|This is an interesting way to learn HTML coding.|
|To be completely honest, I’m not sure what we’re supposed to be conveying through this first Lab…|
It feels like we are each building little houses.
We construct the walls using tools we are familiar with: typing on keyboards, clicking on icons to make things Bold or Italicized. But as we work on the house, we’re also learning about how the tools themselves are engineered. We’re learning more about how computers interpret our actions when we underline words.
With this knowledge, we can make bad puns about how the Bold button is. Perhaps we want to add that rustic, lived-in feel to the wallpaper of our house, so we
highlight some words and then cross them out. We can muse over how it’s oddly satisfying to read something that’s been crossed out, as if it took some serious detective deciphering skills on our part. The “Text” mode (source-code-view) hints that such words were meant to be </deleted>, though we can still read them.
To conclude this drivel as one might end an episode of a children’s TV show, here are Five Life Lessons to be learned:
- There’s always more going on than what we can see on the surface.
- Be careful <> starting something that you can’t finish </>.
- An isolated webpage can be boring unless it connects to other pages.
- Webpages with cat pictures are 50 times more likely to be visited.
- If possible, try to use lists of 3, 5 or 10 items. It will “just feels right” for your readers.
Visual vs. Text
Like most people have said so far in their posts, I much prefer writing in the “Visual” mode, the What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) format. It’s intuitive and simple. That being said, there are still some differences that can be seen in the Preview mode, so WYS is not exactly WYG.
There are a few corrections and small details in formatting that require going into the “Text” mode, viewing all the HTML stuff. It helps differentiate between:
starting a new line and
starting a whole new paragraph.
Reflection: In Lieu of Alan Liu
As a matter of principle (and ignorance), I am strictly an Anglophone. Since I am far from fluent in French, I feel a little bit snooty whenever I use terms like “c’est la vie” or “a la mode”–phrases that the English language shamelessly kidnapped, and chose to adopt rather than translate.
Such behavior inevitably leads to gross misuse of the phrases, as well as bad puns; both of which are unfortunately present in this section’s title. But instead of mounting an attack against the great English language we are all getting Bachelor degrees for studying, let us move into a brief discussion of how all languages are evolving in the 21st century with information technologies:
No matter what kind of writing it is, if it’s electronic then it’s probably encoded somehow. Alan Liu uses several metaphors and analogous stories to describe the ways that internet technologies are changing textual communication. Liu talks about Taylorism in the workplace, and the engineering approach that treats every organization (and its workers) like a complex machine, meant to be efficient and productive. It’s all part of answering the question: “How is an author now a postindustrial producer?“
It makes sense that in the post-industrial world, most corporate jobs would be subject to the same kind of dehumanization, simplifying things in terms of inputs and outputs, boiling down your contributions in terms of provided profit for the motherland company. I hoped that a degree in the humanities would somehow escape this dehumanization. Maybe it was naive wish.
But what Liu describes is not an unconditional surrender to the machine, but rather an adaptation and evolution that allows artists to communicate deeply and effectively through these new mediums.
XMLites: the religion of Discourse Network 2000
Liu also talks about this dogma about content and presentation. Rather than a traditional approach that one designs every something in a very specific way to be replicated exactly, Liu outlines a paradigm shift that we “parameterize” — design and encode our work with specific parameters for how it will be converted and displayed on various devices with different restrictions and capabilities.
It’s a weird thought, writing and designing something that we know will be experienced very differently by each individual reader. Yet XML gives us the tools to do exactly that. And in the world we live in, whether we’re writing pages for a novel or pages for a website, we want to make sure they look good on everything from printed paper to mobile devices and huge projectors.