Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Savannah from PA. Savannah Wonders, “How do you make your own website?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Savannah!
Aren't websites great? Can you imagine what life was like before the Internet? Would you believe people had to wait until the news came on the television to learn about the latest news, weather, and sports? How did people find out what their friends were up to before social media? And what about funny cat videos? How did people share those?
Today, a whole world full of information is right there at the tips of our fingers. All we need to do is type a query into a search engine and, just like that, all sorts of websites pop up for exploring. One can only imagine the reaction a person living a century ago would have to the nearly-instant access we have to a vast treasure of knowledge today.
Have you ever stopped to WONDER who makes websites and how they do it? Many people work in technology fields where their jobs consist of building, maintaining, designing, or adding to the wide variety of websites that make up the Internet.
You might even want to create your own website one day. But exactly how does one go about designing, creating, and adding a website to the vast Internet? If you want to build a website from scratch, you're going to need to learn how to write computer code in a variety of languages.
When you use a web browser to view a web page, what you see is made up of a variety of different pieces, including text, images, sounds, colors, etc. Many websites allow you to interact in a variety of ways, from purchasing goods and services to using hyperlinks to explore other related websites.
The digital data that is sent from a web server to your web browser contains all the computer code that tells the web browser how to display information in a certain way, so that you view and experience the website as its designers intended.
For a number of years, the very simplest way to build a webpage was to create a new HTML document within a website builder software program. The basic language used by web programmers is known as Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). HTML tells a web browser how text information should appear. On an HTML document, you would type HTML code that includes exactly what text and images go on the webpage and how they should look.
HTML isn't the only computer language you'll need to know to create a website. You'll also need to become familiar with CSS, or Cascading Style Sheets. CSS allows designers to create unique styles and layouts that give a website a consistent look and feel across all of its individual web pages, regardless of the changing text or images of those pages.
For example, instead of writing the same specifications for the color, size, and font for the text on every page, you put all of that information on a CSS. This is helpful because if you decide to change how the text appears, you make edits in just one place instead of on every page.
These days, there are many online tools that will allow users to create a website without knowing a bit of code. They use simple templates and interfaces that allow you to choose designs, layouts, colors, pictures, and text to create a custom website that looks just like you want it to!
Getting a website up and running involves many other tasks, such as reserving a domain name (such as www.wonderopolis.org) and finding a web server to host your site. Where can you find more information? Online, of course!
If you want to get a taste of what website computer code looks like, you can see a bit of what's running behind the web page you're reading right now. Simply right-click anywhere on the page, and then click on "view source." The source code will appear in a new window. Can you believe a web browser interprets all of that code to display the web page you're reading?