Web Development questions

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Total noob here. I'm trying to learn web development over the summer to keep my mind fresh, and I want to know if it's worth continuing learning HTML/CSS, XHTML, and JavaScript. I see a lot of requirements for HTML5, but I don't know if it's a completely different language or if it's like HTML + new features. Also, I've been told PHP is better than JavaScript, but I don't know why. I'd love insight/clarification from all of you. Thanks on advance!

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All web development requires a good working knowledge of HTML.

CSS is a practical helper and quite a time saver when developing or editing a website. You don't need CSS to build good webpages but if you don't use it on a project you will be kicking yourself later.

Javascript is essential to modern webpages. You need to learn this language to have interactive websites. Nobody pays for websites that aren't interactive anymore. Javascript code is run in the web browser on the client side.

PHP is a server side language - it's not processed in your browser. It's not a part of a webpage but it's the best way for a webpage to interact with a webserver. If you need to run complex, secure or repetitive tasks on a webpage PHP is much more effective, universal and quick than depending on a users web browser to run the code. PHP is often where the magic happens. If you want to succeed in web work you need some magic.

HTML 5 is just HTML with a few more commands added. HTML 5 is not new nor is it a replacement for earlier versions of HTML. HTML 5 depends on javascript and CSS to work. HTML 5 is a function of the user's browser. Some web browsers can run some HTML 5 features well, others not so much. HTML 5 really isn't any different than the earlier HTML versions with the exception of the addition of local storage to the web browser and the ability to display and manipulate SVG data. Local storage is a good thing for web developers but it creates a security hole for the end users. For the most part local storage has not caught on with developers because it doesn't always work as expected in different web browsers.

XHTML is a joke from the past. It was an early effort to merge XML and HTML into one language. For the most part it has been abandoned except in some old microsoft programs. There are many variants that have been proposed through the years but basic HTML, CSS and Javascript along with improvements in web browsers have made XHTML irrelevant.

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