Workshop: Understanding and Building on the Web with HTML/CSS

I recently attended a workshop on HTML/CSS that was incredibly fun and informative. Going into this workshop, my knowledge of HTML was limited to what I learned building MySpace pages over 10 years ago. The workshop was well organized to cater the students of various backgrounds that attended. Patrick Sweeney organized and led the workshop, and Stephen Morello kindly assisted those that ran into technical issues.

The objectives of the workshop were as follows:

 “By the end of this workshop, participants will:

– Familiarize themselves with the anatomy of a webpage and how the internet     works.

– Understand the basics of the HTML and CSS markdown languages.

– Use HTML, CSS, and a text editor to build a small website.”


My understanding of the difference between HTML and CSS was cleared up early, when HTML was described as the bones of website building, and CSS the style. Understanding the purpose of HTML/CSS as languages was a key component that I think many other programming classes fail to address. I tried to learn Python over the summer with an online course, for example, and didn’t know that it was commonly used as a glue language until I googled it just now.

The workshop was broken down into HTML basics, and CSS basics. HTML basics included an introduction, and an opening activity where we viewed the code source of the New York Times website. We then created our own rudimentary website using a basic HTML template on a text editor like Sublime.From there, we covered tags and elements, paragraphs and headings, links, images, and conventions. CSS basics covered HTML/CSS integration, rule sets, filtering, classes and IDs, selectors, and troubleshooting. All in all, my poor website looked like this:

By the end of the two-hour workshop, the vibes of the room were overwhelmingly positive. Almost everyone had created their very own website that looked like it came straight out of the year 1998, and we were very proud of ourselves. We concluded the workshop with viewing some examples of websites created with HTML/CSS that looked very sleek, and really saw their potential as languages.