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Short Tutorial on Coding Skills for WordPress Blog

WordPress makes it very easy to customize look, feel and functionality of Blog. You can use theme options and plug-ins to enhance the power of WordPress blog. But you will soon realize that knowing some basic coding skills helps a lot, if you are serious about blogging. We will learn about these key coding skills in this post.


Quick HTML tutorial

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) is the language used for creating webpages. Every internet user is html user. HTML tells web browser how to display text. The idea of this tutorial is to introduce the concept of html.

The simple exercise will help learn html.
  • Copy code below and paste it in a notepad.
<html><head><title>Webpage Title</title></head><body>My first Webpage. <b>bold text</b> <i>italic text</i></body></html>
  • Save the file as myfirstwebsite.html.
  • Open Web browser, Goto File -> Open -> Browse and select myfirstwebsite.html
What you see is a webpage, you just created

Here are key points about html
  • HTML file is nothing but a text file containing Markup tags.
  • These tags tell web browser how to display webpage. For examples. Tags and tells web browser to display the text in bold. Text between and is not displayed in web browser. Text between and is displayed in web browser.

Quick PHP tutorial

What is PHP? PHP is extremely popular free scripting language used for adding dynamic functionality to web pages. It can be embedded in html. Web server needs to be PHP enabled for processing PHP. PHP is a server-side language which means browsers can not interpret PHP. Web server automatically parses PHP code (PHP must be deployed on web server, which is true in most cases) and generates HTML before the code is passed to web browser for display.

Syntax
  • PHP code starts with . Any code outside of PHP tags is not parsed.
  • Variables start with $ symbol and are case-sensitive.
  • // is used to add comment on a line, and /* */ is used for adding comment in a block on multiple lines.
  • Echo function is used for generating output for the browser.
  • Syntax is quite similar to other languages particularly Perl and C. Here is full PHP manual.
Here is a short tutorial for quickly getting started with PHP.

Quick CSS tutorial

What is CSS? CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is way of defining appearance and layout of multiple web pages (or entire website if you like) in one central place. Style sheet defines how html elements are displayed and is generally saved as external .css file. The approach helps in changing feel and look of whole website by simply making a change in single CSS file.

Style sheet is created by including number of rules, which are formed as follows
selector {property: value} for single property
selector {property1: value1; property2: value2} for multiple properties

For example H1 element can be styled as
H1 {font-size: large; color: black}

Style sheets can be created as external .css files or internal style sheets between head tags. For specific style requirements, styles can be modified in the html markup. Here is the priority of style from low to high

Browser default (Lowest) -> External Style Sheet (.css file) -> Internal Style Sheet (Inside head tags) -> Inline style (Inside html element) (Highest)

You can define Font, padding, background, color, border and other properties of html elements using CSS.

Quick XML tutorial

XML (Extensible mark up language) is flexible mark up language (like HTML) used for carrying data. XML is simple text based language, which makes it technology independent.

Is XML same as HTML?
XML is different from HTML. HTML is used for displaying data while XML is used for carrying data. Also, XML tags are not predefined. You need to define your own tags. Browser will display web pages for HTML code. For raw XML code, internet browser will just display raw code.What are main XML Syntax rules?
  • XML tags must have closing tag (HTML is flexible on this rule).
  • XML tags are case-sensitive.
  • XML tags must be properly nested ie first opened tag must be closed last.
Any XML document that conforms to the XML syntax rules is a Well Formed document. Other than Syntax, more rules can be defined using DTD/XML Schema. A document that conforms to all the rules is a valid document and can be checked using XML Validator.

Do I need XML editor?XML can be edited in any text pad or notepad. However, for a complex or long document it may be worth to use a good XML editor as it will help point out syntax error and might automate tasks such as entering closing tags.

What is the future of XML?Because of the flexibility of tags and ability to define more rules, many new languages have been created and are being created on top of XML such as XHTML and RSS.

Notepad++: Free, Simple & Powerful Source Code & Text Editor

Notepad++ is free open source Windows Source code editor and Notepad replacement. Primary feature is syntax highlighting and code editing. Notepad++ supports many languages.

There are other features that can simplify editing code. You can edit multiple files at one time. Notepad++ can open multiple files in tabs. You can open two files in two views. This can help while comparing and editing files. Search and replace functionality is supported. You can also bookmark any document. The text editor also suggests auto completion as you type.

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