What is a Website?


  • When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 20th
  • Where: MIT 9-251
  • Instructor: Ben Golder, MCP2 (email)
  • Description: A two-hour crash course on the basics of websites aimed at urban planning students. We will discuss: whether you should make your own website or “just pick some template thing”; The essentials of HTML, CSS, and Javascript; what servers, webhosts, and domain names are; the difference between a website and a web application; common free and paid options for making websites; a hands-on process of making and editing your own basic website; how to put things onto a website; and resources for further learning.
  • Prerequisites: Confusion and curiosity about websites. Also, check the section “Before the Workshop” below for tips on how to prepare and get the most out of this workshop.

Before the Workshop

In order to follow along with the hands-on portions of the workshop, you should do the following things before you arrive. If you have trouble with these, feel free to email the instructor, Ben Golder.
  • Make a folder on your computer that you can use for the workshop
  • Download the workshop materials here, unzip them, and put them in your special folder.
  • Download and install one of the following text editing softwares if you don’t already have one. In the workshop, you will use one of these to edit and write HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Once you install it, you should try to use it to open and browse the course materials in advance.
    • Sublime Text – (Windows, Mac, or Linux) One of the most popular and well-loved text editors around. Free to download and use, but will occasionally show a pop-up window if you don’t purchase it. This is what I’ll be using during the workshop
    • Brackets – (Windows, Mac, or Linux) A newer, free open source code editor.
    • Notepad++ – A solid and reliable text editor for Windows. Free.
    • TextWrangler – A free text editor for Mac only.
    • DreamWeaver – Adobe’s software for making basic websites. This is not free generally, but many MIT students already have it installed. This software can sometimes make simple tasks far more complicated than necessary. Not recommended, but if you already have it and you don’t want two install anything else, I will grudgingly acknowledge that it will work just fine for the workshop.