Module 3: Introductory Coding

As you should be aware by now, it is possible to accomplish a lot with standard html, css, and the many, many features of content management systems such as WordPress. You may, however, want to learn to create customized experiences or find yourself drawn to the intricacies of code and want to take web development to a deeper level. If so, this section is for you. It offers an introduction to both PHP and Javascript, both of which are very powerful tools for advanced web developers.


Javascript, a popular open source technology, underlies some of the most compelling experiences on the Internet. Javascipt and it’s talented little brother Jquery, give developer such as you the power to ‘drill down’ into a webpage and change it dynamically. You can, for example, change the background color of a webpage with the click of a mouse or by tapping on a screen, change the content of an individual div tag or an entire document, animate images, load content dynamically, and lots more. Even better, the Internet is full of work that is cheerfully provided by other developers that you can draw on and modify to do practically anything to a webpage that you can think of! 

Javascript requires coding skills and follows many of the same rules as another popular internet technology called PHP. There is, however, one really big difference between PHP and Javascript: PHP runs on the server and returns a standard html page to the user's browser, while Javascript does all of its processing inside of the user's browser. This means that, with Javascript, the user's computer has to do all of the processing work which reduces the chance that a popular website will overload the server when thousands of unexpected visitors suddenly arrive. The not so good news is that browsers- especially old browsers- sometimes vary in how they interpret and process javascript, and it is possible for a user to completely disable javascript. This means, of course, that web pages that incorporate Javascript may not always work properly for every user; especially if that user is still using an outdated version of Internet Explorer.

Perhaps the best news for a budding Javascript developer like yourself, is that previous developers have created libraries of code that you can draw upon to create powerful user experiences without having to do dramatic amounts of coding yourself. The best known and most popular of these libraries is known as Jquery which makes life easier for Javascript developers by simplifying and reducing the amount of coding that has to be done, and by helping to insure cross-browser compatibility.  In these lessons we will concentrate on Jquery because, frankly, it’s a lot easier to use than standard Javascript. Because Jquery is a separate library and is not actually built into your web browser, it is necessary to add a link to the Jquery library in order to use it. Let's try it out.

Next: Getting Started with jQuery

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