Hand-Coding Web Pages

Essentially, there are two ways you can put web pages together. They can either be hand-coded, meaning that the writer/programmer writes out all the HTML code, JavaScript, etc. by hand, or generated, whereby a generator program of some sort is used, such as Dreamweaver or FrontPage. This latter group, by the way, also includes all the "WYSIWYG" (What You See Is What You Get) editors like Microsoft Word or Publisher along with the various "wizard" type generators that generate a finished page based on a series of questions (these are often "features" buried in other programs, though they can also be stand-along programs.).

To the true die-hard web coder, hand coding is the way to go. Others think that modern tools present a more realistic method, especially for the newer web developer. Whichever way you feel is right for you, there can be a lot of satisfaction, not to mention insight, gained from hand coding at least a few web pages. When you do, however, there's no need to make life unduly tough on yourself.

The task of creating pages by hand coding can become quite complex. Hard core hand-coders develop working techniques to assist them in this endeavor that frequently involve the use of advanced text editors. If you've tried to use Notepad for this you'll know that it requires remembering the fine points of the syntax you need and having a very keen eye to spot those typos.

Deep knowledge of HTML is essential for any Web development effort, but some developers advocate hand-coding all HTML, citing code size and efficiency as benefits of this practice. But given the state of modern HTML and JavaScript authoring tools, the majority of code for robust sites is not dramatically increased by such tools, and the use of such tools can reduce development costs by orders of magnitude with little or no increase in robust production-quality code.


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