Demystifying Web Development: Part Two (of Three)

One of the most complex (and most wonderful) aspects of coding is that there is rarely one strict way of coding a particular process. For example, in creating a username and password input form, the end result might look the same across multiple websites, but each developer could have written the code differently. There is no one way to achieve an end goal. Each developer uses their own logic and psychology to work out the process that would make the most sense.

This requires a deep knowledge and understanding of the computer languages one is manipulating. There might be multiple ways of giving someone directions to the local grocery store, but the person with a good grasp of the shared language along with knowledge of the best routes to take is going to be the most effective communicator. 

Frontend Web Development Languages:

HTML, CSS and JavaScript are considered the three pillars of Frontend Development. There is a whole slew of frameworks, libraries, extensions and other offshoot resources that stem from these three pillars and are tools for the Developer, but for a basic overview like this, that’s all you need to know. 

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

HTML is the foundation of the web and one of the very first languages that every developer learns. It creates structure by directing the order and importance of information on a page. You could think of HTML as the skeleton of a website. HTML is constantly growing and evolving and currently the world is on HTML5.

It is probably one of the few coding languages that could actually be memorized since there are only about 100 HTML tags and only about 25% of them are used on a regular basis.

Check out this web page for a deeper dive into HTML.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

CSS directs how each HTML element looks on the page as well as how the website restructures on different devices and screens. If HTML is the skeleton of a website, CSS would be the skin. It makes all the information look beautiful by giving specific directions to each HTML element. Similar to HTML, CSS is also constantly growing and the current version is called CSS3.

Check out this web page for a deeper look into CSS.


JavaScript directs how the page is to behave when a user interacts with it (i.e. clicking a button or entering a username and password). It allows the developer to code very detailed instructions that wouldn’t be possible in HTML or CSS and its purpose is to add “life” to web pages. If HTML is our website’s skeleton and CSS is the skin, then JavaScript would be the muscles making it the actionable part of the website. JavaScript is considered more difficult to learn than HTML or CSS but relatively easier to learn than other languages that do the same job. It also has more community use and support and therefore is easier to troubleshoot in online forums if you run into problems.

Check out this web page for a deeper dive into JavaScript.


Up Next: Backend Web Development Languages

Now that you know a bit about what makes up a Frontend Developer’s linguistic toolkit, check out part three about languages used in Backend Development and wrap up our series on Demystifying Web Development.

Check out our free online resources at Wahine Coder Tools.