Before we start you need to know that the term web development covers a lot of things, from making a simple web site over developing internet applications to configuring servers. In this category I’ll focus on creating and designing web sites using different techniques and leave application development on the coding category and servers on their own category.
Let’s start with the basics of web site coding. If you don’t have any experience in web developing than learning HTML (HyperText Markup Language) if your first step. It’s safe to say that HTML is the backbone of all web sites. The more complex sites contain also various scripts and applications making the site more dynamic but they too consist of HTML markups. Those markups create web documents (i.e. a page of a web site) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol – I’ll write about protocols also), that thingy every web address contains, is a protocol that transfers those web documents from the server to your computer. Your browser is a tool that interprets those markups and displays it like formated and styled pages instead of lines of code.
If you right-click a blank space on a page and go to “View Page Source” you will see the exact code that is used to create that particular page. The elements in angle brackets are the HTML tags, and that’s how the HTML coding is done. But I will not teach you how to code in HTML because there is a perfect place where you can learn it for free, and almost all people will agree on it, that place is W3Schools. A lot of people, including me, learnt the markup language at that place.
If you make an interesting and fairly attractive web page with different color, fonts etc. using only HTML you’ll have a hard time maintaining, doing changes, improving it and so on. To make all that easier you should use CSS (Cascade Style Sheet).
CSS is designed primarily to enable the separation of document content from document presentation, including elements such as the layout, colors, and fonts. This separation can improve content accessibility, provide more flexibility and control in the specification of presentation characteristics, enable multiple pages to share formatting, and reduce complexity and repetition in the structural content.
CSS specifies a priority scheme to determine which style rules apply if more than one rule matches against a particular element. In this so-called cascade, priorities or weights are calculated and assigned to rules, so that the results are predictable. CSS has a simple syntax and uses a number of English keywords to specify the names of various style properties. You can also learn CSS on W3Schools.
HTML & CSS can be coded in a simple text editor like notepad for example, but I suggest something that has syntax highlight option like Notepad++ or GEdit which could help you with your coding, but if you don’t need that than a text editor will do fine. Just remember to save it as a file with the .html extension and you’ll be fine.
There are HTML editors do a lot of the work for you, where you can create pages with using your mouse. Some people like to work with those, some can’t do it without those editors and some hate them. I belong to the 3rd group, I believe that HTML & CSS is a very simple thing to learn and work with and that you don’t need anything else than a browser and a text editor for making web sites, but it all comes down to personal preference.