We’re using the term “web development” as not only the language, or coding, used to create web pages and sites but also the tools you might use; things such as Apache Server or blogging software.
Interestingly enough, we won’t be talking about the most common tool associated with web development – web design software, such as Dreamweaver. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, the expense. There are quite a few free ones out there, but the most popular and widely supported one is more expensive than we feel that we can justify, considering our totally amateur status. The second reason is time (another expense, the way I look at it). Any complex piece of software has a learning curve – the more complex, the steeper the curve and the most widely used web design programs are very complex. We both feel that our time is better spent learning how to use HTML/CSS rather than learning how to use a program that manipulates HTML/CSS. It also removes one bit of uncertainty in creating a web page – if something doesn’t do what we expect it to, we know that it’s due to our ignorance, not some piece of software that we’ve inserted between us and our web page.
Okay, enough negatives. What we will be writing about is mostly about creating web pages. The language (HTML/CSS), sure, but also how to use your own personal server to develop your web pages/sites. That way you can de-bug everything on your own personal computer and when you upload it to a commercial server (your hosted website, for instance) there will be no surprises. You don’t really need that for a single web page now and then, but when you are building your own personal web site it becomes invaluable. Tools such as SSI, base level indexing, and includes will make your life much easier – trust me, even if you don’t know what those terms mean (yet!).
Finally, if your only desire is to build and develop a single website, you may not need any of this, other than the section on WordPress. Using WordPress you don’t really need to understand HTML/CSS, although it certainly can help! Nor do you need to know anything about Apache Server. Nor the language WordPress is written in – php. Building and maintaining a WordPress site is pretty much a point and click operation – no technical background required.
But, we’ll offer the rest of the tools here and you’re welcome to dip into them as needed – or not. Your choice.