Design, Web Development

Common Web Design Languages, What They Do and Why You Need Them

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Common Web Design Languages, What They Do and Why You Need Them

For people who aren’t tech-savvy, working with a web designer or developer can be tricky. They use phrases like CSS, HTML, and Java, which might mean little to you as a business owner. These phrases refer to the languages web developers use to write code and create an appealing design. Most business owners don’t need to understand the nuts and bolts of web design, but it can help to know the basics before beginning a conversation about changing your web design or implanting a new one.

Why Is a Basic Understanding Important?

You don’t need to know how to code to know your website is a crucial component to your business and marketing strategies. By understanding a few things, however, you may feel like you and your designer can have a coherent conversation – and you can more clearly express your needs.

You may believe you can simply tell a designer want you want, and poof – like magic – it happens. Sometimes, that is the case, but when things aren’t going so smoothly, it can help to understand why. Technology keeps marching – as it changes, it helps to know why developers might need to change your site to keep it current.

Businesses and web developers are always rethinking their design and making changes to keep up with the Google updates, trending designs, and more.

Most Commonly Used Languages

There is a variety of coding languages developers choose from, and most use the language they are most comfortable with. Their preference is formed over time based on their experience using different languages.

Here are the most common languages and how they are used:

1. HTML

HTML makes up the layout and structure for your website. This language is dynamic and allows you to create a beautiful website using less code. HTML is used to create a starting point for the website and is what most of your static pages start from. A better way to understand this language is to consider it as the skeleton that is holding your website together.

2. CSS

CSS is the language developers can use to style a website. The style sheet language describes how your website is presented and its layout. CSS is used hand in hand with HTML to add colors, backgrounds, layouts, font sizes, and more. This language is a core technology web developers use to design and build websites.

3. Java

Java is one of the most popular programming languages. It is used to develop website content, games, apps, and software. Java is used in the production of most Android apps. Studies have shown over 15 billion devices are using Java in some form or other. Java language is portable and can be run on multiple software platforms.

4. JavaScript

JavaScript is used in many aspects of web development. Web developers use this language to add interactive elements to their websites. User engagement is important to your business, and your web developer should be incorporating JavaScript elements in your design.

5. Python

Python is one of the easiest languages to use and work with. Python can create a framework for basically any website need. This language uses simple and straightforward syntax, making it easy for web developers to work with and explain to their users. Some familiar sites that are using this language are Pinterest and Instagram.

6. SQL

SQL is a database query language that is used when your website is computing large amounts of data. Using SQL allows you to gather data from different databases and use it to cater your website to your target audience. This language is not used alone; instead, it is paired with others to get the most out of your customer database and website development.

7. PHP

PHP is often used on data-heavy websites or for app development. This is an open-source language that can be easily modified to meet the needs of your business or website. Large websites like WordPress and Facebook use PHP to manage and process their data.

Why Do Some Languages Work Better Than Others?

No one language is inherently better than another, they just perform better with different tasks. There are some key factors that web developers consider when they are deciding what language or coding method to use while working on a project. Here are some of those factors:

  • Expressiveness. The expressiveness relates to how easy a language is to understand, use, and write. The productivity of a language says a lot about how expressive your website will be. The easier a language is to write, the more time can be spent on adding design elements to the site. The expressiveness relates to how easy it is to add to the existing code. A developer will use a language where he or she does not have to spend a lot of time thinking about how to expand upon the code to grow or update the website.
  • Reliability. The reliability of the language and the code is important. The functionality of your website relies on how reliable the language is. The code is also in place to protect your website and customers. Reliable code will be easy to test and maintain. When a developer is reviewing the code, he or she should be able to scan it and get a sense for how reliable the website will be.
  • Performance. This is an important factor for developers to consider when they are working on a business website. They must take into consideration the amount of traffic your site will receive and what types of activities users will be doing while they visit your website. They will look for easy optimization to different servers and browsers, and will want to make sure the code will operate consistently throughout a visitor’s time spent on the website.

Know the Basics, and Let Your Designer Take It From There

There are several online resources available that can help beginners learn the basics of code and have a better understanding of web development. As a business owner or someone who just has a general interest in understanding coding languages, a basic understanding of the above examples can go a long way.

Web designers and developers may seem like magicians to most of us, but more than that, they are artists – and unlike other forms of art, form and function must work together seamlessly. Coders want sites to perform well and look good for businesses and clients. When it works well for you, it works well for them, too.

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    Stephen Moyers

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