RE: best approach to learning HTML...

Subject: RE: best approach to learning HTML...
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Sep 2005 10:36:44 -0400

Hiking Nut asked...

> >
> > Can someone give me their opinion on this? I've heard from a few
> > people that as a tech writer, it's good to know HTML. My question is
> > this - is it better to start off learning how to code manually, then
> > start using a "real" HTML editor like Dreamweaver, or is it best to
> > just use something like Dreamweaver from the start?
> >
> > thanks,
> >
> > Andy

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I taught software classes on
Basic to advanced HTML coding. This was before JAVA, PERL, and the other
more advanced XML languages were "invented" (or at least before I was
aware of their existence) and before the advent of editors like
Dreamweaver, FrontPage, and other XML authoring tools. We just used
NotePad, Internet Explorer, and Netscape Navigator (to show students how
the same code could look different in two different browsers and how to
"optimize" for the best looking results across both of them--these two
were the only choices you had back then unless you had cobbled together
your own browser in your mother's basement like some cyberspace Thomas
Edison or Orville Wright).

IMO it is better to learn how to roll up your sleeves and write the code
yourself first. Then (as a couple of others have mentioned) when you
run across some goofy error in a page you are documenting or trying to
create for an online help application, you can view the source and
you'll have a _better_ chance of understanding where the problem is. Now
unless you are a hardcore web developer who writes content in your sleep
you probably won't be as proficient as your SMEs, but you stand a better
chance of figuring out what's going on behind the scenes if you learn to
code "in the raw" instead of letting some GUI / WYSIWYG tool like
Dreamweaver do it for you. Just my $0.0147392865, adjusted for

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