net that you simply go to is constructed utilizing a sequence of separate directions, one after one other. Your browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and so forth) is an enormous actor in translating code into one thing we will see on our screens and even work together with. It may be straightforward to neglect that code with no browser is only a textual content file — it is while you put that textual content file right into a browser that the magic occurs. Whenever you open an internet web page, your browser fetches the HTML and different programming languages concerned and interprets it.

HTML and CSS are literally not technically programming languages; they’re simply web page construction and magnificence data. However earlier than transferring on to JavaScript and different true languages, it’s essential to know the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, as they’re on the entrance finish of each net web page and software.

Within the very early 1990s, HTML was the one language obtainable on the net. Internet builders needed to painstakingly code static websites, web page by web page. Lots’s modified since then: Now there are numerous pc programming languages obtainable. On this publish, I will speak about HTML, CSS, and one of the crucial frequent programming languages: JavaScript.

HTML, CSS, & JavaScript: A Tutorial

An outline:

  • HTML offers the fundamental construction of web sites, which is enhanced and modified by different applied sciences like CSS and JavaScript.
  • CSS is used to manage presentation, formatting, and structure.
  • JavaScript is used to manage the conduct of various parts.

Now, let’s go over each individually that can assist you perceive the roles every performs on a web site after which we’ll cowl how they match collectively. Let’s begin with good ol’ HTML.


HTML is on the core of each net web page, regardless the complexity of a web site or variety of applied sciences concerned. It is an important talent for any net skilled. It is the place to begin for anybody studying the best way to create content material for the net. And, fortunately for us, it is surprisingly straightforward to be taught.

Let me present you what I imply. Check out the article under. If I have been to ask you to label the sorts of content material on the web page, you’d in all probability do fairly properly: There’s the header on the prime, then a subheader under it, the physique textual content, and a few pictures on the backside adopted by a couple of extra bits of textual content.


Markup languages work in the identical manner as you simply did while you labeled these content material sorts, besides they use code to do it — particularly, they use HTML tags, also referred to as “parts.” These tags have fairly intuitive names: Header tags, paragraph tags, picture tags, and so forth.

Each net web page is made up of a bunch of those HTML tags denoting every sort of content material on the web page. Every sort of content material on the web page is “wrapped” in, i.e. surrounded by, HTML tags.

For instance, the phrases you are studying proper now are a part of a paragraph. If I have been coding this net web page from scratch (as a substitute of utilizing the WYSIWG editor in HubSpot’s COS), I might have began this paragraph with an opening paragraph tag: <p>. The “tag” half is denoted by open brackets, and the letter “p” tells the pc that we’re opening a paragraph as a substitute of another sort of content material.

As soon as a tag has been opened, the entire content material that follows is assumed to be a part of that tag till you “shut” the tag. When the paragraph ends, I would put a closing paragraph tag: </p>. Discover that closing tags look precisely the identical as opening tags, besides there’s a ahead slash after the left angle bracket. This is an instance:

<p>It is a paragraph.</p>

Utilizing HTML, you’ll be able to add headings, format paragraphs, management line breaks, make lists, emphasize textual content, create particular characters, insert pictures, create hyperlinks, construct tables, management some styling, and far more.

To be taught extra about coding in HTML, I like to recommend trying out our information to fundamental HTML, and utilizing the free courses and sources on codecademy — however for now, let’s transfer on to CSS.


CSS stands for Cascading Fashion Sheets. This programming language dictates how the HTML parts of a web site ought to truly seem on the frontend of the web page.

If HTML is the drywall, CSS is the paint.

Whereas HTML was the fundamental construction of your web site, CSS is what provides your complete web site its model. These slick colours, attention-grabbing fonts, and background pictures? All due to CSS. This language impacts all the temper and tone of an internet web page, making it an extremely highly effective software — and an vital talent for net builders to be taught. It is also what permits web sites to adapt to completely different display sizes and gadget sorts.

To indicate you what CSS does to a web site, take a look at the next two screenshots. The primary screenshot is my colleague’s weblog publish, however proven in Fundamental HTML, and the second screenshot is that very same weblog publish with HTML and CSS.

Instance of HTML (with no CSS)

Example of HTML with no CSS resulting in an unformatted HubSpot blog post

Discover all of the content material remains to be there, however the visible styling is not. That is what you may see if the model sheet does not load on the web site, for no matter purpose. Now, this is what the identical net web page appears like with CSS added.

Instance of HTML + CSS

Example of HTML + CSS used to format a HubSpot blog post

Is not that prettier?

