HTML, My old friend…
Well, I think Codecademy, whose introductory lessons on HTML and CSS we went through in my Digital Methods class last Wednesday, might be my new fixation. I’ve known about CodeAcademy for a while, but the step-by-step instructions, the color-coded text in the command panel, the instant gratification when you successfully implement a line of HTML—I’m a fan!
To some extent, the HTML introduction was a refresher to me; I had a Geocities page back in the day and took a lot of pleasure in changing the font colors on my hideous website. Even now, I use HTML when editing pages on Canvas—I’ll try to do something fancy in the rich text editor, and then I’ll have to fix it in the HTML view. But I’ll admit that my approach to it has always been very piecemeal, without much consideration of the overall logic of it. Going through the steps of the intro gave a more systematic understanding of how the tags are grouped and arranged in hierarchies. It also was a helpful reminder of how necessary it is to read carefully, because misplaced punctuation marks or imprecise attempts at following the instructions threw the whole thing off for me a few times!
CSS, on the other hand, was completely new to me. I knew, theoretically, that it existed, because I’d seen references to it, but I didn’t really understand what it was or how it was connected to HTML. It was a little sad to be told that inline CSS editing was rather out of date, because it was all new to me! But I did take away a few points that I think will be helpful down the line. The first is that I really don’t have to edit aspects of a web page bit by bit, but can lay out a kind of guide to the style of the whole page. The second is that I’ve been working with a really limited toolset in HTML—labeling text as italic or bold, inserting hyperlinks, and…not much else. These two tutorials really impressed on me how many more instructions I can actually give to a computer, and how detailed they can really get. I don’t know when I’ll find the time for it, but I definitely want to spend more time with these tutorials and learn more.