<HTML>okay, I always knew it existed. I mean, Netscape really blew me away, clickable links and all. It just took a while to sink in. There are fundmental preconditions to communicating in any language, before you can express yourself you need a basic level of fluency. For me and html, this took a long long time.
I remember a few years back trying to make a webpage. BBEdit seemed up for the task (and certainly is today). I was trying to get something centred. Maybe four or five hours later, there I am, still trying to get one bloody passage of bloody text bloody centred! Four hours, minimum. I tried all sorts, everything. In my mission to discover the secret-of-centering I uncovered all kinds of tags, stuff I'd never use again, for sure. All in vain; the text remains hard-left. Look at me, banging my head off the desk, swearing and shouting at the poor wee Mac IIsi, "FUCKING CENTRE WILL YOU!!!!". Nada. Shouting at computers rarely works.
Now watch me kick myself: In English, centre isn't spelled "er", that's some Yankie thang. Here it's "re". I swap the two letters, <center>, all is middled. Swap i for u and you have me. I gave up html for a while after that, though I certainly did retain some of that development process, a chaotic, live approach to web building; suck-it-and-suck-it-and-suck-it-and-see.
I've tried other methods, fancy "web creation packages" (I just made that term up - I wont mention any names), but they all sucked, and still do, for me there's nothing quite like getting into the nuts and bolts of stuff. I need to see the code. There's really no excuse when it comes to plain text.
The next time I needed HTML was for someone else, I'd been a bit drunk at a party and this dude says he's trying to do a web page but can't figure out how to- sucker for a challenge, I steps in..
But this time I looked Very Carefully at the exact letters, the alpha's and numerals. I figured out his pages pretty quick, and started to code a few of my own, simple stuff. And things were clicking into place now, elements forming before my eyes. Yes! That's it! That's the thing that thrills me to this day! To tweak a digit, a tag, some code, click the browser's refresh: change, instantly; creating an instant visible change in this virtual universe we know as "web site".
Suddenly I was all possibility. Here was the perfect medium to represent all media. My love of text, sorted; images, photography, music; yes! All was possible, is possible with a web site. That's why we are all snapping up this real-estate. Have you got your piece yet?
With the advent of smart server-side languages like php, the level of the human interface has shifted. Applications are moving online. My image galleries at home are run using the very cute Qdig, or at least, something very close to it. If you have an OS X or Linux (or anything except windows) server somewhere, you can simply chuck the index.php into the top folder of images and point your web browser at it, and be amazed!
It was almost exactly what I wanted, now it is. And that's the real evolution of all this html business; if you don't like something about the way the page, the application works, you can easily go in and change it, customise it, make it your own, well, fairly easily.
Now that it's the holidays and I'm supposed to be taking it easy (of course your machine will be ready for Christmas!), and my ISP migration process has started, I'm on the wretched dial-up; surely the subject for a blog in itself (only a couple of weeks *sigh*); so I thought I might spend some time looking at the code on the local copy of the site, the basic stuff, stuff I've been in too much of a hurry to get "just so". It worked, ya know..
It's like a good book; every time you come back to it, it's different, changed. Of course, in both cases, it's you that's doing the changing, except with the html and php and css and xlm and whateverturnyourwebpagesonbaby, it's active, dynamic, immediate. I don't read as many books these days, for that very reason.
The rewards may be higher with "life's lessons", increased wellbeing, calmer, relaxed outlook, sense of knowing, and all the rest, but with web coding you make the changes all-at-once, right now, and the results come right back at you. Like watching the children of extended relatives grow, in leaps.
So I cleaned up the code, and learned a few wee tricks in the process, saved some server space, not to mention bandwidth, and made the world a better place in some, albeit small, way. Yesterday I helped an old lady across the road. Which would you rather see?
Gonna have a beer now.