In an age where consumers spend more than 6 hours a day online, website development has become increasingly more complex and advanced. In fact, building and maintaining a website involves so much interrelated coding that it is divided into back end and front end development. Front end developers use a range of coding languages to create the visual aspects of a website that users directly interact with. Read on to learn more about the most popular front end languages and get resources for how to become a front end developer!
What is Front End Programming?
Front end developers use coding to create the front-facing elements of a website, basically everything a user sees and interacts with. They are responsible for ensuring that the website is as visually appealing as it is functional with a seamless user experience. This task becomes especially challenging when considering that the look and feel of a website needs to remain consistent no matter the operating system, device, screen size, resolution, and so on. Front end developers utilize a combination of coding languages to carry out their responsibilities. Below is a breakdown of these languages and how together they can be used for creating the front interface of a webpage. You can also check out this article for steps in gaining front end development skills.
Most Popular Front End Languages
When Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in March 1989, he also introduced HTML, which stands for HyperText Markup Language. As noted in its name, HTML is a markup language, rather than a programming language that carries out any logic-based functions. Despite not technically being a programming language, HTML is at the front end of every web page dictating the basic elements of a site like headers and body paragraphs. HTML uses tags to note these elements and therefore content is organized in a web page accordingly. This is the foundation for any website no matter how small or big. For those interested in learning HTML, it is one of the easiest languages to learn for website development, and there are a plethora of free templates available online. HTML does have a few limitations though. It can only produce static, plain web pages and offers limited security. This is why it’s often used in tandem with CSS and other programming languages.
Otherwise known as Cascading Style Sheets, CSS saves web developers massive amounts of time by controlling how multiple pages of a website are displayed. The style sheet language works by stylizing HTML elements like the headers and body paragraphs. By using CSS, front end developers can define overarching styles for a website, taking into account design, layout and differences in display among devices or browser types. These styles are stored in external .css files and you can change an entire multi-page website quickly by adjusting the style in a .css file. Without CSS, websites built with HTML would look rather flat and dull. But with CSS, websites are filled with color and style. Learning CSS can be confusing at times for non-developers though due to the multiple versions, i.e. CSS, CSS2, and CSS3.
Learning Front End Development