Programming Languages of the Web

Open source software and web development are closely related to one another. Why? If you write a web application, anyone who receives the final product will see all of your source code without any hindrance (except PHP at some cases, but obscuring your PHP web application’s source code is way tedious and clients won’t like it). Therefore, it’s common for the open source community to develop a lot of web applications as well as plugins for popular open source CMS or web apps like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. Therefore, if you want to be a part of the open source community, programming the web is a great first step.

Now, we know that the web development niche is full of open source folks so we would want to start getting into it. In order to be a web developer, you need to learn the programming languages of the web. Let’s get started.

web development

HTML

The Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the very first step that everyone makes towards web development. It’s the core of webpages, the backbone of any other web language. HTML is used to define the structure of a webpage. It’s a relatively easy language to learn and most of the time, learning HTML is accompanied by CSS and JavaScript, which we’ll tackle next.

CSS

Cascading Stylesheets (CSS) is usually called the twin of HTML. HTML is for structure and CSS is for design. Using CSS, we can define how our webpages look and we must have HTML first before we can use CSS to define the design. Like HTML, CSS is quite easy to learn, but to be more accurate, let’s say it’s one level above HTML in terms of difficulty. Nonetheless, HTML and CSS should be learned side-by-side.

JavaScript

Not to be confused with Java, JavaScript or JS for short adds interactivity to your webpages. JavaScript is the hardest one to learn of the three because this follows programming logic. You’ll have to learn variables, arrays, functions and others. But don’t worry, learning JavaScript is easier than learning C++ (or similar programming languages). Now, it’s complete, we have the design, structure and interactivity. Once you have a good grasp of HTML and CSS, it’s generally a good idea to start learning JavaScript. With JavaScript, you can control both HTML and CSS and add different kinds of events, detect forms, create customized messages or add fanciness to your webpages.

PHP & MySQL

After you are quite knowledgeable with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, it’s time to take your skills to the next level. PHP and MySQL goes hand in hand with one another and they will allow you to build complex web applications. They could take some time to learn, but if you get a good grasp of them, you can confidently indicate in your resume that you are a web developer. PHP is about the logic execution while MySQL is about database/data storage and retrieving.

The first three languages, HTML, CSS and JS are front-end languages, which mainly focuses on what the end-users see. PHP and MySQL are backend languages and they focus on manipulating and processing information at the server-side, a place where the end users can’t see. In order to develop a fully interactive web application that can let users register and interact with one another, you need to have the knowledge of those five languages. A simple about page only needs HTML and CSS, probably a JavaScript for additional interactivity.

Learning web development is a step-by-step procedure. First, HTML and CSS, then mix JS. After that, start with PHP & MySQL and finally, try to build a simple web application to expand your experience and knowledge. When you finally get them all, you’re going to want to get a decent web server to make sure that you can showcase your work to the world.