Web Page as a Medium

I have spent so much time learning to write and also express different ideas on a web page. There has always been this certain appeal for me to websites. It probably all began when I started getting into HTML in 1999 or 2000. So, that’s ages ago. But that is where it this interest started for me.

I was far from a professional. At first I didn’t even study anything related. At the time I was still a student in elementary school. This was even before I went to high school. It started as an interest and a hobby for me. I didn’t think that I would become some sort of professional in this exact field. But that actually happened a bit later. But lets just say that I was sort of free to do whatever I wanted at this time and I also found many interesting subjects in this time in my life. That was also a time when I got deeper into gaming.

So, there has always been an interest for me in designing and programming websites at least at some level. I am still not a seasoned professional. I am still taking those steps toward understanding this form of art and also a very strong medium. Because I think that’s what a web page really is – a medium. There are so many things you can express in a website. It might be a single page application but I myself started with static HTML. I soon got to CSS also.

I started building websites with simple HTML tables. I liked creating different types of interfaces and menus and also logos and headers. That was fun. I liked modifying images and changing how they were colored and represented in a web page. Soon it came to my understanding that tables weren’t a good way, anymore, to design a website. So I learned some newer techniques. I got far. I still stumbled as I encountered something like PHP, MySQL or JavaScript. I understood how powerful they could be but I wasn’t ready to move on to actual programming. I think that would have been too much for me to cope with as I was learning everything on my own with no teachers or other students or even a decent theory book.

I did learn more later. Today, I can create a static website. I still don’t know how to use React deeply and thoroughly. There is still lot to learn. Websites are now fully responsive and can be used with different kinds of tablets and phones and maybe even some other mobile devices. I think the medium is still there. You can write a book on a website. You can play a movie on it. There are several ways to draw content to the screen using your favorite web browser. You can create a game for others to play. And all this is achieved with a certain limit and you don’t have to actually install any other software than just your web browser.

There are many types of browsers available. Microsoft still has its own browser and it is currently called Microsoft Edge. Google has its own web browser. It’s called Chrome. You have also, the descendant of Netscape, Mozilla Firefox, which is very popular. Then there are browsers like Opera and Brave. Web browsers do gather information about you, the user, in form of cookies.

There are countless possibilities in what way you can deploy this medium. The content has to be in a form of HTML and it’s functionality is defined in JavaScript, be it as a framework or vanilla. You can also tune the look and view of your page with CSS. Together these, sort of, languages form a web page. This form is very different from what you have when you write a story. Then you are only using a tool like Word. You have a very limited way to control the content. Then you have complex ways to express your content with a pen or even a brush with a paper. This means actually drawing something. Creating a website is more technical and also more simple way to express some ideas you might have.

Websites keep interesting me a lot even today. I like fiddling around with digital photography and writing stuff. I like also the technical stuff. The programming side is very interesting. I think I have now a grasp of what can be achieved with a web page. I just have to grab myself and start working. There is lots to do and I have lots to achieve, still.

Game Inside a Web Browser

As I first started getting into modern personal computers back in 2000s I first learned HTML. I eventually learned also some CSS. I didn’t learn JavaScript or PHP back then and it seemed like a tough deal for me. I didn’t get into “real” programming in years. It was 2010 when I coded my first tiny applications with Java.

Java is hard to combine with HTML and CSS but learning to code with it helped me to get into JavaScript and also actually PHP later. During my studies I also learned something about MySQL and about databases in general. JavaScript is a versatile language. It can be used in backend (Node.js) or frontend (for example React. You can also use plain JavaScript for frontend).

I actually wasn’t able to combine as effectively as possible my studies and my experiences with HTML and CSS in 2000s. But now it’s 2022 and I can’t help to still be curious about how these things called web browsers handle themselves (or actually, how do they work).

I have been reading a lot about different techniques of how to produce a web application. I don’t have currently a project that I could showcase in job application. I am still learning. I want to learn as much as possible and go through in my mind all this theory that there is. Working with solving different end users problems also helps me to achieve this. It can in best case bring some new knowledge for me. It definitely helps me to develop myself.

But how do things really work inside the browser? Basically you have ways to display shapes that have different colors, texts and images. You can read in the users input from a keyboard or a gamepad. You can ahve commands and buttons that make the user to interact. The possibilities are almost limitless. You can even bring 3D graphics to your web browser.

What can you do, if you find these sorts of things interesting? I would say that building website or two will help you to get started. Don’t set your goal too high. I for example have come up with several different prototypes of games and some of them have been based on JavaScript and HTML and CSS. Start with something small and keep building. It might help if you team up with some talents that can help you with the game, like for example a 3d modeler or a musician.

I would have started to write a paragraph about techniques that you can use when developing a game to be played in a web browser but I think I have already introduced all of them. Having a game inside a browser enables you to play and deliver the game for many platforms. Is there a device, that cannot run a website on it? I think there actually isn’t.

You have so many ways to start building your game that runs on for example Firefox. This might not be your future profession but it sure is a nice hobby. I am saying this because I’ve myself had a ahrd time in trying to be employed as a Full Stack Developer. The competition is tough. But start with HTML, CSS and maybe even JavaScript, and soon you will understand how these things work.

Developing Own Game Using HTML Elements

Let’s go back some years. Actually let’s go back 20 years. In the beginning of 2000s our family bought another electronic device. This time it was a brand new computer. The processor was 400 Mhz. It barely ran some games like Diablo II, Hitman, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and Colin McRae Rally 2.0.

This was a time when HTML was the most popular way to make websites. And websites were definitely more simple than they are today. You could even use some WYSIWYG editor like FrontPage or Dreamweaver. The scene was very different than it is today. Internet was accessed mainly with personal computers screens instead of mobile devices and tablets. CSS was already available but JavaScript was a bit different than it is today. If you had will and skill you could learn something like PHP programming or you could even get into databases.

So this was a time for me to get to know how a web browser basically works. I didn’t get so deep in this topic back then. But I did design some websites. You could say that making websites was my hobby. It took me ten more years to actually apply to study programming. I have been interested in computers for a long time of period. And finally I ended up also working in this field.

If you know some HTML you understand that there are elements, like headers, paragraphs and images. You can interact with the system by clicking links and hovering the mouse cursor over some element. All this is done as you run a website on your web browser. HTML displays the structure of the site, CSS styles, sets the colors of fonts and backgrounds of div elements, and JavaScript handles events and manipulation of the elements presented. All this is done inside the web browser.

There are different web browsers available. Today, they don’t differ form each other that much. Back in the day there were wars between browsers. You had Internet Explorer that understood JavaScript in it’s own way. You had to produce code that could be handled in every browser that existed.

This text is nothing like a tutorial in game development. I decided to write this blog post to give you an idea about how you can approach this topic. You don’t necessarily have to start learning something heavy like C programming or OpenGL. You can start with something like HTML. Some might say that it isn’t a real programming language. And actually it really isn’t. It still provides you some ways to create something that can be used when developing a real game.

You can even use a database in your design. You can also use a JavaScript framework like React or Vue or something like that. Making a website is easy and fun. You can make your website to be a game. If  you don’t think that you would want to make a game that can be run in a web browser you can also find tools for converting your game to a desktop application. Only the sky is a limit in this matter.

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