Hand Code HTML or Use a WYSIWYG Composer

In this lesson, we will analyze and compare which is better, hand code HTML or use a WYSIWYG composer when we are coding HTML pages.

At this point, you've almost certainly tried both hand-coding HTML and using an HTML editor (NVU, if you downloaded it). I use both - create a page with a WYSIWYG when I'm working in design mode, and then go into the code to make changes and clean things up while I'm tweaking.

I find that creating web sites in this manner gives me the best of both worlds. I work faster with the composer, and I can set all my variables quickly, then change them right away when I don't like the look. Using the composer also ensures I don't forget some pesky end tag, or (my worst habit) the end quote on a variable.

But every composer has limitations, and going into the code to make my own adjustments allows me to overcome those limitations. For instance, NVU for some unknown reason has trouble giving you margins and cushions of zero in tables. But I need these zero margins for some of the things I do. Because I understand HTML, I can just go into the code and make that adjustment myself.

Make sure you work with both as you go through these tutorials. Ideally, test everything out using both hand coding and a composer. This will help you determine when it's best for you to use a composer, and when to just do it by hand.

Test, Test, Test

When you're writing code, make sure you test everything before making it go live. That includes every little trick and every link on your page. Because of its complexity, it's very easy to skip or typo some part of HTML. Not only will bad links irk your visitors, it can harm your standing in the search engine ratings.

Next up: we'll be heading into some deep water with tables and Javascript and even some light CSS. If you're shaky on anything in the tutorial thus far, go back, review, and practice.

Try This:

Create your first real web page. It can be on anything you like, though I highly recommend that it be something you are passionate about. Save and publish it, then let your friends and family admire it for a while. You'll need that ego boost soon!

In this lesson, we saw what is better, whether to hand code HTML or use a WYSIWYG composer while we are coding web pages. It is a personal choice based several factors like load of work, time available, level of standardization required, etc.