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Does Your Web Developer Speak Your Language?


Web developers’ skill have a wide range. Some developers just know basic HTML, while others understand advanced PHP, version-control and server management.

But how do you evaluate if they’re good or not? To you, CSS and JavaScript just sound like gibberish words and weird acronyms. I’ll help you make since of Web languages. Don’t get bamboozled by inexperienced Web developers.

Picture this. Your website is your house.

And you’re on HGTV. Or any other home renovation network/show you love. (Property Brothers is my favorite, because they actually deliver on what they promise.)

HTML is Your House’s Foundation

The foundation is what everything rests on.  My analogy is HTML language is the structure that holds your house together. The foundation of any website is extremely important. It determines how scalable it is how easy it and will be for other Web developers to build on top of it if the initial builder moves on.

CSS is Your Interior Designer Making Everything Sexy

You know those model homes that you only wish you could emulate yourself? Most of the time everything you’re seeing is cosmetic. Designer pillows here. Vintage couch. With your website, the overall design, if it “Wows” then, will be the first impression your visitors have and (unless your website is really slow) will be their lasting impression

PHP is the Brain of Your House

This Web language, PHP, is like the electricity, plumbing, cable, internet, phone, etc. It’s even your alarm system. It’s the functionality of your website. Pretty much your entire utility bill and more. Would your house still be livable without electricity? It would, but it wouldn’t make life easy. (Unless you’re trying to escape from technology. or join the cast of Utopia.) PHP is the equivalent of intelligence for your website. WordPress and Drupal, two giants in the world of content management use PHP to handle their logic.

SQL/MySQL is Where You Can Store All of Your Precious Belongings

Your website with HTML, CSS, and PHP could be just what you need if you don’t plan to have anyone move in to your house, or need to save any information for later. However, most likely you do, so this is where SQL comes in. When you move into your house, you’re likely to have a moving truck deliver with all of your possessions. You may have boxes marked specifically for Ted, Sara, and Jolie. And also some for the living room and kitchen (which everyone uses).

Everyone has a room that’s uniquely theirs. MySQL stores all of your user data and gives each person a unique space to live in. Every user has a login, or a key to unlock their room and access their favorite things.

Some data is shared by everyone and the system/brain (Content Management System/PHP) to function properly. An example of this would be preparing a meal with and sharing it with your family. On the web, this could be using the tools everyone uses to make a status update, and making it available to everyone to see and enjoy. 

Javascript/Jquery is You Throwing An Epic Party

Or just having a couple of people over. Or imagine, you’re going to a party at one of your friends’ house:

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  1. You get directions (That’s what a domain address is for. Or Google).
  2. Arrive at their place and try to find parking (how fast you can get to the front door is like page load time).
  3. Knock on the door, your friend opens it and you see…

…a dance party! The picture above is the equivalent of HTML, CSS, PHP, and SQL combined. It’s what a Web page is the first second it’s done loading. But it’s not JavaScript/Jquery. JavaScript/Jquery is BEING AT THE PARTY. Experiencing the movement, the sound. The balloon’s popping. Your friends laughing, jamming and getting down.

Simply put, JavaScript/Jquery is anything that happens after you arrive. Your friend grabbing you a beer. Sparky the dog breaking a vase. The slider showing promotions, your Facebook chat box popping up. Your news feed updating automatically. In the Web world, we call this behavior.

Your website can work well without it. And many do. It depends on how showy you are. And most times, you don’t want to be too exuberant. It wouldn’t make much sense to have a clown act and a wine tasting all in the same room. JavaScript/Jquery, like make-up is meant to enhance your look, not make you a different person.

BONUS: A Web Page is Just One Room of Your House

Just like your house, your living room could be epic for throwing the perfect party or get-together and your bathroom could be mildew moldy. Gross. You’ll want someone who can plan your entire house and think about every room you’ll need, and why it’s even there. Your house and website should be easy to navigate and flow from room to room.

Whenever Web development starts feeling confusing, just reference this article and make it all make sense.

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