It Takes Some Work To Look This Good

Nope.  Not fashion tips from me, that’s for sure.

It’s not about the new theme that I’m trying out for the blog – not sure I like it yet but will continue to give it a try.

It’s about yesterday’s post.  It took forever to write.  Actually, that’s not completely correct.  It took forever to make it look the way that it did.

I often think back to the first webpages that I created.  We used the Text Editor in Windows to code the whole thing in HTML (HyperText Markup Language).  I still remember the comment from a music teacher who dropped by to ask me what I was doing.  When I showed/explained it to her, I still remember her comment “Why work with all that gobbly-gook?”  I thought it so bizarre coming from her with her world of dotted eighth notes and treble clefs and …  But, I let it drop; I knew this was a glimpse into the future and surely better tools would be coming.  And, of course they did.

In my time at OSAPAC, we licensed Dreamweaver and things were a great deal better.  Today, we live in a world where we can edit things online or with a tool should we choose to.  I’ve used a bunch – Bloglio, LiveWriter, Qumana, … , even composing in the WordPress editor itself.  My current favourite tool is Scribefire which is an addon to the web browser.  All of these are great tools but the elevator doesn’t necessarily go to the top floor.

In yesterday’s post, I had this wonderful list.

It seemingly took forever to create.

Each bullet point actually had up to three things in it.  One was a link to the Twitter account, the second was a link to the most recent blog post, and the third, optional link, was to an interview if there was one.  You’ll note that the blog post was bolded as well.

There were, from my perspective, a number of ways to do this.

First, there’s the scribe method.  You know – type the text, highlight it, add the link, add the bolding, and then move on to the next item.  Just the prospect of eyeballing that and doing it seemed to be daunting so I opted for a second option.

Copy / Paste.  After all, if we weren’t meant to do that, we wouldn’t have a mouse with a right mouse button.  Here’s what it looked like.

Talkin’ ‘Bout Our Origins as Bloggers

eBooks – product or service?

Hugs … And The Words That Followed Them!

When Empathy Isn’t Easy

Oral Presentation Descriptive Feedback

I Hate the Pyramid

#OneWord

Kids Learn Computer Code in Class to Help With Problem Solving @thecurrentcbc

Showing Understanding of Where things are Located #fsl

and that’s just the blog title.  So much for standards!

One thing that all web authoring tools is a link back to the good ol’ days of HTML!

The results aren’t for the faint of heart.

Because all of these wonderful authors had used different blogging platforms, there were various bits and pieces of the code that were brought over.  You can see references to a header <h 1> or <h 3>, details about the class used, and Jamie’s post even included the actual link to her post.  We know that HTML tags are opened and closed so you also see the corresponding </h 1> or </h 3>

In reality, I wanted it all formatted the same way with the resulting content looking like this.

<li><a href=”https://twitter.com/royanlee”>@royanlee</a&gt; – <strong><a href=”http://royanlee.com/?p=4334&#8243; rel=”bookmark”>Talkin’ ‘Bout Our Origins as Bloggers  </a></strong><a href=”http://royanlee.com/?p=4334&#8243; rel=”bookmark”>- my<strong>  </strong></a><a href=”https://dougpete.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/an-interview-with-royan-lee/”>interview with Royan</a></li>

So, in effect, I still wanted/needed HTML tags – but on MY terms, not theirs!

Fortunately, I had the HTML knowledge to edit out the formatting from the pasted content and then go back to the editor and add my own for consistency.  I had other options as well.  I could have used a browser that offered a “paste as plain text” or to toggle in and out of the editor where it just pastes plain text.  The geeky side of me just took delight in doing the text editing so that’s what was done.

There were a few other places where a knowledge of HTML came into play.  At the top of the post, you’ll note that I had included the Twitter message from Donna Fry.  Twitter provides the raw code for it; you just have to place it into the editor via HTML.  I also like to have a horizontal rule between each blog I reference and oddly enough, Scribefire doesn’t have a click to insert one but flipping into text allows for a <h r>.  When I’m done with a post, I always preview it to make sure that it looks good.  In particular, I’m looking for images that are the right size and fit within the margins.  How often have you seen a blog post with images that just sprawls outside the lines like it had a mind of its own?  That’s easily adjusted if you take it into the image editor or you know what “width=”783″ height=”455″” will do to your <  img src >.

While the tools that we have at our fingertips are better than they ever have been, there are still times when you have to lift the hood and do a little tweaking.

What does this mean for students?  Is there room for learning a little HTML to perfect their masterpieces?  There’s nothing to be afraid of and there’s a real sense of satisfaction knowing that you have the ultimate control over things.

There may come a day when it’s not necessary, but we’re not there just yet.

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2 Replies to “It Takes Some Work To Look This Good”

  1. Doug,

    Another great post. I do thibk not all kids do need to code. They can publish to the web using WYSIWYG editors or using deprecated web publishing tools like Google Sites.

    However if we want students networking and publishing on the Open Web and not in silos they need to know html/css.

    It is also a tool writers use to establish capital with the audience.

    I haven’t tried teaching kids to use Markdown. I frankly don’t see the efficiency gains but those smarter than me swear by it.

    Like

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