Kicks Condor

Reply: Pure HTML All Over Again


@kicks Hello, Kicks. Replying to the comment in this post in praise of creating webpages in plain HTML/CSS. Boy has the Internet come full circle – back to the status quo of the early 2000s (so not that big a circle). I’m currently playing with Hugo static site generator, and at the back of my mind lingers the thought about whether it will give me more trouble than not in the long-term. HTML really is the elegant KISS method at the end of the day. Thanks for highlighting alternative perspectives in webdesign!

Hey, Vega! You know, it’s very strange to me that static sites have become so arcane. For a brief time, Movable Type made them the dominant style of blog. I’d really like to see a return to something like that. But simpler, perhaps.

I rather envy the freeform HTML sites. I really miss server-side includes as well—that seemed like a kind of ideal form, since you could do more complex things with plain HTML. I kind of wish modern HTML would let us do HTML includes without needing to resort to JavaScript. It seems strange that HTML didn’t go that direction.

At any rate, thanks for saying hi. Yours is a blog I enjoying reading from time to time.

  1. @kicks @vega My original bibliography may qualify as a Spartan Website. I built it with a simple text editor that allowed me to easily paste in the standard tags for HTML 3.2 and then type the unique text for each book. I don't remember what that software was called. Then I would FTP the html files to the server at I'm not sure whether that qualifies as hand-written or not. I certainly used a computer, that's for sure. I'm sure it has no Javascript, because I didn't know such a thing existed, ditto for CSS. But I don't know whether it fits the size limitation given and don't know how to tell. There are hundreds of html files, as each completed book entry has it's own file, but I'm sure they're all very small. The TOC page has an embedded search engine from Alta Vista, which of course no longer works. That was the most bleeding edge feature I had at the time, which I was quite proud of having implemented entirely on my own, just by reading Alta Vista instructions. I also fancied it up with a frames edition, but I don't think that's anything other than more html. I no longer recall how I did it. I built the original edition entirely by following the instructions in Laura Lemay's book, Teach Yourself Web Publishing with HTML 3.2 in 14 Days, which I still have in my library. It has 1054 pages, weighs 5lbs 5 oz and extremely clear instructions. I don't recall any instance of not knowing what to do, after reading her descripton for any particular feature in html. It may have taken me more than 14 days, but I was in no hurry. I sure wish there was a book comparable to the Lemay book for!! In those days, a reasonably intelligent person could build a very useful site, just by using that one Lemay book. Later I got another small book that told me how to add the color. The TOC page has a lot of link rot, but it's the only place where I dared to put in any external links. The rest of the entire bibliography uses only internal links, so it should all still be working, just like new. One day I will publish another one, but with well over 1,000 books, rather than the mere 544 books in the 1999 edition. Of course Google has been threatening to hide this site into obscurity for a long time now, as I have not converted it to SSL.

  2. @bradenslen Thanks, Brad, for a very comprehensive document! Near the end of reading it, I found it ironic that an effort to make the web robust had made me completely exhausted in reading a document which I am sure is correct, but turned out to be soooooo long that I did not succeed in making it to the end, having collapsed in the bit dust at my feet. But who am I to complain? My previous reply on this thread was far longer than most!

  3. @Ron To me the big takeaways were, she's telling other web developers that HTML is not broken and that it will keep on working on a website long after the JavaScript has gone belly up. And that you don't need all the JS with the massive bandwidth costs to make a webpage and convey information to your reader, just like you did with your bibliography. Ron your Dylan bibliography, written in ancient HTML 3.2 is still as rock solid today as it was when you wrote it. I really like that.

  4. @bradenslen Wow, I really like that too! Thanks for summing it up for me. 😃

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