Learning HTML – A tutorial reflection

I threw my hand in the air with great gusto when Jason asked our class “Who has absolutely no idea about HTML?” What’s that they say about never being disappointed if you start expectations somewhere low to begin with? When it came to learning HTML, I began with my expectations buried underground.

As Jason taught us the basics, it all started coming back to me. My years of customising my Piczo website (now defunct), changing my MySpace theme… was that all HTML? Am I a closet coder?

It all began when I learnt to download new “themes” for my Piczo page. Who would have thought that 6 years down the track I’d be making a living out of writing for the web? I remember longing for the perfect theme, the perfect webpage that showed I was into fashion, I was funny, I liked to dance, I liked music… how could I combine 2 or 3 of these pre-created themes to create one that was unique to me? (This is sounding awfully reminiscent of my discussion on appropriation a few blog posts back…)

Enter HTML (see what I did there? There’s no ‘Enter’ in coding? Punny). It didn’t take me long to work out which elements of a code related to certain aspects of my page. It became a game of trial and error, eventually wrapping my head around what is, essentially, an entirely different language. Simply forgetting to pop a backwards slash into a close tag could end in disaster.

As we moved from Piczo to MySpace, the pressure was on to curate the perfect (albeit diplomatic) Top Friends list. Ranking your friends in numerical order was a recipe for disaster, to an extent a new incarnation of cyber bullying. I became one of the first at my school (not a huge feat, but a decent claim to fame nonetheless) to work out how to ‘hide’ my Top Friends list using my old Piczo friend HTML. As the rest of Koonung’s year 9 population began to catch on, I used my coding skills (….okay not skills, “adequate ability”) to look at other people’s hidden top friends list, thus undoing my earlier hard work.

Where am I going with this? Coding is like riding a bike. Given that my job is quite literally to write for the web, I wondered why I hadn’t really encountered my old friend HTML since graduating from high school. Had I done something wrong? Why was he avoiding me?

A bit of clicking around proved that he was still there, helping me out with every article I post, but being less conspicuous about it. For the purpose of this exercise, I have written this entire blog post under the Text tab, rather than Visual.

I’ve missed you, old friend.


Journalist at L'Oréal Paris Australia. Fashion Editor at Couturing.com Professional Writing and Editing Graduate. Currently studying Professional Communication.

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