Intro to HTML & CSS

HTML makes up the structure and content on a website, while CSS styles the content. Webflow generates this code while you design.

This video features an old UI. Updated version coming soon!
This video features an old UI. Updated version coming soon!
This video features an old UI. Updated version coming soon!

It’s helpful to understand the relationship between HTML and CSS when you’re building for the web.

In this lesson:

  1. Understanding how browsers render code
  2. Inspecting website code
  3. Understanding HTML and CSS
  4. Designing while Webflow generates clean code for you

Understanding how browsers render code

When you visit a website, what you see on your screen is the result of your browser making decisions about how to render the website's underlying code. It uses the information in the code to display what everyone sees when they load the page.


Inspecting website code

You can inspect and temporarily edit source code on most browsers.

To open Chrome DevTools: and manipulate

  1. Right click and choose Inspect from the popup menu, or press Control + Shift + I (on Windows) or Command + Option + I (on Mac)
  2. Edit code in the inspector to temporarily change the content in your browser

It can be fun to test the relationship between code and rendered content. Since you're only making changes locally in your browser, your updates will disappear as soon as you refresh the page.


Understanding HTML and CSS

HTML creates content on a website and CSS is responsible for the content's design and style.

HTML: the content

HTML is generally used for content: it tells the browser what’s on the page. This includes everything you see, including headings, paragraphs, links, and images.


In HTML, we used to style all the content with inline styles, line-by-line. Simple things like changing font family, colo,r or size would require an item-by-item update inside the HTML. Updating a site element by element was extremely redundant and made it difficult to update a single site-wide style, like a font family or font size for your basic paragraph element.


CSS: the styling

CSS (cascading style sheet) takes all that styling information that used to be written inline — colors, borders, size, positioning, typography, and more — and moves it into a separate style document with classes.


That way, any of those elements in our HTML can be given a class name to take on the styles associated with that class.

Make a change to that class in the CSS file and it affects any element that’s using that class.


The big problem: code is getting harder

Back in the early days of the web, we only had to know the most basic tags and attributes. Time went by and the internet really started growing up. Devices changed and the way we interacted with the web became more personal.

As all that happened, it became necessary to retool. As the possibilities increased for what we could build as designers and developers, so did the complexity of everything we had to manage behind the scenes.


Today, to become a successful web developer you have to get the hang of HTML, CSS, JS, databases, Sass, JavaScript libraries, CSS libraries, browser-specific quirks, browser versions, responsive design, GitHub, jQuery, Java, image compression, load speeds, optimization, SEO — this list is ever-growing and pretty soon web development feels impossible to get into.

Designing while Webflow generates clean code for you

HTML and CSS serve as the primary foundation of web design, providing both structure and style. It’s useful to understand these concepts, but we’ve reached a point where we no longer have to hand-code HTML and CSS — because of Webflow.


What we're providing with Webflow is a way to move a lot faster and more efficiently when building websites. By visually creating and manipulating content on a canvas, we can directly interact with our HTML, CSS, and everything else on the screen. With Webflow, you get a direct connection to the medium you’re manipulating.

Instead of sketching and outputting prototypes, and going through the painful design iteration to development handoff process, we’re outputting production-ready code. So you can take even the craziest design ideas and make them a reality — without having to write code.

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This video features an old UI. Updated version coming soon!