Why would I write HTML?

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Okay so, for the experienced web designers out there, please excuse my naiveté. This is not my area of expertise.

I'm learning to build a website for a class that I have. Now I have already built my own website using Freeway-- a WYSIWYG program that writes all the code for you behind the scenes-- and it was fun and interesting. But now I have to learn to write HTML in order to build a site in Dreamweaver. Just for fun, I looked at the code for my site and my eyes glazed over.

So, my question is: why in the world would I want to write HTML when Freeway is so **** easy (and fun!). I'm quite certain I'm missing something. Please inform me!

Thank you in advance...
 

pigoo3

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I'm learning to build a website for a class that I have.

But now I have to learn to write HTML in order to build a site in Dreamweaver.

So, my question is: why in the world would I want to write HTML when Freeway is so **** easy (and fun!).

Is this a class project? If so…you have to write in HTML because it's a requirement for the class.:)

This is like a child in elementary school asking…why should I learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division when I have a calculator.;)

- Nick
 
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Is this a class project? If so…you have to write in HTML because it's a requirement for the class.:)

This is like a child in elementary school asking…why should I learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division when I have a calculator.;)

- Nick

LOL, understood. But that's not an answer to my question, which is: why would one want to do that in the real world? Is there some kind of major advantage?
 

pigoo3

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LOL, understood. But that's not an answer to my question, which is: why would one want to do that in the real world? Is there some kind of major advantage?

Two answers:

1. For your class (just like a lot of lessons in school) they want you to learn the basics before moving on to doing things the "easy way". So you understand where things come from.

2. The real world. For probably most users…a website building program is probably the way to go. Just like using a calculator is the way to go (in the real world) when you need to do some calculations.

- Nick
 
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HTML is great to know when "tweeking" a web site. Some things are just better edited in HTML. I do both. Sometimes a quicky web page via HTML is easier than going through the Dreamweaver option and I use it.
 
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HTML is great to know when "tweeking" a web site. Some things are just better edited in HTML. I do both. Sometimes a quicky web page via HTML is easier than going through the Dreamweaver option and I use it.

That makes sense to me, from my currently rudimentary understanding of website design. And I have yet to actually use Dreamweaver so I don't know exactly what is involved.

What do you think of the WYSIWYG applications? Are they just suited to general use but impractical for "advanced" sites?
 
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Two answers:

1. For your class (just like a lot of lessons in school) they want you to learn the basics before moving on to doing things the "easy way". So you understand where things come from.

2. The real world. For probably most users…a website building program is probably the way to go. Just like using a calculator is the way to go (in the real world) when you need to do some calculations.

- Nick

Thanks, I was afraid of that ;)
 
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WYSIWYG editors are a great way to get your feet wet when learning how to create websites, but....

The good thing about learning how to code in html and CSS is the fact that you can understand the code structure of how the web is built.

With that knowledge you can come across a site that has some cool form of feature or formatting and look at the underlying code and say to yourself "that's cool, and that's how they did that". helping you to borrow and adapt the code directly and incorporate it into your own sites.

That's something you cannot easily achieve with a WYSIWYG editor, its the knowledge of code that really gives you the ultimate freedom to go beyond what any one program can do and incorporate the latest and greatest methods into your work
 

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One major factor for writing HTML (and CSS, JS and other web) code manually is for maintanability. If you look at what is generated by these WYSIWYG editors to what a person would write manually, you'll find that the person written code is a lot easier to understand and maintain long term while the former is so much more convoluted than it needs to be and you are stuck relying on the editor to make any changes or troll through pages of code to make simple tweaks..
 
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Thanks louishen and Raz0rEdge!! That's exactly the kind of thing that I'm looking for.

And it brings up something that I'm seeing which is that there is a difference between a 'web designer' and a 'web builder'. I know that many people (most?) do both but I personally am more of a right brain type and I like the design aspect. However, I also appreciate knowing something about the underlying nuts and bolts so this particular class is going to teach me that.
 

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The delineation you make is very similar to the difference between an Engineer and a Programmer. There are many folks who are just programmers in the sense that given a particular task that is fully laid out for them with all the inputs and outputs clearly defined will implement said request in your language of choice. An engineer takes it a step further doing the necessary design, architecture, development, testing, documentation and training for specific features or products as a whole...

Now nothing is to say that a Programmer can't design and an Engineer can't just program..the same goes as you've noted to Web Designers and Builders. However, I've found that good Web Designers tend to be the creative/artsy folks that are much more comfortable prototyping websites in Photoshop or other graphical tools and lets the Builders do the work on converting those designs into functioning websites..
 
