I have published a set of workshop notes on Github called Build Your Own Website – A Beginner’s Guide, covering the basics of HTML and WordPress-driven websites. I gave the workshop at a recent Engineering Day event at thetrainline.com, where the audience was largely non-engineers from marketing/finance/HR etc., and it was interesting and useful to return to the first principles of HTML in ways accessible to novices.
One of the fun analogies I came up with that of a webpage structure being (a bit) like a snowman – with two main parts:
The reason for the focus on HTML in Part 1 of the workshop was that in my experience, website editors who do not understand HTML are quite restricted in the kinds of editing they can do and the decisions they take, whereas those with a decent grasp of at least the basics of HTML are able to fix basic formatting problems (such as result from the ‘Paste from MS Word’ nightmare).
Part 2 of the workshop covers the use of WordPress, and particularly how HTML is used by WordPress to build webpages. The idea here is to allow novices to get a website up and running rapidly, yet with the HTML skills to be able to help themselves when needed.
Having to return to first principles can be a useful exercise once in a while; too often we engineers can become so used to technical jargon and TLAs that we miss the benefit of a simple explanation. In this respect, I enjoyed taking HTML back to its simplest form; likewise with WordPress.