JavaScript Vs. HTML: What is the Difference?

JavaScript Vs. HTML: What is the Difference?

If you are getting into web development, then chances are you might have heard about some of the best languages for web development: JavaScript vs. HTML. Without this dynamic duo, the web as we know it might not exist! 

While JavaScript is an advanced programming language designed to make the web more interactive, HTML is a markup language for laying out the structure of a webpage. 

So what’s the actual difference between HTML and JavaScript? Let’s dig in and discuss the core differences, what each is used for, and how you can go about learning them to build your own websites.

Understand the Difference: JavaScript Vs. HTML

JavaScript is a programming language used to develop games, web applications, and others. The language is famous for adding dynamic features to a webpage, as those features can not be achieved by HTML and CSS alone. 

It is also a scripting language for executing dynamic things on the web. Some of the well-known uses of JavaScript that can be seen on a webpage include a click-to-show drop-down menu and dynamically changing element colors on a page. 

Whereas HTML—an abbreviation for Hyper Text Markup Language—is a language that is used to design and format a webpage. The markup language also enables users to navigate through various pages on the same website. Furthermore, the language uses different tags, known as semantic tags, to structure the whole webpage from the ground up.

While the initial versions of HTML were not the best and lacked a lot of essential tags, the markup language kept improving. The HTML we have today is known as HTML5, and the markup language that is available today offers upgraded traits and APIs, which makes it convenient for web developers to get their desired results on the webpage.

A dash of JavaScript makes your site come to life.

JavaScript uses client-side technology to execute the basic calculations on the browser. This feature can come in handy when a user repeatedly wants to perform specific calculations. 

The language is also helpful in HTML forms as it can authenticate user input for flaws; this saves time. If the user skips an essential field that needs to be filled, JavaScript will catch that field before sending data to the server, making it efficient. 

Whereas HTML uses tags to structure a webpage. These tags are not case-sensitive and are ideal if you are a new programmer. HTML is perfect for beginners since a specific software is not required to use. You can open up a text editor and start typing some HTML. 

JavaScript is nearly as easy to get going. You can open your browser’s console right now and start messing around with it.

JavaScript enjoys an ecosystem full of libraries like jQuery, Lodash, and Animate On Scroll to make it easier to add functionality. Additionally, JavaScript opens the door to learning more advanced technologies like frameworks.

Which To Learn First: JavaScript vs. HTML?

One of the most common questions you will encounter at the start of your web development journey will be related to the order of these languages. Before jumping into other languages like Python or Java, you will want to start at the crossroads of HTML and JavaScript. 

Since the question is, “Which language should I learn first?” the obvious answer is HTML. The hypertext mark-up language is the language you should learn first, as HTML makes up the building blocks of the web. It is incredibly easy to get started. You don’t need to download any packages or additional software. You don’t need to know how to write a function or call an API. All you have to do is write some HTML boilerplate in a text editor and save the file as .html.

A website won’t be very pretty if you try to stick to just HTML. You also won’t get far by hopping straight from HTML to JavaScript. There is a missing link—a key ingredient to make the recipe work. If you’ve come this far, you’ll probably know that I am talking about CSS. CSS is vital for styling a webpage and making it look like something that we would actually consider a website.

Just add JavaScript 

HTML and CSS alone won’t do much. Sure, you can make a beautiful website with just HTML and CSS. Just check out CSS Zen Garden to see what I mean.

Even so, wherever you go on the web today, you’ll see dialogue boxes, popups, floating animations, changing colors, and all sorts of wacky stuff. We call this interactivity.

To make a website interactive, you’ll need JavaScript. In fact, JavaScript is essential if you want to progress beyond making simple websites. The key component in JavaScript is the function. With functions, you can program a set of instructions to execute depending on what your site visitors are doing.

An example of a function in JavaScript is “OnClick”; a code section will be executed when a particular button is clicked. However, you will need HTML to define the button, which is why HTML should be learned first.

Let’s not get hung up on the competition of JavaScript vs. HTML. Instead, how should a beginner go about learning both of them to get better at web development?

Best way to learn HTML and JavaScript?

When it comes to coding, the best way to learn it is by practicing! I know you might have heard this a million times already—practice makes perfect and all that—but it is true. In that case, you could compare it to playing chess; even if you know every rule of the game, if you haven’t played it before, you aren’t can’t consider yourself a pro.

The same phenomenon applies to coding. But with coding, we have so many more resources at our fingertips. Websites like the one you’re on right now can help you along your path to learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. What other websites would I recommend for a beginner to jump in and get some real value from?

Let’s name a few of my personal favorites that helped me.

  1. FreeCodeCamp.org
  2. W3Schools.com
  3. TheOdinProject.com

But Tyler, you only named three sites! Yes. Exactly. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin by learning from too many different sources at once. Start on one and give it an honest effort. You may get bored or discouraged, but you will be overwhelmed much easier if you try to take in knowledge from a million different websites.

Once you’ve grasped the basics, you can also learn coding by watching video tutorials and following along with them. This method is relatively fun and will keep you indulged in web development for hours, but in order for this to work, you must implement what you’ve been shown.

Get Building!

Build your websites from scratch by firing up a text editor or IDE and throwing some code together. Mess around with JavaScript in your browser’s console. Don’t be afraid to break stuff and try new things. 

When I first got started, it felt like I was spinning my wheels with endless tutorials. It wasn’t until I started to build something for myself—no matter how bad it looked—that I really started to learn. It’s even OK to copy code. Copy from video tutorials. Copy from Github. Just make sure you tweak it and try to understand how it works. Before you know it, everything will start coming together, and you’ll see your progress right there on the screen.

FAQs

Difference between HTML and JavaScript?

You can think of HTML as the skeleton, whereas JavaScript is the brain of a webpage. JavaScript adds dynamic content to websites which makes them more functional. In comparison, HTML provides the structure to a website that is static and doesn’t have any interactive features.

JavaScipt vs. HTML: which is easier?

When comparing both languages, HTML is the easier one. It is the easiest language that one can learn. You can learn the basics of HTML within a day or two. However, learning HTML won’t land you a coding job; you would need to learn JavaScript and CSS to make something truly extraordinary. Even then, you are never done learning.

JavaScript vs. HTML: How old are they anyway?

The JavaScript language was invented in 1995 by Brendan Eich. The language was initially created for Netscape 2. However, JavaScript became the ECMA-262 standard in 1997. In contrast, Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first version of HTML in 1993. It’s safe to say both languages have been around for a while!

Is it worth it to learn HTML?

Yes, learning HTML can help you gain a lot of benefits. It is vital in web development settings and can come in handy for non-programmers and professional software engineers alike.

Tyler Von Harz

I am a computer and software nerd. I love working on new projects that involve taking something apart, troubleshooting, coding, writing, or developing. I started my journey down this path as a kid and opened my first computer repair shop at 18. I also own and operate a web development agency and a Youtube channel for coding.

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