You are the talk of the town...
What the world needs now...

And you may ask yourself, how do I work this...

Somebody remind me... I am a Web designer, right? That's what I do for a living, isn't it? I think my business card... yep, it says "Web Developer."

Miscquestionmark_1So why am I drawing a complete blank when it comes to some basic HTML coding?

Over the last few years, I've become so accustomed to CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and the terminology that it employs, that I've begun to take its benefits for granted. Whether I'm handcoding the CSS or relying on WYSIWYG editors like Dreamweaver to autocode it for me, it's been my language of choice when it comes to encoding text-related aspects of Web design.

Yesterday, however, I needed to write the code for an HTML e-mail that is going to be sent out by an advertiser. They told me that it would work best if I just designed the e-mail in Dreamweaver as a webpage, have it approved, and send the code to them to drop in their mail program.

Their one caveat, however, was that I not use CSS anywhere in the code.

I never realized what a pain in the butt this request would become until I tried to remind myself how to code a font family and relative font sizes within the actual body of the HTML. These are things that CSS has taken care of on my behalf for years.

For the life of me, I could not remember how to do it. I couldn't remember the phraseology that HTML uses. It's almost the same as CSS, but just different enough that it escaped me. It is some of the most basic code that Web developers use, but it eluded me today for reasons unknown.

I actually dug up my copy of Timothy Gottleber's Excellent HTML -- the very book I used when I first began to learn Web design eight years ago in grad school. The pages of this book have not seen the light of day since that particular class.

As foolish as I may have felt keeping this on my bookshelf at work all these years, right about now I'm glad I did.

All you professional designers out there, go ahead and laugh. I deserve it.

This is just one of those brainfart sorts of days.


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At least you knew HTML at one point. I jumped right in without understanding much of it. So now I am going to take an idependent study class in the Fall and spend the whole semester studying and perfecting it. I think your brainfart is better than my lack of knowledge :-)

ms. sizzle

some days i can't even remember how to spell "cat." ;)

Johnny C.

What do brain farts smell like?

Kevin, you have a nice code.

Tracy Lynn

Dude, I'm picking it up as I go. At least you knew it at one point.


Kilax, I figured you to be an HTML pro considering how nice your site looks. I just assumed. Guess what that means...

Sizzle, you ever have those days where even if you know something is spelled right, it still looks wrong.

Johnny, they're nasty. Just plain nasty.

Tracy, it's always a good thing to know. It allows you to troubleshoot problems that are embedded in autocode created by editing suites. And it allows you to make your blog that much prettier as well.


when you're done with that book can you send it to me?


I'm with Sizz. I actually spent about five minutes the other day trying to sort out the spelling of a five-letter word. I think I need a mental nap. A long one.


Oh, man. And just as I was going to ask you for some help with my new site.

I totally dodged a bullet there.


Brainfarts were a theme today. But you did use a line from talking Heads... Once in a Lifetime. And that dear sir, rocks.


I did the whole wear are my glassed, oh yeah they're on my head thing the other day. Isn't it fun?

Suzi aka SJ

I can so relate to this. It's hard for me to believe just a few months ago I was fluent in basic HTML, but struggling with the syntax of CSS. Now I'm cool with CSS, struggling with php and sometimes stumped on simple HTML coding. The other day I actually had to refer to my old Webmonkey link to edit the look of my (ahem) MySpace page! (Hey, it's a family thing)


I'm the other way HTML is fine for me - I have geek joy when I occasionally code in notepad... (Yes, I am that sad)
CSS, however, is a complete mystery to me; which is why I think I am having so much trouble with getting my blog to look the way I want it to.
But, I have now bought a book so I fully ezxpect things to all apart completely in the next few weeks!


Jacquie, considering the trouble I had the other day, I'm not sure I'll ever part with it. But if you follow the link on this post, you can find a copy used for only a couple bucks.

Sandra, if I actually take a mental nap, I fear I'd never wake up.

Mocha, yes you did. Good call on that one.

Nat, I knew someone out there would appreciate some Talking Heads. I think this is the second time I've used their lyrics for a title. I try to be equal opportunity in my song lyric titles.

Jacynth, been there, done that. Katie has, too.

SJ, it's amazing what you can forget when you don't try, isn't it? You're on MySpace, too? Will have to find you and request your friendship.

Bec, I used to love coding in Notepad/Wordpad/Textpad. It was great. But then the demands for features and turnaround time on projects became too great and I had to switch to Dreamweaver so I could keep up. Here's hoping it doesn't completely fall apart.


Best class I ever took in college was Comp. Sci. 120 purely for the fact that it taight basic html. I'm amazed how often knowing a little bit of code makes stuff stand out on a web page (craigslist, metafilet, etc.).

CSS on the other hand....jesus. I'm on a self charted tutorial and am playing the game "what happens when I change this value on my blogger template." Somehow I think this is the @ss-backwards way of doing it, but hey, one day I'll get it right. I figure I won't let myself upgrade to a paid blog site until I can successfully create my own unique blog template.

Until then, I'll dream about how I should have studied something in the vein of computer science/ graphic design.


I wound up taking two basic HTML classes while in grad school. I was scared to death when I took them because they were the first two computer related courses I ever took. I had never even fathomed doing Web design before that. I preferred to sit in awe of those who could do it themselves. I'm glad I did, though, since it does make it much easier to troubleshoot and whatnot. I've thought about doing an entirely custom template design as well. Still scares me, though. I think what I can now do is enough freedom without completely screwing it all up.

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