HTML – The Know-How

I guess I should have covered this earlier on but I’ve been pretty busy with homework and assignments and you know, life in general. Oh Well.

Anyhow, It seems logical to cover the basics of HTML.

HTML, also known as Hypertext Markup Language is the language used that build websites from scratch. It is the absolute first thing you would ever know when creating websites. Before anything else is added you would build a website through HTML – with that in mind there are other ways to build websites (I’m looking at you PHP) but in the end you are still using HTML to make it happen.

html5-720x1280

HTML has been around since the start of the web and since then has gone through a number of changes – 4 major ones actually (if you don’t count the initial release. The latest release is now known as HTML5 which included a number of improvements, most notably including approximately 29 new HTML tags and more browser compatibility.

To suffice a bare bones HTML Document looks like the following:

html-1

Essentially, this will give you a blank document on your page, but an HTML document nonetheless.

The first tag, DOCTYPE, defines what kind of document you are creating to let the browser know in order not to confuse it with say and CSS or Javascript file (which we’ll cover later). Followed by that is the HTML tag – this is where all of your content is contained in the file including meta information, at the end of your document you will include a closing tag that is almost the same thing except that it has a forward slash in front of it, indicating that it is closing. Lang=”en” is pretty self explanatory, just stating to the browser what language your document is in.

Next up is the HEAD tag. This is where you include all your meta information such as Page Title, Meta tags and files that link to your page that require it to run properly such as CSS and Javascript. In this case I’ve included a Meta tag that defines what character set this document is optimized for, which makes it able to include all the characters and keys on your keyboard inside of your document so that no unknown keys are included in your document. This is very important to have so your website does not crap out in any way or shape because of the incorrect character set.

After the HEAD tag you have the BODY tag. This is where all your content actually goes that you see on your browser.

For example, a Body may contain content such as the following:

Screen-Shot-2017-06-02-at-4.46.40-PM

In a nutshell, this basically is HTML5 that includes a Header section, a Main Section and Footer Section.

Within the HEADER tag you have a Navigation Bar with a UL tag which is an Unordered List that contains 2 lists elements (LI tags) within it. Within those are A tags which as known as Anchor tags that link to other parts of the website and in other cases outside of the website. Href stands for Hypertext Reference, which is ‘referring’ you to any part in the website or beyond.

Normally you’ll put your actual content in the Main tag. Stuff like articles, Welcome messages, image galleries and etc. are included here. Of course there’s no right or wrong answer here but as a Web designer or Developer it’s in your best interest to have an easy to navigate website that is clear and concise.

Lastly comes the Footer which is normally where you’d put in contact information, links to your social media and sometimes a search bar. In this case I’ve included a DIV tag (which stands for Divider tag) with an ID of “contact-here”.

What is an ID in HTML?

Well stick around, and I’ll have more for you next time.

For now, here’s a quick reference on HTML:

https://www.w3schools.com/html/

Have a good weekend!

– Mike

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Responsive Web Design – the 101

You’ve probably heard it somewhere in conversation with other web developers and designers. It’s one of those buzz words that make you almost instantly search for your phone or computer and Google it for an easy, descriptive term that will familiarize you with it.

The term I am referring to is Responsiveness or more prominently known as Responsive Web Design.

For the record, it has nothing to with people when they don’t respond to your calls or texts and it certainly doesn’t refer to you un-attentive kids tweeting away on their phones (just kidding..).

Responsive Web Design refers to how your website looks on various screens and changes accordingly. Basically, how it ‘responds’ to each individual screen and adjusts the layout and content on whatever screen it is being viewed.

You wouldn’t have the same layout on a Desktop computer as you would on a Mobile phone and vice versa. If you tried to fit all your content and layout for a Desktop computer into a Mobile phone your content would be way to minimized for any practical reading and your users would be forced to zoom in and constantly move the screen from the left to right to view content. Not good.

It’s in your, your client’s and your client’s clients best interest to have a website where, first off, you don’t need to to scroll right to left to read content and secondly need to zoom in to do so. Additionally Google actually ranks your website lower in it’s search ranks if you don’t have a mobile friendly website.

responsive

What you shouldn’t do vs. What you should do

When the internet was made widely available, we didn’t have smart phones that allowed us to view content on them. Remember the good ol’ days of the brick Nokia phones and flip-phone Krazers? Good Times. Anyhow, once iPhones, Androids and etc. came more into everyday use for everyone, people started viewing websites on mobile and inevitably they had trouble viewing them because they were not designed for smaller screens. Surprise, surprise.

Hence Responsive Web Design came into play and we’ve been using it ever since. In fact, it’s now considered an essential part of web design and not a separate entity on it’s own. As a Web designer and in some cases a Graphic Designer or any role that involves Designing for Web you’re going to need to know this stuff for sure, in fact you won’t survive without it.

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So now that we know what it is, how exactly does this work?

To simply put it, you add additional rules in CSS called Media Queries.

Basically when you hit a breaking point in your viewport and your content starts to move around, effectively breaking your layout, you would add your first Media Query.

