Coding vs Programming

If you read any introduction on Web Development, they will mention that you must master these three fundamental skills.

  • HTML – Hypertext Markup Language
  • CSS – Cascaded Style Sheets
  • JavaScript

What is not mentioned is that the first two (HTML and CSS), are not programming languages. These are software parameter coding. These are the codes needed by other software (Web Browsers) to determine how to format and style your web page. I think this concept should be highlighted clearly in the introduction. A good example is a word processor. If you have used the reveal codes option in Word, you will see all of the codes used by the software to display our text. People who really want to take full control of their Word document display would learn how to interpret and use these codes in their document.

On the other hand, JavaScript is a programming language. A programming language by nature takes input, performs some kind of function based on the values of that input, and delivers you an output. You are actually doing the opposite of just writing parameter codes. You are writing software code that reads the parameters of your web page and processes those codes.

Here is the process “in a nutshell” (For more clever expressions like this, visit my soulmates website – NTE – NativeTongue-English).

  • The web browser reads your HTML and CSS document to determine how to place your media and what styles to use to format your media on the computer screen.
  • The HTML and CSS documents includes an ID for each element on your page.
  • Then the browser runs your JavaScript program to interact with these ID’ed elements to create an interactive and interesting web page.

I think this was a very clever setup for a rich and engaging browsing experience. Of course this is just the beginning of the technology of the web. The variations on this technology is endless. However, once you understand this concept, it will be easier to grasp the advanced principles. I have learned this from years of teaching experience.

Grandson enjoying a meal with his family.

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