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Tame The Web

How does the Internet work? It is designed to work for you, but the instructions can get complex. There are many tools to help you learn, though.

A crash course in the basics of HTML (Hyper-Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) will give you immeasurable understanding of why web sites work the way they do and how to navigate them.

Here are three websites I use to help people get their bearings in web development and design.

Hackasaurus’s X-Ray Goggles tool allows users to isolate the different HTML objects on a website and “remix” its elements in real time. Would you like to change all of the headlines on The State’s website to your liking? Here’s your toy. All changes are limited to the user’s screen, though Hackasaurus allows users to save their creations as separate websites for free.

Codecademy got its big break from mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg when he endorsed the site as helping him learn to code in 2012. The site has been steadily adding different programming languages and coding lessons, including lessons titled “Web Fundamentals.” Codecaemy rewards its students with badges to indicate progress, and each lesson is broken into bite-sized exercises, gradually building into comprehensive assignments that incorporate all of the previous lessons. Each lesson also provides Q&A forums for students who are stuck.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the international organization that establishes standards for the world wide web. Their tutorials and advice come from a full-time staff of Internet experts who wish to see the Web and its users reach their full potential.

The W3 School’s tutorials are great for getting started with HTML and CSS, as well as other coding lessons. The “Try It Yourself” editor allows users to enter text and immediately see the resulting website within the same window.

Safari Tech Books are available to all Richland Library cardholders through the library's subscription. Given how much practice and learning will be done on the computer, why not learn from online reference guides with instantly searchable contents?