Welcome to the MDN learning area. This set of articles aims to provide complete beginners to web development with all that they need to start coding simple websites.
The aim of this area of MDN is not to take you from "beginner" to "expert" but to take you from "beginner" to "comfortable". From there you should be able to start making your own way, learning from the rest of MDN and other intermediate to advanced resources that assume a lot of previous knowledge.
If you are a complete beginner, web development can be challenging — we will hold your hand and provide enough detail for you to feel comfortable and learn the topics properly. You should feel at home whether you are a student learning web development (on your own or as part of a class), a teacher looking for class materials, a hobbyist, or someone who just wants to understand more about how web technologies work.
Important: The content in the learning area is being added to regularly. If you have questions regarding topics you'd like to see covered or feel are missing, see the Contact us section below for information on how to get in touch.
Where to start
- Complete beginner: If you are a complete beginner to web development, we'd recommend that you start by working through our Getting started with the web module, which provides a practical introduction to web development.
- Specific questions: If you have a specific question about web development, our Common questions section may have something to help you.
- Beyond the basics: If you have a bit of knowledge already, the next step is to learn HTML and CSS in detail: start with our Introduction to HTML module and move on to our Introduction to CSS module.
Note: Our glossary provides terminology definitions.
Random glossary entry
- Mobile First
- Mobile first, a form of progressive enhancement, is a web-development and web-design approach that focuses on prioritizing design and development for mobile screen sizes over design and development for desktop screen sizes. The rationale behind the mobile-first approach is to provide users with good user experiences at all screen sizes—by starting with creating a user experience that works well on small screens, and then building on top of that to further enrich the user experience as the screen size increases. The mobile-first approach contrasts with the older approach of designing for desktop screen sizes first, and then only later adding some support for small screen sizes.
The following is a list of all the topics we cover in the MDN learning area.
- Getting started with the web
- Provides a practical introduction to web development for complete beginners.
- HTML — Structuring the web
- HTML is the language that we use to structure the different parts of our content and define what their meaning or purpose is. This topic teaches HTML in detail.
- CSS — Styling the web
- CSS is the language that we can use to style and lay out our web content, as well as adding behavior like animation. This topic provides comprehensive coverage of CSS.
- Accessibility — make the web usable by everyone
- Accessibility is the practice of making web content available to as many people as possible regardless of disability, device, locale, or other differentiating factors. This topic gives you all you need to know.
- Web Performance — making websites fast and responsive
- Web performance is the art of making sure web applications download fast and are responsive to user interaction, regardless of a users bandwidth, screen size, network, or device capabilities.
- Tools and testing
- This topic covers the tools developers use to facilitate their work, such as cross browser testing tools.
- Server-side website programming
- Even if you are concentrating on client-side web development, it is still useful to know how servers and server-side code features work. This topic provides a general introduction to how the server-side works, and detailed tutorials showing how to build up a server-side app using two popular frameworks — Django (Python) and Express (node.js).
Getting our code examples
The code examples you'll encounter in the Learning Area are all available on GitHub. If you want to copy them all to your computer, the easiest way is to download a ZIP of the latest master code branch.
If you'd rather copy the repo in a more flexible way that allows for automatic updates, you can follow the more complex instructions:
- Install Git on your machine. This is the underlying version control system software that GitHub works on top of.
- Sign up for a GitHub account.
- Once you've signed up, log in to github.com with your username and password.
- Open your computer's command prompt (Windows) or terminal (Linux, macOS)
- To copy the learning area repo to a folder called learning-area in the current location your command prompt/terminal is pointing to, use the following command:
git clone https://github.com/mdn/learning-area
- You can now enter the directory and find the files you are after (either using your finder/file explorer or the cd command).
You can update the
learning-area repository with any changes made to the master version on GitHub with the following steps:
- In your command prompt/terminal, go inside the
cd. For example, if you were in the parent directory:
- Update the repository using the following command:
If you want to get in touch with us about anything, the best way is to drop us a message on our learning area discourse thread or IRC channels. We'd like to hear from you about anything you think is wrong or missing on the site, requests for new learning topics, requests for help with items you don't understand, or any other questions or concerns.
If you're interested in helping develop/improve the content, take a look at how you can help, and get in touch! We are more than happy to talk to you, whether you are a learner, teacher, experienced web developer, or someone else interested in helping to improve the learning experience.
- Mozilla developer newsletter
- Our newsletter for web developers, which is a great resource for all levels of experience.
- Web demystified
- A great series of videos explaining web fundamentals, aimed at complete beginners to web development. Created by Jérémie Patonnier.
- A great interactive site for learning programming languages from scratch.
- Basic coding theory and practice, mainly aimed at children/complete beginners.
- Free and open courses for learning tech skills, with mentorship and project-based learning
- Interactive site with tutorials and projects to learn web development.
- Web literacy map
- A framework for entry-level web literacy & 21st Century skills, which also provides access to teaching activities sorted by category.
- Teaching activities
- Hundreds of free interactive coding challenges in various languages.