CSS, HTML, Website Design

Programming on Principle

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There are many different ways to program websites. There a many different ways to program the exact same website. If you gave the same design to 100 different website developers, you would end up with 100 pages (that probably all looked fairly similar) and 100 completely different HTML code. Is it possible to say if one is right or wrong?

The Principle of Web Programming

The first principle of website programming is validating. When you make a website, it better be 100% valid. “Ah but it looks perfect in Internet Explorer…” (but it probably looks horrible in Firefox or Opera.) If your code is not valid, that means you are “doing it wrong.” Only second rate Web Developers are okay with “doing it wrong.”

With HTML, you can do just about anything! From anything as simple as changing the color of a body of text, to aligning tables around your site. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. HTML is not a styling language, its a formatting language. You should use HTML to enter and position your text and body copy.

Cascading Style Sheets, CSS, is a styling language. It’s purpose it to add color and life to your website. If you remove your CSS from your site, it should end up being straight text with a couple pictures.

But Why Use CSS?

CSS makes life simple! Why else? Every website has certain aspects that will be the same throughout. Take headers for example: On any given website, it will have the same color, font, size, etc for the first title on every page. You could hard program that with HTML on every page, or you could just put it between “<h1>” tags, and then in your CSS document, you tell all h1’s to be a certain size, color, font, etc., etc., etc.

Then when the client comes back and says, “Sorry man, I don’t like that green, lets add 2 points of magenta to it,” you don’t have to reprogram your entire site. All you need to do is change 6 digits in one document, and the entire site changes!

And if that wasn’t enough, it keeps your website code clean! I took a site that was almost 300 lines of code (where everything was programmed in HTML). I converted most of it to CSS, and it ended up being less that 40 lines of code! Search Engines love you! It is just that much easier for the Search Engines to get the text on your site.

“Program like your client is watching you… and they understand what you’re doing.”
-Ashton Sander

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