The magic of the Code


April 21, 2011 by readlisaread

This is the first-in-a-while post that actually is All about IT, and the Code in question is HTML.   I often tell people that I am a funny kind of a geek.  I was a very, very late adopter with regards to owning a computer, venturing out onto the Internet, learning to email and instant message and text.  I didn’t start doing any of that until I was in my late 30’s (circa 1998-ish).  But, like any gateway drug, once I sent my first email–with an attachment–I was hooked.

Today I was thinking about my weird/geeky love affair with HTML Code. Oh, I know, that is SO year 2000, and we’re all going XML and besides no one hand codes anything anymore ANYway…. but as nice as programs like iWeb and Dreamweaver are (and they are), there is something so incredibly magical about editing code. All you nerdlings out there are nodding your heads, you know you agree.

I recently volunteered to help out a little non-profit Youth Theatre group as Secretary/Dogsbody. One of the jobs that needed doing was the website updated.  The problem (for me) was that while I had a little bit of web design experience (ala iWeb), I was no expert.  The other problem was was that all the original files were on a computer belonging to someone I didn’t know, and I didn’t even know what program or platform they had been designed in.  This is where the beauty of HTML really shines– the end product relies on the code itself.   I had to do two things– I had to correct some dates (not too difficult), and I had to edit and link a new online form (as familiar to me in my limited experience as launching a missile or turning orange).  I tried a couple of cheats, like copying the code of one page and editing it in iWeb with an HTML snippet. No good.  Then I reverted (or regressed) to saving the page as a Word Webpage. Even less success (not to mention predictably ugly).  Fortunately, the hosting provider offered a very robust online editor– something I had not used before, having previously laboriously edit my pages and re-upload them all through the FTP.   So, I sat and thought about it, and opened the pages in the editor and began to study the code. Eventually, I was able to create a copy of an existing form, change the necessary info and rename it, and then link to it from the appropriate page.  All of that sounds either incomprehensible if you have never done it, or ridiculously elementary if you know even a tiny bit more about web design experience than I…..however, when I navigated to the site, and saw my changes appear every time I clicked Refresh, it was, well, pure magic…. no question.

Who’s a little code monkey then!?!?

Speaking of brilliant little code monkeys, check out the page of one of my grade 9 students.  More on him in a future post….


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