When starting out on your journey towards creating beautiful web sites, the first crossroad you will come to is; “what application to use?”
The road to the right looks inviting, a pleasant paved downhill path called the WYSIWYG Way. A WYSIWYG webpage editor will allow you to create web pages easily without the need to learn html code.
The road to the left is uphill, leading towards a dark forest called the text editor. This road is called the Road of Learning because in order to navigate your way through the forest you will need to learn html, CSS and lord knows what else!
The third option is called the Middle Road. An editor which provides WYSIWYG capabilities, but at the same time giving the user the option of being able to hand code their pages should they so desire.
The WYSIWYG Way
The WYSWYG Way starts off as a pleasant stroll. The programme (and there are so many options) will do everything for you. It is like using word. The hardest part is deciding on which pre-made template to use! Initially all is well until you get to that highway we call the World Wide Web (www) and you find yourself in a storm rivalling Hurricane Katrina of 2005. Suddenly you have broken links you can’t fix, pictures not displaying correctly and your best friend phones to inform you that your site is not working in her browser! You join a support forum and the first person who assists you points out that your site has 32 errors and you’ll need to fix those before any further help can be given. At this point you either give up or make your way back to the crossroads and chose an alternative path.
The Middle Road
This time you decide to take the Middle Road. Here you can take the “learn as you go” approach using the WYSIWYG capabilities when you need them and the code view as your level of proficiency increases. But as you make your way down this road you discover it has multiple toll booths and the cost is becoming excessive. There are three main tolls on this road. The first being the actual cost of the application. At the time of writing this article there are only two real contenders for such an application. Adobe’s Dreamweaver weighing in at approximately $400 and the lighter contender, Microsoft Expression Web, hitting the scales at approximately $150. The second toll you must pay, is size. These applications are huge, gobbling up huge amounts of your hard drive space and eating into your ram. The third cost is time. They take time to load and because they need large amounts of ram to run, they slow down the entire system meaning it just takes time to do everything else. Now if you have already paid for such an application you may chose to continue on this road, at least until it is time for the next upgrade.
The Road of Learning
The Road of Learning is by far the most difficult path to take but it is also provides the greatest reward. In order to make your way through the forest it winds through, you will need, at the minimum, to learn CSS and and html; as you will be required to manually code your site’s pages. And while the task may seem impossible, at first, it is important to remember that one is never without hope. There are many forums, like the webhelpforum, which you can join where people with greater knowledge are always willing to help. In addition the www houses thousands of tutorials to help you on your way. You can also, for a minimal cost, employ the help of a guide in the form of a specialised HTML editor like Blumentals WeBuilder, which offers helpful features like code completion, syntax highlighting, code snippet libraries and even spell checkers.
Which road to choose?
Which road you choose is really dependent on your budget and objectives. If you simply want to create a webpage with the objective of sharing a few photographs with your closest friends, then the WYSWYG Way is the path for you but if you want to create beautiful websites, which look professional, where your imagination is your only limit, then the only path to choose is the Road of Learning.
Photographs are compliments of the morgueFile