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Lesson Overview

In this lesson, we’ll talk about coding and learn an overview of the 4 most common web programming languages:

  1. HTML
  2. CSS
  3. Javascript
  4. PHP

Obviously, there’s plenty others, but in this lesson, we’ll briefly overview these 4 coding languages and what free resources I recommend to continue learning them.


Lesson Transcription

Welcome! I’m Leighton, your webmaster. In today’s lesson, let’s talk about coding. “Code” tells software what to do. Code can be written in different programming languages for different purposes. For the purpose of web design, there are 4 major programming languages: HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP. Obviously, there’s plenty others. But let’s briefly talk about these 4.

HTML stands for Hyper-Text Markup Language. Every website you could possibly visit is built on HTML, and guess what? You can read it! HTML is visible for anyone to view. Let’s pull up the HTML of Wikipedia. (Demonstrate) We go to, click View > Developer > View Source. This is the HTML code that powers this website. With HTML, you can add images, paragraphs, headings, tables, and more. But HTML by itself is bland. How do you add color? Change the style, font, size, etc? That brings us to CSS.

CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. This piece of code is layered on top of HTML to give it style. To beautify a website. CSS, like HTML, is completely visible to the public. Let’s see. (Demonstrate: interact with Wikipedia’s homepage for a moment). So HTML is the core content of your web page. CSS gives the content style. Let’s now look at Javascript.

Javascript gives your website functionality. Most interactions, animations, form validation, mathematics, popups, and general functionality is handled by Javascript. There is a lot you can do with Javascript, and the popular jQuery library makes it even easier. Fortunately, a quick Google search can help find a reliable snippet of code for pretty much any functionality you could ask for.

PHP stands for Pre-Hypertext Protocol. We can’t see a public website’s PHP code, but it lets you interact with servers and databases. When you submit a form, what happens? When you login to a website? When you access a database? All of that can be done in PHP. There are other languages similar to PHP, like Python and Perl, but I learned PHP early on because it’s world-famous and even WordPress is powered by PHP. There is a ton of potential with PHP, but for your sake, PHP will mostly be used to make minor edits to your WordPress website.

MySQL is a database. With it, you can store and retrieve data for your website. What kind of data might be stored? User profiles, blog posts, eCommerce orders, calendar events, WordPress software, comments, and more. Databases can be huge, store massive amounts of data, that can be retrieved in a fraction of a second. Basic MySQL code lets you retrieve, add, edit and remove data from a database. That’s a brief overview of the most common programming languages you’ll come across. So how do you learn these coding languages? We sure can’t learn that in a 15-minute video. Code can take weeks or even months to fully comprehend. Fortunately, there is a tremendous amount of free resources out there to learn code. I would start with a Google search for “learn HTML free.”

DEMONSTRATE the search results: One of the first resources that will pop up is In fact, there are so many quality websites like this that I wouldn’t recommend spending a dime on learning any of the languages mentioned in today’s lesson. Save your money. Spend a little time each night learning code from one of these free resources.

A basic understanding of these languages will add to your repertoire of knowledge.

Remember: the more knowledge you have, the more valuable you become, and the more valuable you are, the more you can charge. Plus, you’ll be in better shape to solve problems that arise. Why can we say that? What kind of problems might arise? Well, perhaps you pull up one of your client’s websites, and it’s a blank white screen? Or, there’s a warning? An error message? What do you do? An error that looks like a foreign language to someone else will make sense to you if you understand the coding language. The error message usually explains itself if you know how to read it correctly. So understanding the code will help you efficiently diagnose and solve the problem. So what have we learned? 

  1. Most all websites are built with the coding languages HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP.
  2. While you can take expensive college courses to learn code, there are plenty of free resources you can explore.
  3. Learning code is not absolutely required to be a website designer, but I recommend it because you’ll have a deeper understand of how websites work, be in a better shape to troubleshoot problems, and have an advantage over your competition.

That’s it for this lesson. I’m Leighton… and now you know, coding!


Lesson Homework

Search Google for free sites where you can learn HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP.