An Update on Learning Web DesignWeb Design & Development
Six weeks sure went by fast! If you read our blog, you know that I’m on a little personal quest to learn more about web design and development. I have now officially completed the Intro to Web Design class at the Chattanooga Public Library, and I thought this would be a good time to give you guys an update on what I learned. I’ve been a bit busier than normal lately, so I haven’t had a lot of time to continue with Treehouse, but believe me, that’s next on my list! So for now, here's a little rundown of what I learned on the 4th Floor.
HTML (CONTINUED) AND IMAGES
As I mentioned in my previous post, this class was designed to provide an overview of some of the basic elements required to build a website. So, following the session on semantics, we continued our HTML discussion and jumped right into the anchor tag, which might just be one of the most important tags there is. The anchor tag () is used to create links, which are the building blocks of the Web. We also discussed a few attributes associated with the tag, most importantly the href attribute, which indicates the page the link points to. We then practiced creating links on our own in the text editor.
From there, we talked a little bit about images on the Web. We learned about some of the most common file formats (jpeg, png, and gif), as well as which type of file is used for which type of project. We also talked about resolution and practiced resizing images using Preview (for the Mac users in the group).
Next, we started learning about CSS, or cascading style sheets. These apply visual styling (colors, fonts, layouts, etc.) to basic HTML. We discussed the syntax of CSS and separation of concerns, a web design principle that essentially states that functionality should be kept separate (meaning don’t mix CSS in with HTML – keep them as separate files) so that code is clean and easy to work with. Then, we got to play around with CSS by using the Developer Tools in our browsers to change the colors and fonts on existing websites.
Finally, the last class covered some of the nuts and bolts of creating a website and making it accessible to the public. We started with a basic overview of how the Internet works, including IP addresses and domain names. I learned that the Internet runs on IP addresses, but we use domain names because they’re easier to remember, the same way we use contacts in our cell phones instead of remembering individual phone numbers. Crystal has also taught me a little bit about this stuff. We reviewed the process of purchasing domain names and got an overview of domain name registrars, the organizations that manage the sale of domain names to end users. We also talked a little bit about the different types of servers, including the DNS, which is responsible for translating domain names into their corresponding IP addresses and passing a user’s request on to the appropriate Web server to eventually render the webpage. The class ended with a discussion of the file transfer protocol (FTP), which is the process of downloading files from a server or (in our case) uploading them to a server to make them available to the public. We experimented with Filezilla, a very common FTP program, and moved around files that our instructor, James, had stored on a Raspberry Pi.
More to Come?
At the end of our last session, James asked us if we’d be interested in a class that explored these topics further. I definitely would, and I hope the 4th Floor continues to offer programs like this. I know this was just the tip of the iceberg, and there’s lots more to learn about all of this stuff. Even the basics are pretty fascinating. If you’re interested in learning, keep your eyes on the 4th Floor’s website and Twitter to see what they have on the calendar!