html & css aren't programming (WAS: RE: [thelist] Your top timesaving tips?)

Wil Cone wil at
Thu Sep 18 22:40:44 CDT 2003

Noooo! Not another pedantic "doing X isn't 'real' programming" thread! 

Needless to say, I think the black-and-white proclamation that html/css
isn't (real) programming is an oversimplification of a grey area...

The CSS dynamic pseudo-classes :hover, :active, and :focus constitute a
(limited) sequence of operations to be performed by (a browser).

Furthermore, I would argue that by defining visibility, placement,
z-index, etc., you are in essence working out a sequence of (~one-time)
operations to be performed by the browser...

my two cents,

- Wil

-----Original Message-----
From: thelist-bounces at
[mailto:thelist-bounces at] On Behalf Of David Bindel
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2003 9:40 PM

On Thu, 2003-09-18 at 21:10, Tim Burgan wrote:
> ----- Replied Message -----
> From: "Shawn K. Quinn"
> :
> : Authoring HTML and CSS are not programming any more than writing a 
> text
> : file would be considered programming. Now, OTOH, Perl, C, assembler,
> : Java, Javascript, etc. are programming languages.

According to Merriam-Webster OnLine (



2 : to work out a sequence of operations to be performed by (a
mechanism) : provide with a program
3 a : to insert a program for (a particular action) into or as if into a


HTML has nothing to do with operations or mechanisms; HTML only marks up
(describes) data.

HTML does provide a few attributes so that functionality may be added to
a document, but the actual functionality is not accomplished by HTML.

Therefore, writing HTML is not programming.


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