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Make Your Life Easier

By Shane Jester, Campus Web Administrator

I'm going to step on my soapbox; something I don't do that often.  I recently had a web developer make a comment to me about how they view content creation and design.  Loosely quoted:  "I don't use tools like FrontPage.  I prefer to do all my HTML by hand in a text editor." 

The funny thing is, I had the same philosophy about six years ago. However, I realized at some point that this "philosophy" is not only a little arrogant, but also a huge waste of time. I do believe that you need a very good knowledge of HTML, CSS, javascript, SQL, usability concepts, and probably several different scripting languages to be a good, professional web developer. However, I don't believe that you have to write all the code by hand to prove your knowledge. 

In the end, you're only proving your knowledge to yourself.  The end-user doesn't know that you hand-code and more importantly, they don't care.  They are only interested in the end-product.  The web editing software packages today and very powerful, timesaving tools that allow you to create a web framework in a matter of minutes.  Why waste your time typing tedious <TR><TD></TD></TR> for every column of a table, when you can do it with one click and drag of the mouse? Furthermore, any decent editing package today gives you the ability to view the html in-line to allow you to make subtle changes to your code if necessary. 

Even free software packages are often better alternatives to editing everything via a text-editor. So instead of spending your time typing out all the code, spend your time doing research on usability and good design techniques. I guarantee that it will lead to a much better website than being concerned about showing off your skills, or that the HTML is not "clean".


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