In this article I am going to answer the question as to whether or not we need to learn HTML. This rather long answer will surprise you, but hopefully by the article’s end you will understand why. See, this isn’t an easy question to answer and there are many points of view.
First of all, HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a sort of programming language that allows us to view web pages on the Internet. Without HTML everything we read would be simple plain text and very dull to look at. HTML opened up a new world when it was created, one that we sometimes take for granted, not just in the viewing of content online, but in the creation of that content itself.
In the early days of HTML, if you wanted to design a web page, you were pretty much limited to notepad and your imagination. There were no HTML editors. You went to school, learned the language and then plodded your way through coding it. It was tedious to say the least and not many were really good at it.
The first HTML editor was Nexus, which was actually an editor-browser. It was written by Tim-Berners Lee in Object C. It was primitive by today’s standards but at least it made it so that you didn’t have to type in HTML code by yourself from scratch.
As the years went by, many editors have come and gone. The most popular today are Front Page, a Microsoft product, and Dreamweaver, written by Macromedia. Both products are excellent. Both have their good and bad points and both pretty much do EVERYTHING for you as far as HTML coding.
So then why bother to learn HTML? One very compelling reason and the only one you need.
Because editors are NOT perfect and CAN’T do everything. They make mistakes. They add in unnecessary code. They crash and the list of annoying things goes on and on. The bottom line is this. You are going to run into a situation where the editor you are using does NOT give you the results you’re looking for. Then what do you do?
If you don’t know HTML you have 2 options. Live with what the editor gives you or go find somebody who does know HTML and hope he doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for fixing your code.
Or, there is a third option.
You will kiss the ground a million times over for doing this. The table on your web page that isn’t exactly lined the way you want. You can go in and tweak the width, height and alignment settings. That href tag that isn’t the right URL. You can go in and fix it without screwing up your code to the point where your link points to nowhere at all. Trust me when I say this. The time you spend learning HTML, which can be a little daunting I admit, will save you TONS of heartache when designing your next web page with that fancy editor that seems to have a mind of it’s own. In my next article I’m going to cover some HTML tips that will make your life a lot easier when designing web pages.