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Building a Website with a KISS.

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

It is probably true that there are web page composing programs that are much better than MS Word and do not generate excessive amounts of code. It is also likely true that no one wants to make a webpage the way I have done, and continue to do it. I guess I am writing this page to inform all of you how much work I have put into this site. I'm sure you know the saying about old dogs and new tricks. Well, I'm a pretty old dog. Here, for what it is worth is my approach to coding a web page. Take it or leave it.

A web designer who wanted to redesign my website told me that It reads like an encyclopedia. I'm sure he didn't intend this as a complement but I took it as one. I suppose he wanted to change my site into one that has eye popping graphics and dizzying animation and no intellectual content. And all this for a fee that I couldn't afford. NO THANK YOU! I have traveled my own path, done my own thing, and this site is the result. Those who find it boring have already moved on to other sites where they won't have to read any words longer than 3 syllables. For those who have stuck with me over the years I thank you and hope I can continue to provide you with useful information.

That said I don't really believe you will abandon the website development software you have been using for years. Those who I stand a chance of convincing are those who don't currently have a site but would like to have one. There aren't many freebees left on the web but if you find one you will most likely be required to generate your own code. If you have been looking at the code of professionally developed websites you probably haven't been able to make heads or tails of it. Don't feel like the lone ranger. I can't make any sense of it either. Professional web developers would call my approach simple minded, backward, primitive, Neanderthal, stone knives and bear skins, or if they were in a charitable mood, minimalist. I prefer to call it simplified, easy, or the more abrupt, keep it simple, stupid. Whatever you choose to call it its main features are a minimum of commands to remember and a few prepared files with the things that are difficult to remember. In any case I present this as a protest against over designed and badly designed websites.

Table of Contents.

Introduction and Justification. (You are here.)
Setting Up Your Computer For Website Development and Offline Viewing.
Getting Started, Your First Webpage.
Inserting a graphic, image, picture or whatever you want to call it.
Inserting a list and lists within lists.
Inserting a table, labeling columns and rows.
Image and Text Within a Table.
Images, lists, and Text Within a Table.
Using a table for color box effects.

How I Got Started.

I bought a copy of HTML For dummies and started studying it. It's a real slow mover. I was up to page numbers in the 80s and I still hadn't found any information on how to begin coding a webpage. To this day I haven't plowed any farther into it. It does have some useful tables such as html commands and codes for printing special characters. I keep it for these. I still have no idea what the class command is supposed to do. And frankly, I don't give a dam.

I was able to comprehend HTML syntax just enough to figure out the command tables in dummies. I didn't try to learn a command until I needed to use it. If I didn't understand something I placed it on a local page and played with it until I got it to do what I wanted.

Site building software.

There was, and I suppose there still is, a lot of site building software around on the web. I picked out one that someone told me was the most popular and downloaded the trial version. I found to my dismay that there was no way to import an existing site. Since I didn't want to start typing my site from scratch I abandon this approach.

If you have MS word you might be tempted to use the web page maker which is included in the cost of word. Don't even think about it. In time you will see why.

KISS HTML.

As it turns out you can type a lot of text with only three commands. Combine that with a file I have created named Library_Page_Starter.txt and you can create page after page of text.

Page Appearance.

While I earlier disparaged over emphasis on the appearance of a page I do believe that appearance is important. When someone visits your page you only get one chance to make a first impression. It should be neat and uncluttered with pleasing to the eye margins . on all four sides.

Pet Peeve #1, text going all the way to the edge of the page.

How many websites have you seen where the text starts hard against the left edge of the screen and ends at the right edge of the screen? Many I'll bet. How many printed books have you seen where the text begins right at the left edge of the page and ends at the right edge? None I'll bet. Has it ever occurred to you that there might be a good reason for that? Real estate on a book page is more expensive than on a web hosting service. There must be some very good reasons why book pages have margins. Web pages should also have them. This is so easily fixed there is no excuse for leaving it that way. It only takes 24 characters of code. Here it is.

<blockquote><blockquote>

A command is a command is a command.

There are probably some professional web page designers shouting at their screens that the word for the character strings that affect what you see on your screen is not command. Well, I don't give a damn about that either. I was programming computers when they employed vacuum tubes. As far as I am concerned any character string that tells the computer to do something is a command. If you don't like that, no one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to continue to read this page.

Some stuff other than text.

In order to illustrate the difference between doing it the old fashioned way and letting a robot do it for you, I need to add two things that I use extensively on my site. They are a picture and a table. The picture could be one taken using my camera, A scan of some document, a screen shot of a windows program, a screen shot of an oscilloscope, or a line drawing (schematic diagram). A table could be any set of values that describe the performance of a given circuit. The photo below was something that Sue contrived to present me with a father's day card. The table is totally made up. But none of that matters. It's the principle that tells the story.

Don't get sidetracked trying to understand how the various commands work. I will be explaining that as we go along. Right now what I want to show you is how robot webpage designers waste precious server space repeating the same commands over and over even though the parameter is always the same.

Teddybear Adventures.

Part of Our Teddybear Collection.
It includes a few other stuffed animals.

Table Title.
Ownership Location 1 Location 2. Location 3
My Bears 2 5 7
Her Bears 5 17 45
Shared Bears 3 1 2

How To View What I Want You To See.

To return after clicking each of the links below, click on the back button in your browser.

KISS HTML code of this page that was typed in by fingers and thumbs.

HTML created by MS word.



Everything below the double line was added after the two files KISS.txt and Not_KISS.txt were generated. The KISS HTML version takes up 6.59 kB and has 109 lines.
The html created by word takes up 54.2 kB and has 1127lines.
Why should Microsoft go to all that trouble to inflate webpage files? Well, they rent out disk space on servers to webpage owners don't they. I'll bet you can figure that one out for yourself.

This is the reason I write my own code instead of letting a dumb robot write it for me.


Next - Setting Up Your Computer For Website Development and Offline Viewing.


This page last updated Monday, June 28, 2021.


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