9 Sep 2004 prozac   » (Journeyer)

MY Brain Just Doesn't Work Right

I suck at HTML design. I struggle just to keep things from looking stupid.

What there is is a disconnect in my brain between the visual and the technical. I struggled with the concept of nested TABLES--tables within tables within tables--just to acheive things like columns. It was (and still is) difficult for me to visualize what the code would end up looking like. My mind just can't make the transition from code to screen. I would write HTML and it would rarely do what I wanted. And when I did get something I wanted (usually a compromise with what I wanted) I would make one more change only to see everything get completely screwed up.

All the HTML editors I ever used sucked. Well, perhaps they don't really suck, for they just do what they are designed to do. It is just that no HTML editor ever did--ever allowed me to do--what I wanted to do. (I even shelled out $500 for a fancy named commercial editor that turned out to be useless. I have vowed to never buy commercial software ever again--except for games of course.)

Here are a couple of examples of why HTML editors suck.

Images (I went through all this before the "position: absolute" style; perhaps things are better now but I doubt it.) To an HTML editor an image gets placed on the "page" as just another character, a letter, inline with all the other characters of text. You can align the image to the left, the right, up, down. But always it's stuck in the text. Me? I guess I'm just different. My brain just doesn't work like everyone else's or something. For I always wanted to just click an image with the mouse and drag it into position! To me, it was such a simple and obvious thing to do. I mean, that was why I wanted to use an "HTML Editor"! So I did not have to learn HTML to learn how to position images. I expected the editor to do this for me.

It turned out that I had to understand HTML just to get an HTML editor to do what I wanted.

Manual Repetition I once was working on a "news" Website ("look & feel", logos, images, header/footer templates, etc.) where the article summaries came one after the other in a lone table, and every other summary had a light-grey background--a typical thing to do with lots of rows in a table of items. When I wanted to delete or insert one of these article summaries though, the result was two "greys" or two "non-greys" side by side, and to change everything--there was dozens of them--I had to adjust each and every one of the subsequent table rows manually. Arg!

What did other people do? I wondered. Well, perhaps some companies have several Web designers and a bunch of people continuously working day in and out manually updating all their site's content. But just one person? And only several hours a weeks? Hey man, I want to do more than struggle with HTML editors all day!

So I have crappy Websites.


I had a nice dinner with some of my own grown corn and tomatoes. Like having your own hand made tools--for the garden as for the computer--it is better than something store bought.


One of the books I am reading is "From the Eagle's Wing", a biography of John Muir. Muir was an inventor, making complex things like clocks, unschooled, with his own hands out of wood. Of showing some of his inventions at a State Fair, in 1860, the author writes:

"The joys of the small fry, the sly humor and pride of the inventor, the cleverness of the machine, plus the uproarious response of the crowd, made John Muir's invention the great attraction of the hall."

This, at least, I understand.

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