Put merely, CSS is an inventory of guidelines that may assign completely different properties to HTML tags, both specified to single tags, a number of tags, a complete doc, or a number of paperwork. It exists as a result of, as design parts like fonts and colours have been developed, net designers had quite a lot of hassle adapting HTML to those new options.

You see, HTML, developed again in 1990, was probably not supposed to point out any bodily formatting data. It was initially meant solely to outline a doc’s structural content material, like headers versus paragraphs. HTML outgrew these new design options, and CSS was invented and launched in 1996: All formatting could possibly be faraway from HTML paperwork and saved in separate CSS (.css) information.

So, what precisely does CSS stand for? It stands for Cascading Fashion Sheets — and “model sheet” refers back to the doc itself. Ever net browser has a default model sheet, so each net web page out there’s affected by no less than one model sheet — the default model sheet of no matter browser the net web page customer is utilizing — regardless whether or not or not the net designer applies any types. For instance, my browser’s default font model is Instances New Roman, dimension 12, so if I visited an internet web page the place the designer did not apply a mode sheet of their very own, I might see the net web page in Instances New Roman, dimension 12.

Clearly, the overwhelming majority of net pages I go to do not use Instances New Roman, dimension 12 — that is as a result of the net designers behind these pages began out with a default model sheet that had a default font model, after which they overrode my browser’s defaults with customized CSS. That is the place the phrase “cascading” comes into play. Take into consideration a waterfall — as water cascades down the autumn, it hits all of the rocks on the way in which down, however solely the rocks on the backside have an effect on the place it can find yourself flowing. In the identical manner, the final outlined model sheet informs my browser which directions have priority.

To be taught the specifics of coding in CSS, I will level you once more to the free courses and sources on codecademy. However for now, let’s discuss a bit about JavaScript.


JavaScript is a extra difficult language than HTML or CSS, and it wasn’t launched in beta kind till 1995. These days, JavaScript is supported by all trendy net browsers and is used on virtually each web site on the net for extra highly effective and complicated performance.

Briefly, JavaScript is a programming language that lets net builders design interactive websites. Many of the dynamic conduct you may see on an internet web page is due to JavaScript, which augments a browser’s default controls and behaviors.

Creating Affirmation Containers

One instance of JavaScript in motion is containers that pop up in your display. Take into consideration the final time you entered your data into an internet kind and a affirmation field popped up, asking you to press “OK” or “Cancel” to proceed. That was made doable due to JavaScript — within the code, you’d discover an “if … else …” assertion that tells the pc to do one factor if the consumer clicks “OK,” and a distinct factor if the consumer clicks “Cancel.”

Triggering Slide-In CTAs

One other instance of JavaScript in motion is a slide-in call-to-action (CTA), like those we placed on our weblog posts, which seems on the underside right-hand facet of your display while you scroll previous the top of the sidebar. This is what it appears like:

Slide-in CTA using JavaScript to appear in a HubSpot blog post

Storing New Data

JavaScript is especially helpful for assigning new identities to current web site parts, in accordance with the choices the consumer makes whereas visiting the web page. For instance, for instance you are constructing a touchdown web page with a kind you’d wish to generates leads from by capturing details about a web site customer. You might need a “string” of JavaScript devoted to the consumer’s first identify. That string may look one thing like this:

operate updateFirstname()

Then, after the web site customer enters his or her first identify — and another data you require on the touchdown web page — and submits the shape, this motion updates the id of the initially undefined “Firstname” component in your code. This is the way you may thank your web site customer by identify in JavaScript:

para.textContent = ‘Thanks, ‘ + Firstname + “! Now you can obtain your book.”

Within the string of JavaScript above, the “Firstname” component has been assigned the primary identify of the web site customer, and can subsequently produce his or her precise first identify on the frontend of the webpage. To a consumer named Kevin, the sentence would appear to be this:

Thanks, Kevin! Now you can obtain your book.

Safety, Video games, and Particular Results

Different makes use of for JavaScript embrace safety password creation, examine kinds, interactive video games, animations, and particular results. It is also used to construct cell apps and create server-based purposes. You may add JavaScript to an HTML doc by including these “scripts,” or snippets of JavaScript code, into your doc’s header or physique.

If you wish to be taught extra about JavaScript, codecademy has free on-line programs you’ll be able to take, too.

The toughest a part of coding is getting began — however when you be taught the fundamentals, it’s going to be simpler to be taught extra superior programming languages. And in the event you ever really feel overwhelmed, head over to hackertyper.web and hit random keys in your keyboard.

Belief me, you may really feel higher.

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