Languages help bridge the gap between humans and machines. A computer can read and interpret a language, but a human programmer can still read and write it. Since websites are written in languages, they are a very important part of how the Internet functions. Listed below are some of the more important languages utilized with webpages. Each one represents a tool to be used by web designers.


HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, is the language websites are written in. This language involves the use of tags, denoted by the "<" and ">" characters. For example, <html> is used to open the HTML tag, and </html> is used to close it. Web browsers are used to open HTML, where they are displayed as webpages. This use of tags allows the HTML file to be organized in a way that is readable by both people and machines.



Similar to HTML, XML also utilizes tags. With XML, however, the tags are created by the user, and can be used to define hierarchy. For example, let's say a teacher wants to keep track of their students. This hypothetical teacher could use a <student> tag, with the tags <name>, <grade>, and <age> located within the student tag. This way, the computer will read name, grade, and age as categories of student. An advantage of this is that this XML file can be read and interpreted by many different languages, making it a powerful tool for programmers.



While HTML is a powerful tool, it has its limitations. JavaScript can be used in combination with HTML to accomplish more than HTML alone. The main advantage JavaScript offers is that it allows for real time updates of the web page. An example of this would be a series of rotating images, where an image on a webpage is replaced with another after a set amount of time. This gives web designers a new set of tools to use for their websites, which in turn leads to new experiences for the users.



Similar to JavaScript, PHP, or Hypertext Preprocessor, can be used with HTML to give to programmer more freedom. The web designer can, for example, create new functions of code to consolidate longer and more complex processes. PHP is an example an object oriented language, where objects are defined using attributes. For example, an apple object could be defined with "color = red" and "shape = round", and the computer would recognize apple as something that is red and round. PHP represents another way that web designers can improve their webpages.



The style of an HTML page can be defined by altering specific tags. For example, the color of the text can be altered within the <p> tag. Another way to do this is by using Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS. With an external CSS, certain attributes can be altered across multiple web pages. So if a website is written in the default font, but the web designer wants the text to appear red, rather than changing each paragraph for each webpage, the designer can simply use an external CSS to change all the paragraphs at once. This allows web designers to edit their web pages more efficiently.