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The invention of HTML

If you are just starting out designing web pages, you may be wondering what HTML is. Well, you should be. And like so many things that computer people do, it sounds mysterious at first, and then you see it for what it really is - a childish game. Please let me explain.

I've made my living using computers since the late 1980s. But don't confuse me with a *computer person*. I am a jockey, or a driver, not a mechanic. I am happy to use these machines and the software, but I don't know how to fix them, or even how they work. I have met these people, computer geeks, and so have you.

The people who have created the software and the language of the web are, for the most part, young men.  And these are the guys we all knew at school who were a bit secretive, and maybe had a treehouse when they were kids that said *NO GURLS!*. But mostly, they loved to play games. Not sports, but games. Video games, word puzzles, you name it. And they also developed their own secret language around grownups and outsiders. These guys could talk to each other on the bus without anyone else understanding them. It wasn't a complex language, but it was enough to confuse anyone who didn't *get it*.

HTML is simply that type of code language. All you have to remember is that pictures are called img, and the browsers do the rest. But, get any of this code even slightly wrong, and the browser says, *huh?* and you lose.

Nowadays there are all kinds of ways to use HTML without ever really touching the code. You can use a web page editor, like Dreamweaver, or you can use a click-and-build web site builder, or something that is being invented while I write this. But it's good to know HTML. The childish code that was invented back in the nineties will be around for a long, long time. And if you remember terms like *easy-peasy* from your childhood, HTML will make a lot of sense.

Like any childish game, if you miss a step, you are out. Like playing *Captain, may I?*, if you forget to add a special character here or there, it won't work. Those special characters were decided by the young men who invented this game years ago, and it's too late to argue with them. If you want to play this game,  you have to learn their rules.

But they're kid's rules!