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Eating Food Web Editors

Set in my ways – am I stubborn?

I’ve been doing web design work since 1995, and one of the things I like best about it is how much it changes fairly regularly. When I started, writing HTML required that I know vi and be able to edit the files directly on the Unix server. Then I started storing files on my local hard drive, editing there in a text editor (Homesite was my poison), and then uploading them to my web server. In the last few years, I’ve started using the WYSIWYG portion of Dreamweaver to handle some of the trickier aspects of design and then using the text editor in Dreamweaver to manage the HTML.

And of course, all the change in how I do this is not why I like web design, it’s just a side-note.

What I find interesting is how stubborn people can be about their opinions about editors like Dreamweaver. Back in the 1990s when Dreamweaver first came out, the HTML that it created was questionable. Not as questionable as HTML from other WYSIWYG editors (FrontPage was especially bad), but still a lot of bloated code to do things that you could do much more efficiently in the HTML using a text editor.

But that was over 10 years ago. 

These days, even most of the no-code editors that I’ve tried out do a decent job with the HTML and CSS. It’s rare to see a FONT tag in an HTML document that was edited by a WYSIWYG editor, and tools like WordPress offer easy-to-use WYSIWYG tools (I’m writing this post in the “visual” editor of WordPress, for instance.) built right into the blogging system. So I don’t understand why even in 2012, I can receive comments on my About.com blog like this one (emphasis mine):

“A good text editor that you know how to use efficiently is the single most important bit of kit that you need; I don’t really rate graphical web design software, as it has a negative effect on people’s ability to write and understand code. There will be times when you need to look at a piece of code and work out what’s going wrong.. and DreamWeaver probably won’t be of much help.”

What is he basing this statement on? Has he looked at Dreamweaver any time in the last 5 years? Dreamweaver MX, which is at least seven years old has had a good text editor built right into the tool. You haven’t been forced to do web design work only in WYSIWYG in Dreamweaver for at least that long, if not longer (I can’t remember versions of Dreamweaver before MX, it’s been so long since I’ve used them…). And this belief about Dreamweaver is so pervasive, it comes up every time I write a tutorial or article about it. Even when the tutorial is about how to use the Dreamweaver text editor!

All of This Makes Me Wonder Where I’m Set In My Ways

What things am I refusing to change or even evaluate simply because that’s how it was 10 years ago when I first considered it? I’m sure that there are things that I do for no reason beyond that’s how I’ve always done it. And if things are working well for me, that’s fine. But what about when they are not.

Which Brings Me Back to Giving Up Sugar

(You knew I couldn’t write an entire post without mentioning it…)

Back on July 1, as you know if you’ve read this blog, I gave up sugar and sweets for 8 weeks. That ended last weekend, and I’ve allowed myself to have sweets periodically in the last few days. But still not a lot, I made a blackberry pie from the blackberries in my back yard (and there’s still about 1/4 of a pie left in my fridge) and on Tuesday I drank a diet coke.

The pie was and is amazing. And the great feeling is that while I have allowed myself to have as much as two slices in a day, when I decided not to have any, it wasn’t a big deal. The pie is still there, and when I feel like having more, I will (there’s also another pie in the freezer for later). But even though the pie was amazing and I loved while I was eating it, I love it more that I don’t feel any need to gorge on it.

What was strange was the Diet Coke. That was a big part of the challenge for me during the 8-weeks — to stop drinking the 2-3 cans of diet coke per day I had been drinking. In moments of weakness I would think “I’ll just have one can. It’s sugar free!” But I stayed strong, and didn’t drink any Diet Coke until August 28th. And on that day I was surprised to find that it wasn’t the wonderful, thirst-quenching goodness I remembered. Oh, it was fine. There was nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t any better that the cafe au lait I’d been making instead. And in some ways I like having the coffee with milk better.

What Should I Try Next?

This makes me want to embark on another 8-week challenge. I’m still off the sugar (mostly) as I like how I feel without it. But these days if I am at a birthday party or it’s Christmas/Thanksgiving, I’m not going to skip dessert. But since the weeks before those days I won’t have eaten much at all of sweet things, they will be that much more fun.

So now I’m on the lookout for my next challenge. I know all the things I should do, but I’m trying to find something that really strikes a chord. Plus, I want it to be something I’m being stubborn about. Because why not change something I no longer need?

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