So you’ve decided you want to learn to code and build your own website but not sure where to begin? Below are suggestions of the web development tools you can use to get started.
Code Snippet Playground
Keep in mind codepen is not the place to build a complete website. This is more of a place for you to keep your code snippets of things you are trying to figure out how to accomplish.
I actually just started using codepen a few months ago. I started out with the free version but liked it so much I went ahead and got a paid version because it has a few extra features. You can follow me on codepen here: http://codepen.io/susanwinters/collections/popular/
If you want to build a complete website then you’ll need a place to hold all of your files for your projects. I suggest naming the folder the name of your future website then add a folder for images, styles, and scripts. You’ll keep your .html files at the root level.
Now to open and work with those files on your computer, you will need an IDE (integrated development environment). An IDE is a software that helps you create websites. There are several free ones available and you can try out several of them to see which one you like using the best. Or like me, you may prefer to use a different IDE depending on your project.
I downloaded and installed Sublime Text when I was in college because this is the program that the instructor was using and it just made it easier for me to learn if I used the same IDE as she did. Sublime is a free download and available for both Windows and Mac.
Recently I downloaded a new IDE called ATOM. I like it so far but really haven’t had a chance to use it much.
You might also want to check out Brackets.
My all time favorite IDE is Visual Studio! But that’s because I started using it over 10 years ago so I’m just used to the environment. You used to have to pay for it and there are versions you can buy but I just stick with the free version. You can download it here: https://www.visualstudio.com/vs-2015-product-editions
At some point you are going to want to place your newly created website on a web host server for the world to see. You’ll use a web hosting company for this because frankly, trying to set up a connection for the world to see files on your personal computer is time consuming, risky and downright more trouble than its worth. The cheapest place I have found for this is PlanetSMB.com They have a basic account for only $2.95/month.
In order to transfer the files on your computer to a folder on your web hosting account, you will need an FTP service. FTP stands for file transfer protocol. In the settings, you create a connection to the IP address of your web hosting account along with your username and password (provided to you by your web hosting company once you set up an account) then click the connect button. My favorite FTP program is Filezilla and you can download it for free.
Client Side Code vs. Server Side Code
There are a ton of things you could learn but you don’t have to learn them all right now! There are several places you can get free or cheap training and I’ll write about that in another post. The purpose of this post was just to provide links to the most common tools used to get started in web development. Good luck on your journey.