There was a time when I knew a little HTML, some English and unspeakable joy from combining the two to display the simplest things on a webpage. At the time, the marquee tab with its ability to slide text from one side of the page to another was no less than magic to me and I, the sorcerer supreme behind it, felt powerful. A long time has passed since and with all the different coding languages, pre-written scripts and complex features available, I can’t help but wonder if I ever knew anything about building a site in the first place.
As a schoolkid, my parents thought it would be a good idea for me to learn a thing or two about the internet in my free time. Even if I was too young to talk about a pre- and post-internet era, my parents weren’t and they appreciated it’s importance. My mother invited a geeky instructor over to guide me through the world of HTML and at a time when computers preferred lying down to standing upright, HTML was considered a need-to-know tool for web design. Fortunately, I had my nifty red notebook at hand.
One of the first things that made HTML appealing was that it didn’t need anything more than a simple computer. When my teacher came to class empty-handed, I wondered how he was going to teach me without even a CD or floppy disk (yep, that old!). You can imagine my amazement when he opened up the most understated program, Notepad, and typed in some peculiar lines of code which miraculously transformed into a webpage when he saved it with a HTML suffix. I learned that trick early on to show off my “web design” skills to my parents’ colleagues.
After learning the basics, I tried taking my show on the road. I knew enough to make a functional site and had some ideas for content, but I faced a typical teenager issue: no money. Now I could ask my parents for it, but I wasn’t in the habit of wanting more, especially for hosting a site out of sheer curiosity. On the other hand, the only free hosting sites at the time posted huge header ads on every page which made it a visual nightmare on multiframe sites. I was glad for the glimpse at the world of sites, but without money and worthwhile ideas, I could hang that skill up.
Fast forward a decade and I’m here, back on the internet again. This time the money problem is out of the way, my head’s loaded with tons of ideas. But the World Wide Web has changed drastically over the years and I’m back to square one. Well, that’s not exactly true; behind these fancy codes and visual editors, there’s still a good portion of HTML tabs I understand. What’s more, I now have many more teachers.
I might not know a thing about CSS, Java or other matters, but someone else certainly does. In fact, many people know much more about these topics and it’s beautiful how they’re willing to share their knowledge. I might not be used to free advice in real life, but the online communities found on forums and social media are setting an example by competing for providing the most useful information. Now if I get stuck, I merely have to search for the answer and if by the slightest chance no one has asked and resolved it previously, I can count on helpful experts to come to the rescue.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that a lot has changed since computers were bulky and internet connection, noisy and slow. My prior knowledge may be partially obsolete by now but on the bright side, my passion for learning to build a site has been lit anew. With a lot of fun experimentation, help from pros and dedicated effort, I hope I can get this site up and running better than a much younger Saeed could ever have imagined.