I get this call often: I was editing my site, and I messed it up! I can't see anything anymore! the site is broken!
Looking at their site, I generally find that they have left a ">" off one of their html tags, throwing anything that follows into oblivion. Usually, the page will render up until that point, and then it will stop. That is usually my first clue.
The other situation I find is that a client has spent a good deal of money on a web designer, and ended up with a nice looking site. When it comes time to add content to the site, the well meaning client will override (unknowingly) all of the styles they paid the designer to develop, and end up with a site that resembles a ransom note.
In both cases, the biggest rule that has been violated is that directly editing HTML and CSS as a content developer. There are a few problems with this:
The solution to the problem is to use a sort of shorthand for HTML generally referred to as markdown. Markdown takes normal looking text, and transforms it into compliant HTML. This means that you can develop your content as simply as typing it out, without getting any markup in your way.
There are a few different markdown languages you can work with. I won't go into too much detail on each, but the ones I am familiar with are:
Ask your IT guy, or your webmaster to see if you can use markdown on your site.
Okay, here is what markdown will do for you:
One of the problems I see is that someone will build a header like so:
<h1>This is it!</h2>
This will not close out the h1 headers, so anything goes when it comes to rendering that headers, it's anyone's guess as to what might happen when this tries to render.
in textile, you would simply type:
h1. This is it!
and your text would render just fine.
I only include this for completeness sake. If you are haphazardly centering text, I would examine why you are doing this before you start doing it everywhere. You might either need to adjust your CSS, or forsake centering text. But here's how it's done:
<p style="text-align:center;">Centered Text</p>
p= Centered Text
In HTML, a list looks like:
<ul> <li>Item 1</li> <li><ul> <li>Sub Item 1</li> </ul></li> <li>Item 2</li> </ul>
Not only is this prone to accidents, it's hard to read. It's also alot of fumbling around to do when you're typing. Adding all this markup and making sure it's correct adds far too much complexity to just getting your thoughts out.
In textile, it would look like this:
* Item 1 ** Sub Item 1 * Item 2
As you can see, it's much easier to read (and type!) the above. It's also less error prone.
In HTML, a link to another site looks like:
<a href="http://www.codingforhire.com">Coding for Hire</a>
While in Textile, it looks like:
"Coding for Hire":http://www.codingforhire.com"
These are only very short examples, and this article is only meant to introduce you to the idea of markdown. From here, I will point you to a few other sites where you can see how to do more advanced (and far more efficient) things like tables, images, and links.
I guarantee that learning the one of the above systems (it should take no longer than an hour to learn one), will boost your productivity in HTML content development by at least 100%.
If you have done any of this, I would love to hear from you.blog comments powered by Disqus