Hand Coding vs. WYSIWYG
Traditionally, writing the HTML to create a web page was done manually. You would use a text editor like Notepad, type your HTML tags in, and test the page by loading the file in a browser.
In the past few years, another way of creating web pages has emerged: What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) HTML editors. WYSIWYG editors allow you to create web pages by using menu commands and icons. For example, instead of typing <BODY BGCOLOR=#FFFFFF> you might click on the background and select white from the color box.
Do WYSIWYG editors really do what they promise? What are they good at doing, and what are their limitations? Well, that's what we're going to find out.
Using a text editor like Notepad, write the HTML for a simple web page. Include a centered graphic, a colored background, and make one sentence of the text a different color from the rest. Load the page in a browser so you can see how it looks.
Now download a trial version of a WYSIWYG editor. (Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0 is a good choice. Also, if you are using Netscape, you may be able to use Netscape Composer. Check the browser's menus).
In the WYSIWYG editor, try to make an identical version of the web page you coded by hand.
How close can you get to the original? How long does it take?
Allotting some time for learning the functions of the WYSIWYG editor, which way do you think would take longer, doing the HTML by hand or using an editor?
Try loading your original web page in the WYSIWYG editor. Then save the page in the editor.
When you loaded your web page in the WYSIWYG editor, did it look any different from when you loaded in your web browser?
After you save the page, find the "View Source" command in the editor. Did the program add any HTML? If so, do you like what it added?
So what's your opinion of WYSIWYG editors after this exercise? Do you think they make creating web pages easier, or are they more trouble than they're worth? Also, do you think knowing a little bit of HTML helped you use it?
WYSIWYG editors aren't clearly good or bad. Some people love WYSIWYG editors, and other people think they produce sloppy HTML. But if you find them useful, jump on board and use them because they can potentially save you hours of time.