How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Code

I am gave a brief lightning talk at April’s WordPress DC Meetup on the basics of HTML and PHP (“coding for dummies”). The goal: learn how to avoid breaking your website if you edit it. Below are the slides.

The Cliff’s Notes are

  • The process

    • The server executes PHP and outputs HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.Screenshot of the presentation showing the relationship between server, browser, and user
    • The user’s browser takes that output and renders a visual representation of the page
  • Client-side Languages

    • HTML – Static (unchanging) content; provides structure
    • CSS – Provides style and form
    • JavaScript – Provides interactivity
  • PHP – Wrapped with “php” and “?>

    • Variable - Text, a number, true/false, or a group of variable; identified by “$
    • If Statement – performs an action if a statement is true
    • While Loop – performs an action while a statement is true
    • For / Foreach – combines elements of while and if
    • Functions – predefined set of actions; always followed by “( )
    • Don’t forget semicolons

Thanks to all who came out or tuned into the live stream. Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear your thoughts below or feel free to contact me.


Named one of the top 25 most influential people in government and technology and Fed 50’s Disruptor of the Year, described by the US Chief Technology Officer as one of “the baddest of the badass innovators,” and winner of the Open Source People’s Choice Award, Ben Balter is a Product Manager at GitHub, the world’s largest software development network. Previously, Ben served as GitHub’s Government Evangelist, leading the efforts to encourage government at all levels to adopt open source philosophies for code, for data, and for policy development. More about the author →

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