There is plenty of software out there to makes bloggers’ lives a lot easier, making it simple to design a site with not even basic html knowledge. Yet some people just want to have full control.
If that’s the case, these are the 5 programming languages I would recommend you start learning. Blogging, after all, is more than just writing – to be the best you have to have a site that looks the part too!
Image by OmirOnia.
HTML knowledge will make your life easier when creating web pages. It’s the bread and butter of web design, the stuff you use to tell a browser what bit is the heading, what’s the body text and so on.
There are a lot of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors that can help you put pages together without knowing HTML, however we are talking about having total control on your blog, so you should definitely know this.
The new and improved version is called XHTML. It’s easier to learn and to maintain although your blog visitors will hopefully be none the wiser.
Also known as Cascading Style Sheets, this is the language that tells your browser how things should look. It tells you that a line of text should be bold, or red, or that all of your headings should be in Verdana size 16 pt.
While things like these can be set through HTML, that’s an old practice that’s becoming deprecated, and all styles and looks should be decided through CSS.
This is particularly useful when putting together a blog, because it automates a lot of the formatting. You can use one style sheet in a separate document for example, that says how all headings across the entire web site should look like, so every time you write something new the looks will remain aesthetically consistent – something every professional blog is.
Just tell your HTML document where the CSS file is, and you are set to go.
PHP is a server side language that is basically used to create an interface between a user and a server, without accessing restricted databases, or simply to make the user’s job a lot easier. It also allows the creation of dynamic content.
This is what you would do without a CMS such as Joomla! or WordPress:
1. Open your graphics software/web design applications.
2. Design your site structure.
3. Create your HTML and CSS files with your content.
4. Upload them to a server through file transfer protocol programs.
Every time you want to change something, even just to correct a typo, you need to open the desired file in your web design application, for example Dreamweaver, correct the typo, save the page, re-open your FTP program and upload the page.
If you use a CMS, all you have to do is access the admin area of your site, edit the page, and you are done.
PHP makes this CMS style ease possible since you have predefined files that the PHP script puts together dynamically whenever someone requests to see a web page.
So if Bob comes to your web site to check your latest gaming review, the browser will make a request to your site’s server, and the PHP script will say, “Okay, here’s the navigation of the site, here’s the sidebar which is identical on every page, here’s the article itself, and here’s the area where all the comments go: let’s stick it all together into one page and show it to Bob.”
This is again a language you only need to know if you want to have total control over your blog and like to have fully managed servers.
I mentioned earlier how PHP puts together several pre-existing parts into a page. All of this information is stored in tables, which are coded through the MYSQL language.
Not that interesting, but a real must-know.
You can also use it to create plug-ins which add functionalities to web sites.
It takes time to know all of these languages and frankly if you know them all you can consider yourself to be quite a decent web developer, not just a blogger.
However, there are tons of other languages around and these aren’t the only ones you can build a blog with – what are you using for your site?