Just bad

During our chat on This Week in Ontario Edublogs, Stephen brought back a memory from a long, long time ago.

In schools, we were working hard to create websites. Everyone and every school just had to have one. In the beginning, our creations were nowhere near the glitzy fancy stuff that we see today.

We were truly crossing the bridge as we were building it. Nobody had taken a course in HTML, or the latest, CSS. We had books that gave us summaries of what each instruction did. If we were browsing the web and we saw something cool, we would do a “reveal codes” and check out the code behind the scenes that made the magic happen.

We truly were learning as we went.

Then, there were some of us who were learning enough to do a workshop for others to crank out their own web presence by the end of a two hour session.

Looking back, those workshops were incredibly popular. Everyone wanted to do things. Since we only had a couple of hours, we used the wisdom that content was better than looks. (Looks took more than two hours to master although many did put the time in)

Anyway, the web being as critical as it is had plenty of people monitoring the blood, sweat, and tears of others. Stephen brought back one of the mainstays “Web Pages That Suck“. During the show, I made a mental note to check it out. Stephen doesn’t like typing during a show; it’s too annoying.

Anyway, unlike many mental notes that I’ve made in the past, I actually remembered this one and did track it down. The domain is still registered although the content seems to have stopped in 2015.

Design is still a content though. I do have to smile; some of the content there reminds me of some of the things that students enjoyed creating.

Lest I be accused of throwing stones, I went back, way back, using archive.org to 2002 and took a screen capture of a site that I created and managed. I even had badges at the bottom. Everyone of consequence had badges. Everyone of consequence had something on their website done in Flash which, while the rage at time, is no longer supported!

Even older was this from 1999.

Of course, these days, we would be too embarrassed to turn out stuff like this but it was cutting edge and a demonstration of learning for us at the time.

These days, people don’t hard code websites from scratch much. Everyone has moved to content management systems like WordPress or Google Sites or any of the other powerful tools that make you look great without sitting down and coding from scratch.

Oddly enough, coding with HTML hasn’t gone away. I read recently that some people teaching the Grade 11 College course are using HTML to teach some of the content.

Actually, it was kind of fun looking back and so I thank Stephen for the nudge.

Aren’t you glad that the web matured and we have the tools that we have today?

Have you ever looked back on your first creations and shake your head wondering what you were doing?

4 thoughts on “Just bad

  1. It looks like I crated my first school page in 1997 and honestly I feel ok about it. I took the time to render the program of studies in HTML rather than take the easy way out and posting a PDF. I hate when people think PDFs are a good way to do that sort of thing.

    The earliest copy of my personal home page in the wayback machine is 1996. The first time was not very good at all. It got better pretty quickly I think.

    I’d used some HTML before that but not posted it to the internet. I was on the WWW a few months after it was created and before most people had internet access. In the beginning, most home pages were actually lists of hyperlinks to pages we wanted to visit regularly. Web browsers didn’t support favorites back then.


  2. Pingback: OTR Links 02/21/2021 – doug — off the record

  3. Doug, I meant to comment on this post yesterday and completely forgot. I remember first experimenting with a little HTML coding when I was in charge of a school website many years ago now. For more years than I can count, our Board moved to a standard website design. You can add content, but not change the appearance. Even the font is standard. I wonder how many other Boards have done the same. I wonder if some of these changes have people tinkering less with design than they might have in the past. I’ve never been great with coding, but the few things that I learned about HTML have been lost these past 5+ years. Do we need to keep working with these skills so as not to lose them? Hmmm …



  4. Pingback: My Week Ending 2021-02-21 – doug — off the record

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