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Okay so, for the experienced web designers out there, please excuse my naiveté. This is not my area of expertise.

I'm learning to build a website for a class that I have. Now I have already built my own website using Freeway-- a WYSIWYG program that writes all the code for you behind the scenes-- and it was fun and interesting. But now I have to learn to write HTML in order to build a site in Dreamweaver. Just for fun, I looked at the code for my site and my eyes glazed over.

So, my question is: why in the world would I want to write HTML when Freeway is so **** easy (and fun!). I'm quite certain I'm missing something. Please inform me!

Thank you in advance...

Short answer.. So you actually learn something.. Anyone can use draw some crap up.. But when you need to start making thing compatible over all browsers and work out any bugs that will in fact arise.. You need to know the code.

I use Bluefish. It will help write some of the code for you so you don't spend all day typing.. But you still need to know the code.. Its free and cross platform.. I love it!!

BTW, what happened to Dreamweaver.. It used to be WYSIWYHTG (What You See Is What You Hope To Get)...
 
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Hello Friends!!
Thanks for shearing this useful information..:Sleeping:
 
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Another thing to point out. Is sometimes the WYSIWYG editors will try to create the code for the effect your going for. But the way you want something may not be programmed into the editor yet. Or the way the editor is creating the code is causing issues. You can either just live with it and loose your job because your boss needs someone to actually fix the issue or create the code to make the site look the way he wants it to. Or you can learn the code and fix the issue is normally 5 seconds instead of spending days to work around the issue in the editor. Here is a prime example, I use blogger for my blog and it puts my youtube videos in it, but not the size I want. So since I know the code, I can hop right in and change the size in seconds to make it look the way I want. Another thing is blogger is crazy about how it adds breaks and table. So since I know how to edit both, when it gets crazy and makes things look incorrect, I just hope in and fix it. Hope this sheds better light on the subject.
 
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I've been hand-coding websites for nearly fifteen years. I used FrontPage back in 2000 (yuk) and even Dreamweaver. As a hobbyist WYSIWYG is fine but no self-respecting web designer/developer would allow software to write huge chunks of code for them.

I haven't used it for years but Dreamweaver used to be terrible for adding illegible CSS in the <head>.

WYSIWYG generally produce horrible bloated code and will be more time-consuming should you ever need to make any tweaks. I actually think I'd code faster by hand than using Dreamweaver. That's not to say I'm against software helping me out. I use Mac Rabbit's Espresso as this streamlines your workflow but you still need to code everything. Furthermore, once you start working with JavaScript, a server-side language and a database server (I use PHP and MySQL and mostly jQuery for JS), WYSIWYGs become ever more cumbersome. I'd imagine they're even worse now most sites need to be responsive.

Web pages should be built semantically. The tags you use to mark up the content should describe how the document is structured and all presentation (i.e. your CSS) should be separate from the content.

That said if you enjoy building websites for fun using software then go for it! No reason to hand code if you don't enjoy it. If you do want to give it a go though and can get past the initial learning curve it is very rewarding. The good thing is you can be coding your own websites within a day but still be learning new things after a decade.
 
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I've been hand-coding websites for nearly fifteen years. I used FrontPage back in 2000 (yuk) and even Dreamweaver..


LOL Speaking of FrontPage, OMG that program creates tons of extra code.. Its mind numbing to try to debug, even when your the one who built the page.

These past few years I have really fell in love with Bluefish, lets me do the coding. But can drop in sniplets of code when old age lets you forget something... ;-)
 
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I think a better analogy would be the difference between learning to speak a language and using Google translate throughout. The latter will get your required result most of the time, and for straight forward scenarios, while the former would be required for more complex and custom constructions, and for adding nuance and fixing issues.

In terms of serious web development, most skilled developers will have their HTML generated for them, but not with a WYSIWYG, but rather through scripts and command line tools that have been customized so the developers know excatly what's happening. For them it's about automating simple tasks, not abstracting the process (similar to a simple calculator, where you know what's going on mathematically, but yet chose to use the calculator for sake of speed).
 
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To add to what Yogi brings up...

A CMS (Content Management System) is a great balance between writing code and publishing content if what you're trying to do is write a blog or similar. The CMS is designed to create the actual HTML in a "framework" while your page content is stored elsewhere. When the pages are rendered by the server, the code and content are seamlessly blended on the fly to be transmitted to the user / browser for viewing. They do most of the "heavy lifting" that goes with HTML creation, CSS, and other aspects while you only need to worry about writing the articles that will be displayed. I use MODx CMS for my sites as it's very powerful and not OVERLY complicated to code when I need some custom stuff done.
 

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