HTML and CSS Still Isn’t About Painting with Code

   HTML and CSS Still Isn’t About Painting with Code

The other day I had a friend come to my place with the request to “learn HTML and how web sites work”. We spent a few hours playing with the topic and she got excited and quite far into it. The whole thing reminded me about a real problem when it...

The other day I had a friend come to my place with the request to “learn HTML and how web sites work”. We spent a few hours playing with the topic and she got excited and quite far into it. The whole thing reminded me about a real problem when it comes to teaching people HTML. We keep fast-tracking the learning to the fun part of building visual things with it.

People who started early with the web had platforms that allowed them to quickly publish things. Geocities, Neopets and many others. For many these were the only accessible ways to get on the web and learn about it. These platforms allowed you to write your first HTML and CSS. Without a doubt using platforms that allowed for inline CSS and HTML to style things was an awesome experience. It is fun to game a system and impress your peers with visual tricks they didn’t think possible. It is also fascinating to go on a trial and error journey to get to a goal.

None of that taught us HTML and CSS though. Both are much more than their syntax. It taught us not to understand how the web works, but take any shortcut necessary to get to a certain look and feel. We can’t only blame these platforms for that. WYSIWYG editors and woefully outdated education materials in schools and universities also taught us that HTML and CSS are there to paint in the browser and make something look a certain way.

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