Handwackin' HTML

In Hindsight

I wrote this article when the camp was divided between "purists" who insisted on writing their HTML in a text editor. I was once one of those, however working with the applications of that time made me realise that my time was better spent on the looks of the page, rather than the code.
I must say that the tools of yesteryears were quite elaborate considering how little time HTML had been around for. I really enjoyed working with FrontPage98, FP97 was quite bad, and FP2000 underlined the dummy approach, so I stopped using FP and turned to Dreamweaver (version 2 if I remember) which was a completely different "kettle of fish". Since that time I've not bothered writing HTML by hand if I can avoid it. Unfortunately when the web applications get more complex, the HTML editors lag behind. It's very hard for an application to realise the modularity of an XSL template, but one day, maybe.
Anyway, without further ado, here you go, a "classic" from 1999-01-10. Have a laugh!

Every day I hear persons dizzin' FrontPage, DreamWeaver and associates. They whine about those programs doing bad homepages, mostly they whine about those apps doing bad code. I know, I used to do the same.
I remember a very hot discussion with a cool snowboarder pal of mine. I had just whacked this 'amazing' homepage of mine. In notepad (used to use pico,...).
I was very proud n stuff... Now, the snowboarder d00d convinced me to try an app called FrontPage, and by M$ on top of that. He told me that, 'Any page you do, I promise I do it in 10% of the time' or something like that...
He was right, Hagge, you were so 100% right, public-apology!
Since that day, I try to use as much non-hand-whacked-code as possible.
The main issue is not pretty code, it is pretty pages! Get it? Not good lookin' cars, but fast cars.
Not fast hardware, fast computers. Not fast women, but a cool wife.

Suddenly a few peopel got paid to do homepages, some of them did a few cool ones, and then they were called gurus and, as gurus do, for some reason, they started criticizing other peoples work. They started handing out awards, just like the darn Academy Awards.
Now, of course, I like the idea of awards, I'll gladly accept any award (even the worst site of the day hehe). But don't you think the award guys should know what a homepage is before they start handing out awards? Don't you think that they should look a bit deeper than the first page? Shouldn't they consider some compatibility issues?
Well, the fact is, most of them don't care about that. As long as you know Photoshop, smack up a cool first page with Mac-safe colors (most of the 'artistic-award-guys' use MacOS, dunno why...) you got yourself a cool award.
Many creators think that they need absolute power control, well, that's not the web, dudes. Wake up n smell the pixels! Well, anyway, they still think that, so, when their skills doesn't cover HTML, but they know Photoshop, they think, 'oooh, thank god for T1 hookups, imagemaps and tables'. So, they design the whole site in Photoshop, charge the customers up the a*5e for updating the site, and make visitors wait a very long time for a few fancy images.
So, in comes the guru-i-am-cool-web-award-dude, sitting on his corporate T1 hookup. As a former designer, he knows how hard the HTML part is, and gladly accepts that the page loads in 15 seconds (normal ppl, like you and me, have to wait 90 seconds for the same page). And, the award dude thinks, 'Wow, nice colors, very well used Photoshop here....' *BANG* the award goes out!
So (with a slightly pissed attitude), what about the guys that master HTML, accept it, make functional pages that works for all visitors in all ages despite of the browser version? On top of that, the pages load in a flash! What about us? We whack a page, make it visible in all browsers, without any JavaScript error messages, make it load in less than 20 seconds, with a 14.4 modem, make a GUI that works for all visitors, and that is easy to maintain. How about us? Where are our awards?

Starting to sink? No, OK, I'll go on...

It's all about time, ask anyone who has some responsibility for what they do. It's time. Time is money, due to the fact that the more you do in a period of time, the more money your company will get, the more money you will get, the more money you will have, the cooler wife/computer/bike/car/boat
you will have (strike the non-wanted) (BTW, I got an extremely pretty 'wife', my computer is pretty fast, my bike will be the fastest, the car works fine...).

So, it's finally sinkin' in....

OK, so where's the beef? Why won't you WYSIWYG-pages? Well, mostly, like HTML, it is the problem that you don't master your tool. I'm pretty sure that every on-hand-html-proggie-coder thinks their program is coolest, just coz they know their program, not the competitions program(s). As it was with me, I knew HTML inside-out, upside-down, in-my-sleep, but of course, I didn't know FP, so of course FP sucked!
So, I took a huge bite of the sour apple n started workin in FP, as much as I could. It hurt at first, oooooh it hurt. FP just raped my pretty code. I hated it, I swore at my pal. (All good things come to an end, hehe), Finally, I got to know the program, I kinda liked it, it really did the things I wanted it to do, and it did it well, as long as I behaved!
But, the largest surprise was the speed, I did a small site in one week, something that would have taken months n months in notepad! I did another site, in less than one week, evenings thatis, not much time, but I did it, a complete makeover. OOh, I was fast. A site with applets n scripts n stuff, in one week. And no debugging!! Beat that in notepad!!

On to another similar issue....

PostScript, yaih, a language to describe a pages layout for the printer. Used for a long time, extremely cool. In the early days of PostScript people actually hand hacked PostScript. For Linux there still are software available that allows you to hand code PostScript, dudes, dudettes, HTML will be the same. Nobody will handcode HTML in the near future, trust me on this one. Jump on the wagon as soon as you can! The new wagon is faster, just as accurate and gets the job done, your boss smiling and your customers paying - the future!
Sure, I know, that if you want to code the latest scripts, the latest html-tags, the latest DHTML, the latest latest, you have to use Notepad or something similar, but do you have to? Really, do you? (and if you do, DW2 does it splendidly, so will FP2000! Notepad won't correct your code!)'