SIDE NOTE:

IT IS ALSO BEST PRACTICE TO BUILD FROM MOBILE FIRST.

A basic Media Query looks something like the following:

@media only screen and (min-width: 768px) {

body {
background-color: #F00;
}
}

What this is reading is that when the screen width is more than 768 pixels, the body background will change to #F00 a.k.a Red. Any width less than that will revert to it’s default color state as defined in your initial CSS rule for the Body tag.

To break down the rules:

1) You start with @media which is basically saying ‘Hey screen, I’m about to start a Media Query’.

2) Only Screen refers to the actual screen you are viewing. When Media Queries were first being used there was an option for Print, Handheld and other avenues like that but eventually there were so many screen sizes that Only Screen now covers everything under the sun.

3) and (min-width: 768px) is the condition that must be met in order for the Media Query to work. You can have additional conditions by using the same format as this. If you have two conditions with the word ‘and’ between them then both conditions must be met in order for the Query to take effect. You can also instead of adding an ‘and’ between conditions and adding a comma instead. This will make sure that if either of the conditions are met, then the Media Query will take effect.

After your Media Query, you add curly braces (like a function!) and add in your CSS rules inside of it, almost like a separate Stylesheet. For semantic reasons you should add Media Queries in either the same stylesheet as your content’s, only after or in a separate stylesheet so you can find them easily if you need to adjust any rules later on.

Media Queries also don’t have to refer only to width in pixels but height as well, landscape or portrait layouts and even Screen resolution. You can also add for certain width and/or heights like this:

@media only screen and (min-width: 768px and max-width: 1024px){}

This effectively will only apply any styling within the curly braces when the width is between 768px and 1024px.

You can add multiple Media Queries inside of a Stylesheet if you’d like as well. In this case I had made a Media Query for a Laptop. If I wanted to make one for a Desktop of Wide Screen layout, I would add another condition that would have a min-width: 1400px and add my rules inside of that.

Since I’m on topic for the standard layouts for Mobile, Tablet, Laptop and Desktop, the following minimum width dimensions are the general layouts for screens:

Mobile: 0 – 480 px
Tablet: 480 – 768 px
Laptop: 768 – 1500 px
Desktop and Wide Screen: 1500 and up

responsive

Mind you, apparently there are over 17 000 screen sizes available in the world as different phones and devices are built and released every year. I can’t cite my sources on this one but I’ve heard this from people (legitimate, I swear!).

With that in mind, you’re obviously not going to make 17 000 Media Queries for a website or app hence why you should follow the general dimensions above for your website. In order to minimize how much Queries and additional rules you’d need to make it’s always best practice to create a good layout beforehand with as little extra content if possible. If you design a good prototype and follow a good layout you should have an easy time making your website responsive and easy to navigate and read.

There’s much more to cover still (Fluid vs. Fixed layouts, Rem and Em font sizes, Bootstrap, 960 Grid) but for now, I hope you can take something from this and try some basic stuff for yourself and go from there.

Have a good long weekend!

– Mike

Web Design vs. Web Development. What’s the Deal?

The difference between Website Design and Development

What's the Deal?

In order to fully understand the concept of creating Websites, we need to clearly differentiate the different steps, skills and roles needed to execute a website properly.

Web Design

This is the core of Website creation. This stage of a project includes concepts, layouts, colour schemes, typefaces, and beyond. Before you even begin to start creating files and folders, you want to make sure you know how it’s going to look like at the start. It’s in you and your client’s best interest to make the website look pretty, pleasing for the eyes and easy to use for your visitors on all formats and browsers including computers, tablets and phones. This in other terms, is Responsive Web Design (i.e. it responds to whatever dimensions the screen that it is being viewed from. You’d be creating graphics, images and all sorts of other media to be featured on your website. While no actual programming is involved in Web Design, you do use HTML (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) to create the raw layout of the website followed by CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) that will define the actual look of the website; hence the word styling in it.

Web Development

Often confused and categorized as one and the same with Web Design, Web Development couldn’t be further from the truth. It involves primarily with coding, hacking, programming (whatever you would like to call it) in several Front End and Back End Languages. I’ll touch base later on with what the difference is with Front End and Back End Development but for now, here’s what you need to know. Development includes bringing your website to life as if you only had HTML and CSS on a website, it would just be a Static website with no animation involved whatsoever, so Development helps bring it to life with near-limitless features such as drop down menus, rotating picture galleries, scrolling effects and even games. Front End Development involves coding with Browser supported languages including but not limited to:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Javascript
  • AJAX

On the other hand, Back End Development involves coding from the Server end of things with the following languages (but not limited to):

  • PHP
  • MySQL
  • Java
  • Ruby
  • Python

Why should I care?

We’ll touch base specifically on what the difference between all these languages means to you, either as a casual coder or a career-minded individual at a later time, but hopefully this will help you begin to build a foundation of knowledge of where this all fits in the Media Industry.

For some further reading, refer to the following link:

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