Scott Townsend, our Digital Scholarship Commons assistant, spent the last few months learning HTML and CSS, the basic tools for creating a website. He did a great job, so I asked him to write a little bit about his experience building his very first website. —Miriam Posner, Mellon postdoctoral fellow, Digital Scholarship Commons
I recently finished going through Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML and CSS, a book teaching CSS and HTML for beginning users and wanted to share my thoughts for those interested in learning web design.
HTML, which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language, is the most common language used to create web pages. It's written in the form of HTML elements consisting of tags enclosed in angle brackets, such as <h1> and </h1>.
In a clear and efficient way, the author takes you through the step by step process of building a professional web site that is easy to update, works perfectly in all browsers, and is created using the most modern and practical coding methods.
I had no experience coding with HTML or CSS when I began reading the book and after finishing I now have a solid grasp on the basics of what these coding languages do and how to use them with relative ease to create a basic website.
While specific details, in terms of the actual code, are sometimes understandably difficult to recall from memory, the knowledge I now have of how these two coding languages work makes it easy for me to know what to look up and where to look when I need code for a specific aspect of a web page.
After going through the basics, the author also goes into explaining important, more advanced features needed to maintain a serious web site including embedding a blog page, promoting your site, and using site visitor statistics. The organized step by step instructions in the book broke down what can seem to be an overwhelming process into small and very manageable portions.
While I had a vague concept of servers and web hosting companies, I was glad to find that the author laid out for me exactly what I would need to do to get my website started up and keep it running. I even learned how to register my new site with Google, Yahoo, and other search engines so that my site will show up on searches.
I am sure the web building knowledge I have gained will prove useful in the future, whether I decide to build my own web page for an organization or small business or I simply want to help a friend or co-worker with their web project. I recommend this book for anyone with little to no experience in coding who would like to learn how to efficiently build a fully functional website.
- Scott Townsend, Digital Scholarship Commons Assistant
Image: Screenshot of my final website.
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