Is HTML easy to learn?

In one word, yes. Amazingly easy. In fact, you don’t even need any fancy software or a compiler. All you need is an editor, and a browser. And you don’t need *any* programming experience. Nada. Sure, fancy websites have a lot of other things going on – they use languages like Javascript to do things like create active webpages. Now if you want something like a E-commerce capabilities, I suggest going elsewhere, like Squarespace – I wouldn’t build these sort of platforms from scratch. I mean, honestly I wouldn’t build any sort of website from scratch. I write four blogs, and use WordPress for all of them, because I care about the content I am writing, not the technology behind it. Having said that, having some knowledge of HTML, and CSS does help you with WordPress, especially if you decide to go WordPress standalone on your own server.

Now HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language, so while technically its a language, it’s not really a programming language, mainly because it doesn’t have any of the same “control structures” as found in languages such as C or Java. It is more like LaTeX. HTML is also quite forgiving from a programming context. If you try to add an image, and it doesn’t show when you load the page, then you know there is something wrong. Step 1 is finding an editor. Good ones are atom, and BBEdit. Then pick a browser you like to work with – Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari. Then just begin writing HTML and experimenting with things.

Here is a simple piece of HTML code that prints “Hello World!”:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
   <head> 
      <title>HTML Example</title>
   </head>
   <body>
      <p>Hello World!</p>
   </body>
</html>

The basics are all in here. The <head> is where the definitions for the webpage go. You will notice an element called <title>. This specifies the words that show up in the browser tab, in this case “HTML Example”. The <body> contains the main parts of the webpage that are displayed. This example contains a <p> element, which defines a paragraph of text. In this case, it shows the text “Hello World!” in the default browser font. From here it is possible to structure the website, add images, and style the content using CSS. For example to add some simple internal styling to change the font being used is as simple as adding:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=”en”>
   <head> 
      <title>HTML Example</title>   
      <style>
         p {
            font-family: Didot, Georgia, serif;
         }
      </style>
   </head>
   <body>
      <p>Hello World!</p>
   </body>
</html>

In some respects, once you have a basic design, HTML and CSS can be used together with a bit of trial-and-error to see what works best. Sometimes ideas that look good on paper don’t seem aesthetically pleasing, or are too complex to implement. Remember though, Learning HTML does not make you a programmer per se. HTML is used for structural purposes, and doesn’t do anything in the same sense as programming languages.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.