Introduction to Web Development

January, 2017

The Core Technologies of Web Development

Web Development is the art of writing code that web browsers can understand. The core technologies of web development are:


HTML - HyperText Markup Language - is the language used to describe the content of a website. All of the headings, text, images and links you see in many web pages are written in HTML. HTML was originally developed by Tim Berners-Less at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland. It was originally meant for use in scientific research documents.


CSS - Cascading StyleSheets - is the language used to style content. For the most part, HTML should be used to add new content to a site, and CSS should control the presentation of that content. In the not-so-good-old-days of the 1990s, web pages were often laid out in tables, which is a type of HTML content. This practice has gone the way of the dinosaur, and it is universally recognized that page layout should be controlled with CSS. Dividing content and styling like this is called a separation of concerns.

CSS was created by the W3C - the World Wide Web Consortium in 1996. It is a technology that is simple to learn but difficult to master. If you find the process frustrating just know you are not alone!


JavaScript is the programming language of the web and controls the behavior of a web page or web application. JavaScript is the only programming language that browsers can understand and because of this it is the most widely used programming language in the world.

Once thought of as a 'toy' language by many software developers, JavaScript is now a very important language to understand and use. The majority of software development today is actually web development and JavaScript also sees use outside the browser. It is the core language of the popular Node ecosystem used on servers and it has applications in IoT (Internet of Things) development as well.

JavaScript was created by Brendan Eich in only ten days, back in May of 1995. JavaScript was originally known as Mocha, and then as LiveScript. Then, for marketing reasons, the name of the language was changed to JavaScript. This change has been causing confusion ever since. JavaScript shares a bit of syntax with the Java language but is fundamentally different. The two languages really have very little in common.

Other Web Technologies

There are many other programming languages and technologies that are important in web development, but none so much as the core languages described above. New developers should focus on mastering those three before moving on to others.

Learning Web Development

There is literally no skill better supported on the Internet than learning web development. Check out this great list of resources to get started!