Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are the two programming languages which, taken together, form the foundation for any kind of website design. HTML is used to generate the content for a web page, including text, links and images. CSS governs the overall style of the page. This includes such elements as text formatting, color schemes and layout options.
HTML provides the basic structure for a website; learning it is therefore the best first step to take for anyone who’s interested in website design. This language is composed of various tag elements which determine the overall layout of the page. For example, a paragraph tag -<p> – denotes the beginning of a new block of text. Header tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) create the variety of page, article or section titles in all their possible sizes. Another example is the image tag – <img> – which works to place pictures and other visual elements within specified areas of the site. The various tag elements give a site its underlying structure as well as its content.
CSS provides the styling and formatting options that allow the website designer to customize the site according to personal preferences. Developers have the freedom to take the basic content that they created with HTML and present it in a variety of styles. One can change the background color of a website, customize font styles, apply different color schemes to various page elements (such as text) and arrange the way in which all the page elements will be displayed on the site.
Some CSS formatting options include font-weight which customizes the width or thickness of text on a page, and can be set to values such as bold or normal. The border property lets the developer create and customize the border styles for certain elements, applying values such as color and width options. Design variations such as double lined, dashed, or dotted options are also available. More encompassing CSS properties include float and margin, which can be used to align text to different parts of the page, and set spacing between visual elements, respectively.
If you are interested in developing or designing your own website and want to have full control over its various elements, then learning HTML and CSS is essential. Although other languages can be used to embellish a site, you cannot dispense with these essential two. They are the basic building blocks.