HTML and CSS Basics: The Foundations of Web Development

Last Updated: June 7, 2023 11:36 am
HTML and CSS Basics: The Foundations of Web Development

Many people new to web development often ask, “Is HTML a programming language?” and “Is CSS a programming language?” The short answer is no. However, these technologies are the backbone of every web page and play crucial roles in shaping the way content is presented and styled. In this blog, we will explore some common questions surrounding HTML and CSS, providing clarity on their purpose, the difference between HTML and CSS, and their significance in modern web development.

Is HTML a Programming Language?

HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, is technically not a programming language. Instead, it is a markup language that structures the content and defines the layout of a web page. HTML uses tags and elements to describe the different components of a webpage, such as headings, paragraphs, images, links, and more. These elements provide structure and meaning to the content but lack the dynamic capabilities found in traditional programming languages.

Is CSS a Programming Language?

Similarly to HTML, CSS is not classified as a programming language either. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets and is responsible for the visual presentation and styling of web pages. It works in conjunction with HTML by adding design elements like colors, fonts, layouts, and animations to enhance the overall user experience. CSS operates by selecting HTML elements and applying specific rules to control their appearance, positioning, and behavior.


While both HTML and CSS are integral parts of web development, they serve distinct purposes:

As mentioned earlier, HTML is responsible for structuring the content of a web page. It defines the different components and their hierarchy, determining how information is organized. HTML tags provide semantic meaning to the content, enabling web browsers and search engines to understand the structure of the page. HTML forms the foundation of a website, acting as the skeletal structure on which CSS brings life and style.

On the other hand, CSS focuses on the visual aspects of a web page. It controls the layout, colors, fonts, and other aesthetic elements that determine the look and feel of the content. By separating the presentation layer from the structure defined by HTML, CSS allows developers to create consistent and visually appealing designs across multiple web pages. Additionally, CSS provides responsiveness, enabling websites to adapt their layout to different screen sizes and devices.

Collaborative Relationship: HTML and CSS

HTML and CSS work together collaboratively to create web pages that are both visually appealing and semantically structured. HTML defines the underlying content and organizes it into meaningful sections using tags and elements. CSS then takes over, leveraging selectors and rules to style the HTML elements and transform them into a visually pleasing presentation.

It’s important to note that while HTML and CSS are distinct technologies, learning them together is essential for aspiring web developers. Mastery of both languages allows developers to create engaging and responsive websites that offer optimal user experiences.

The Evolution of HTML and CSS

HTML and CSS have evolved over time to keep up with the changing demands of web development. New versions and specifications are introduced to introduce modern features, improve accessibility, and ensure compatibility across different browsers and devices.

HTML5, the latest version of HTML, introduced numerous new elements and APIs, including video and audio support, canvas for graphics rendering, geolocation, local storage, and semantic tags like <header>, <nav>, <section>, and <article>. These additions made it easier to create rich, interactive web experiences.

CSS3 brought significant advancements to CSS, including rounded corners, gradients, shadows, media queries for responsive design, flexible box layout (Flexbox), and grid-based layout (CSS Grid). These features empowered developers to create visually stunning and highly adaptable web designs.

Tynker’s Web Development Course

Tynker, a popular online learning platform, offers a comprehensive Web Development course that introduces students to the world of HTML and CSS. This course provides a structured and interactive learning experience, equipping learners with the necessary skills to create and design their own web pages.

Tynker’s Web Development course begins by laying the foundation with HTML, the markup language that structures the content of web pages. Students learn how to use HTML tags and elements to define headings, paragraphs, links, images, and other essential components of a web page. Through hands-on activities and guided projects, learners gain practical experience in creating structured and semantically meaningful web content.

As the course progresses, Tynker seamlessly transitions into CSS, the styling language that adds visual appeal and layout to web pages. Students explore the power of CSS selectors to target specific HTML elements and apply styling rules. They learn to customize colors, fonts, backgrounds, and other design elements, bringing life and creativity to their web pages. Additionally, students discover how to leverage CSS for responsive design, ensuring that their websites adapt gracefully to different screen sizes and devices.

One notable aspect of Tynker’s Web Development course is its interactive learning environment. Through visual coding blocks and a real-time preview, students can see the immediate impact of their HTML and CSS code changes. This instant feedback helps reinforce the understanding of concepts and encourages experimentation, allowing learners to fine-tune their designs.


In conclusion, HTML and CSS are not programming languages in the traditional sense but are critical components of web development. HTML structures and provides meaning to content, while CSS adds visual styles and layout. Together, they form the foundation for building captivating and user-friendly websites. By understanding their unique roles and capabilities, aspiring web developers can leverage the power of HTML and CSS to create remarkable online experiences.

Explore Tynker’s Advanced Coursework

Looking for more resources? Find these amazing courses in your Student Dashboard.

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JavaScript 1 — Learn to code fun browser-based games using JavaScript and HTML canvas. Build 11 mini-games like Snake and Pong! 

Intro to Web Development — Learn to create responsive web pages using HTML and CSS.

Python 1  — Learn fundamental programming concepts and create some awesome, playable games along the way.

Python 2  — Take your Python skills to the next level by learning about functions, data structures, recursion, and more. Short, hands-on exercises keep things engaging.

Python 3 — You’ve learned syntax. Now solve problems that excite and inspire — with Python! Make useful applications, explore game design, try data science, and create digital art with cool Python modules.

Data Science 1 — Data is everywhere around us, transforming our world. Learn how to make use of Python, the most popular language for data science — and create beautiful data visualizations.

Java 1 — Engineer a variety of real-world solutions with Java, and get ready to take on AP Computer Science A! Explore the fundamentals of computer science and object-oriented programming (OOP) in a hands-on, fun, and visual way. 

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About Leandra McGriff

Leandra Mcgriff is an educator community specialist at Tynker. She has a background in Computer Science and was a teacher for 6 years. She has taught in her hometown in Alabama, and has taught internationally. She loves teaching kids how to bring their imagination to life through coding.