Were it not for Nick Bradbury’s HomeSite, I probably couldn’t have written this

Perhaps like many starting out with HTML, myriad aspects of the syntax were confusing, or downright overwhelming. For me, tables were one example of the latter. Despite their prevalence at the time (1995), their structure was something I struggled to understand.

Fortunately, one of the many amazing features of HomeSite was its table editor. The visual interface made it easy to create tables and set various attributes. Toying with that GUI helped me correlate what I saw there with the markup it produced.

That ability to experiment and connect changes to their output was essential for me to become familiar with HTML. With no formal training, meager search engines (Google didn’t yet exist), and documentation beyond my understanding, I had no way to learn but to change things and test those effects.

Thanks to the experimentation that HomeSite afforded me, I learned HTML, began hosting my own sites, and in 1999, encountered PHP. Had I abandoned web development out of frustration with learning the early syntax, there’s no chance I could’ve returned to programming as a career when the recession hit in 2009.

Who knows, maybe I’d still be an accountant?

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