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The Value of Straight Code ...
From NightFly ~* at deadlock Design on 17 June '98

There are many different HTML editors on the market right now. Any one of these editors can create a Web page or Web site. The problems arise when you want to create something that these editors can't understand or you unfortunately choose an editor that automatically installs proprietary code. I can tell you I've tried them all and I always wind up coding the pages by hand eventually.

- "What a waste of time!" -

A large percentage of the population wonder why anyone in their right mind would type in all those codes when an editor will do it in half or even a quarter of the time. Does it really makes a difference? Yes, it does.

There are standards for the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). Web standards are set by the World Wide Web Consortium (http://www.w3.org/). There is currently only one editor on the market (Macromedia's Dreamweaver) that will not interfere with the W3C's standards. Hopefully the next wave of HTML editors will take these standards into consideration. But until then ...

The rest tend to make various mistakes or leave out some vital element. For instance, the majority of HTML editors do not contain literal definitions in quotations. This is common practice among many authors, but the fact is, it's sloppy. Realize that HTML documents have to be read by a machine first. If any machine or application can't read your code, your page's layout will get screwed up.

The biggest mistakes are made with regard to META tags, those fancy codes that allow robots to index the information in your online documents and perform various automated tasks. Meta tags are *very* specific. One misspelled word or a missed quotation mark and the tags are worthless. META tags are vital for listing documents with the search engines. Obviously.

Most editors will also allow you to include special scripts or new HTML codes, but by using them you effectively eliminate a large percentage of your audience. I have nothing against using JavaScript or Active X. I code using the HTML v4.0 standard, JavaScript v1.2 and Cascading Style Sheets v2.0. The trick is to use these tools creatively while accepting the limitations of older applications. You have to consider all of the alternatives and the people who don't care if your banner scrolls or your links flicker.

'Nuff said. ~*

Verify your code the right way. http://validator.w3.org/

Dreamweaver is available from Macromedia. This is not a plug.

I code up all my pages using NoteTab Pro by Eric G.V. Fookes. This is.

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