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

Ken Schaefer ken at
Fri Sep 19 05:52:41 CDT 2003

From: "Wil Cone" <wil at>
Subject: RE: html & css aren't programming (WAS: RE: [thelist] Your
toptimesaving tips?)

: > Considering that HTML and CSS lack the characteristics of
: > even simplistic programming languages, I don't think it's
: > much of a simplification...
: This seems to me to be somewhat circular logic. To paraphrase:
: HTML/CSS isn't programming because it lacks the characteristics
: of programming.

As long as the characteristics of programming are defined, then it isn't

: I can program a GUI using Java or HTML/CSS - both are "merely" declaring
: style (a visual appearance).

...and this is where I think you are starting to go astray.

You can give someone a GUI using Java, or using HTML/CSS + browser *but*
that doesn't make Java and HTML/CSS the same thing.

I can drive from (a) to (b), or I can catch a bus from (a) to (b), but
saying that catching a bus is the same as driving because the same end can
be accomplished under certain circumstances is a logical fallacy.

HTML is markup. You insert some markup, which gives the text some kind of
"meaning". A browser inteprets that meaning, and as a result may provide
some kind of visual cue, eg <b>This is some bold text</b>

If you think that this is "programming" as the term is commonly understood,
you are mistaken. Even an introductory OOP 101 type class can quickly
disabuse most people of the notion that HTML markup is programming.

I'm *not* trying to suggest that HTML and/or CSS is something "less" than
programming. I'm just arguing that it isn't.


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