Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Wednesday Chatter: Why I Started Using The HTML Editor Instead Of The Text Editor

Wednesday Chatter @ Ruby's Books

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Hello my lovely bookish friends! Today's post is going to be just a little bit different than what you guys are used to from me. The idea for today's discussion post came to me while I was writing some other blog posts and I thought it was a great thing to talk about with you guys. Let's get right into it!

Why I Started Using The HTML Editor Instead Of The Text Editor

A few weeks ago I was working on my blog and consulting with my bff A.G. about a few things regarding the design and general coding of my blog. Basically I was struggling with my menu bar and when I finally figured out how to do it, A.G. suggested I should just learn how to code by myself, without having to rely on someone else's codes and tutorials to get my blog to do what I want it to. At first I was hesitant to do so, but then I figured there's no harm in trying. Shout-out to A.G. for having the best ideas (waves madly in case he's reading this). Cut to about a week after I started learning stuff, when again I was a bit frustrated by the fact that this one paragraph wasn't doing what I wanted it to, and I decided to fiddle with it in the HTML editor instead of doing it from the text editor.

I think the first time I heard of a book blogger writing their blog posts in the HTML editor was Ashley from NoseGraze. I'm pretty sure I read a post like that from her many, many, many years ago, but I can't find it now, unfortunately. But I heard it from her first, I'm sure of it, and while at the time it kind of made me curious as to why she was doing it, I wasn't feeling that brave to try it myself. Cut to now, and I'm telling you, I'm a changed blogger for it.

Before I go on, there's something you need to know about me (dun dun duuuuuunnn). Back in high school I took computer science classes for about 15-20 hours a week, between school classes and private lessons, because I was in the advanced computer science class. We basically ate C++ programming for breakfast. So programming isn't quite as new to me, I just need to get back into the mindset of it. Also shout-out to my CS private teacher. You were right, I was wrong. So writing in code isn't super new to me, I just need to remember how to do the thing. So with that in mind, let's look at the pros and cons of writing in the HTML editor.


1. I have better control over the output

So one of the things that frustrated me greatly about the text editor was that I never could quite control how the actual post looked like. In the text editor it was all pretty, it all did what I wanted it to, but once I hit "preview", it was all wonky. There was always something that wasn't fully right, even if just by a pixel. Be honest, how many times has this scenario happened to you? Well, I'd always have to either rewrite an entire paragraph, or try to delete the formatting of a text, only to start over, until finally it did what I wanted it do. Now, with HTML editor, I know it does what I want it to, because I'm literally telling it what to do. I'm not relying on buttons and shortcuts and hope for the best, I'm telling the browser "hey, I want this to happen and I want this to look like this, and you're going to listen to me". So essentially I'm the boss here, which suits me, if I do say so myself. And even if there's a problem, I know exactly what is making my post look wonky, and where to look look in the editor to correct the error or mistake. Which I had to waste time on before, because while I knew how the post looked like in the text editor, that was not the case for the HTML editor.

2. I cut down on writing time

This is tied into the first point, but essentially I cut down the time almost by half. Why? Because I set things as I write. I don't have to go back and select which words I want to be part of a link when I want them to lead somewhere, I just do it while I'm writing. Because I know I control how things look like, I don't have to worry that something is wrong. And, like I said, even if something isn't just how I want it, I can correct the mistake much faster because I know where to look for it.

3. I can be more productive

Take today. Although it's just a regular weekday and I've done stuff not related to blogging, I've written almost twice as much today as I do in any other day. This is because, again, I don't have to worry that things won't look just as good as I hope they will. I know they'll do the thing I want them to and that's that. So I can focus more on writing and stress less about formatting and layout.

4. I'm learning new things

This really isn't such a shocker, really. By writing my posts like this, I'm learning new skills. It's unlikely I'll become as proficient as a professional web designer, but I can hold my own if I have to, and that's awesome. Another perk of this is that I keep my brain active. Y'all, I know I'm only 30, but listen, the brain is like a sponge, and I've learned way too many scary stuff in 5 years of psych university to let my brain go and lose the ability to learn new things because of a small thing like age or me being lazy. Your brain needs to workout just as much as your body, and it's my professional opinion that you have to do anything you can to keep it healthy as long as you have the ability to do so. And, like with all things we're learning, practice does make perfect. So by writing my posts like this, I can better understand and remember what I'm learning.

5. I now understand what those pre-made promo posts want and why some things are written in one way, while others in another way

So before I started actively trying to learn HTML and CSS, whenever I'd get a pre-made post to publish as part of a blog blitz or book promo feature, I'd be so confused at some of the codes in there. This was because the code I'd receive wouldn't fully merge with my type of formatting, and it would make for the end result to not look as good as I wanted it to. I can't tell you how many times I saw the "h2" tag and was confused, and don't even get me started on the "strong vs. b" thing. Well, now I get it, and I can actually make my posts be both effective for text-to-speech applications, but also for browsers and Google in general. Also, yes, it kinda makes me feel more professional.


As with everything in life, there are a few cons to using mainly the HTML editor, and here are the ones I've discovered so far:

1. Images are tricky

Images are a bit tricky to upload in the HTML editor, at least for me they are. And I'm not talking single images, but more images together, like the ones I have in my Down The TBR Hole posts. Now. This is just because I'm still new at the HTML language and I don't fully know just how to make image upload easier. It's also hard because I need to remember what each image is, in case they're book covers like in the posts I mention previously. So I need to know the order in which I upload the photos. OR as a workaround I can make graphics and have just a single photo with more covers together and that could potentially save me time and help load pages faster.

2. If you don't know it, it's hard to do

This one is pretty obvious, but if you don't know an element, which styles you want to apply, what syntax to use, you'll have a hard time using the HTML editor. There's things I still haven't learned how to do, so I have to edit them in the text editor. I'm hoping that as I learn how to do things I'll eventually be able to move over to the HTML editor if not completely at least 80% of the time that it takes me to write the majority of a post.


I honestly want to say I identified more cons than these two, just to make the balance even, and have 5 vs 5, but I genuinely can't come up with more cons. Maybe it's because of my high school education, and the fact that I've learned to type really fast even with the added symbols, but I can't think of anything more. I think the most important things to remember if you want to try this out are:
  • you get to learn a new skill
  • you have to have fun with it; if it's not fun for you, there's no point in trying


Let's discuss. Do you write in text editor or in HTML editor? Which one do you find the easiest if you've tried both?

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