Challenge #2: Writing HTML by Hand

28 Aug

HTML by hand

Per the second challenge in the P2PU School of Webcraft Webmaking 101 course, I spent about 15 minutes today copying some basic HTML by rote. I haven’t used repetitive writing as a mnemonic in a long time, and I was surprised at how effective it was. I’ve also been thinking about the efficacy of writing (although not necessarily writing any more) thanks to this blog post titled “How to Stop Reading and Start *Doing*” over at Barking Up The Wrong Tree. Spoiler alert: the answer is write more.

Astute observers may notice I went a little above and beyond in my HTML by Hand assignment. I printed the text to copy on my way out the door last night, so that I could do my writing without the temptation of the internet. I failed to notice that what was printed wasn’t exactly what was on the screen. Apparently Chrome (or perhaps the P2PU website?) takes the liberty of adding the destination of a hyperlinked piece of anchor text in parenthesis after the anchor text.* I can totally see this being a feature rather than a bug in most cases, since you lose a lot of information when you print a document that includes a lot of hyperlinks. On the other hand, I ended up copying out the addresses of link the lesson includes to give learners more information about certain web elements.

Having done a little HTML work before, this seemed fishy to me, since the links weren’t surrounded by the usual

<a hef> </a>

but I thought there might be some pedagogical end to justify the means, and so diligently copied all the very similar URLs over and over. I suppose the exercise and later realization did make me think about the loss of information that happens when moving from the web to hard copy. I think In my perfect world, hyperlinks would be added as footnotes or endnotes when a webpage was printed, but including them as parentheticals works pretty well too.

One last thought: i really enjoy the way indentation works to make code legible, and I wish I’d taken the time to use different colors for each tag.

*I’m still new to this terminology, please feel free to offer corrections or clarifying edits.

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8 Responses to “Challenge #2: Writing HTML by Hand”

  1. bbeaty August 29, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    I love the rhythm of writing code. It has been years since I have done it regularly and while I love the ease and speed of using something like, say, wordpress that is more WYSIWYG, I was thrilled this week when I had to slip over to the html side of things to fix some links.

    I think of writing code like many people think of car repair. You don’t need to know how to do it all yourself, but you should know enough to know what the other person is doing and to know how things should and can work.

    Keep up the hackery!

  2. Algot Runeman August 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Enjoy the indents while you can. Use them when you can. They make your own review easier. They also make it much nicer for somebody else to review or modify later. Some of the WYSIWYG tools seem to ignore lots of the benefits of whitespace. Too often I’ve seen something like:

    HelloWorldGreat Web Page

    Now imagine that with a page full of content.

    • Algot Runeman August 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      Whoa! I wasn’t expecting that!
      My fancy run together html code converted to the interpreted code, ruining my whole point. Guess I don’t know WordPress commenting well enough.
      Let’s see if this works..using the &code trick.
      <html><body><p>Web Content</p>><body><html>

      • Algot Runeman August 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

        Yes, well, sort of. Rushed it. forgot the closing slashes and added an extra &gt for >

        Hope you’ll understand my wish to get it right to be helpful.

    • veronicabeaty August 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

      That totally makes sense, and I noticed it in looking at some of my peers’ handwritten html. Am I right in thinking that most (/all?) of the whitespace in code is for the benefit of humans reading the code rather machines parsing the code?

      • Algot Runeman August 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

        That’s my understanding of whitespace. In html, whitespace in the code elements is optional, but use good style, some spacing IS required. <a href= The space between a and href is necessary.

        And, a bunch of spaces after the paragraph code are all ignored.

        Python is one language where indents are required. (maybe elsewhere, too)

  3. amyscoolpc August 30, 2013 at 5:52 am #

    Hi Veronica – I had not noticed this at all. Think I get the gist of it. Thanks for interesting and informative blog. (Nice to see Algot again too)

  4. kendrabookgirl September 10, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Great job of completing this particular challenge. It looks like you really took full advantage of the opportunity to learn by writing. I also have gotten away from using writing as a memorization technique for many years. This exercise also brought back memories of studying for Spanish vocabulary tests back in the day! Continued good luck with your future School of Webcraft challenges.

    -Kendra
    http://kendrabookgirl.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/writing-html-by-hand/

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