July 24, 2014

Why You Should Not Learn HTML

It pains me a great deal to write this post, since at one point I advocated that librarians learn HTML, and not just as a lark. I was quite serious, and I even wrote a book to help librarians learn how to do it. The sales figures for that book should have been a clue. You weren’t going to to do it. You didn’t do it. You didn’t do it in droves. But that’s OK, since I’m now over my pitiful delusion. I get it now.

Don’t learn HTML. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some of you who should — most notably anyone writing software — but the vast majority of you can die in ignorant bliss some decades from now, having never understood the difference between a “class” and an “id” CSS selector. Not that you need the additional incentives, but let me go ahead and spell it out for you:

  • Nearly all of it is now done via software, which you don’t know how to write. Let’s be clear. Despite my early belief that virtually anyone who entered the profession after, say, 1990 should have learned computer programming, that’s clearly just me. Many of you have entered the profession without such background, and are doing just fine, thank you very much. I was wrong. Plenty of you can be very successful without such knowledge, by providing lots of added value in many other, just as important, ways. So unless you know how to write software, these days you mostly don’t need to know how to code HTML. Lucky you.
  • Others do it better. I’ve created more web sites than most people invite over for Thanksgiving dinner. And yet I still can’t do it better than people who really know what they’re doing. I can’t. Go to a site like Wix.com and inside of an hour or so you will have a web site up and running that is much better than I ever could have done for you. I mean, seriously. It makes me weep to say this, but it’s true.
  • Even when you do it, you do it in really weird ways. My workplace has a wiki. Perhaps yours does too. A wiki is a clusterf&$k. What it does is make everyone who knows nothing start from scratch to learn how to mark up something using their proprietary (and never repeated) markup syntax. What it also does is make everyone who knows everything start from scratch and learn how to mark up something using their proprietary markup syntax. Joy.
  • It is a dead-end: it will give you nothing you really need. Read the above. If you do not intend to write software, or be employed as web lackey, then learn something else.

So does all of this mean I am taking back much of what I have said to young librarians just entering the profession? Not on your life. I continue to believe that the more skills you have, the better off you are. If you can be an awesome story-telling, PHP-coding, book-club-organizing, metadata-wonking, you-name-it librarian, then the world is, uh, your oyster. More power to you. But will I insist that everyone learn HTML? No, that ship has passed in the night, even if it had ever been destined for port. Carry on. There’s nothing to see here.

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Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.

Comments

  1. Hooray! Does this mean we can also skip learning Drupal?

  2. I haven’t actually created a website for a decade, but my html knowledge comes in handy quite often. For example, customizing our Innovative OPAC or tweaking the header on our SFX journal A-Z pages etc.

    But you’re right – a professional will almost always do a better job.

    It’s like all the Linux I’ve picked up over the years – enough to be dangerous.

  3. On a similar note with a different point of view: http://www.code.org/.

  4. Anyone who is curious about why their web stuff doesn’t look quite right should have a basic understanding of HTML tags. Not enough to create a page from scratch, necessarily, but enough to be able to scan the code and spot a tag that’s out of place.

    It’s like driving a car, or talking to one’s doctor–having a basic understanding of the principles makes one an informed consumer. :)

    • Excellent point, Cindi. I agree with Roy that the days of knowing how to code HTML are over for those of us who aren’t creating, developing, or updating web pages every day. (You can continue doing so for the fun factor, if you want.) Nonetheless, the more you understand the basic operating principles of a web page, the better you are at identifying or trouble-shooting problems, and the more informed you are when talking with your web page developer.

    • I agree too – being able to parse a little bit of HTML is important, as is knowing where to go to find out more. You should be able to be your own HTML reference librarian.

    • I heartily agree. I oversaw my library’s website, and would frequently have to go into the code on various articles to find the mistakes the WYSIWYG editor made when someone would mock up a page or an article. Knowing how to scan the code, and being able to identify the tags to see where the problem may lie, is a great skill to have. I wouldn’t know how to code a website from scratch, but I do know how to troubleshoot one.

  5. Great point, Cindi!

  6. If you’re not familiar with the basics of HTML, you won’t understand accessibility, usability, or cross-browser issues.

  7. It’s a good idea to have programming/coding skills PERIOD. I mostly self-taught myself HTML and CSS to build a page for my Library. Does it look as good as the Coding guru’s that have been working their magic for years? NO. But I continue to learn about web design and add more coding skills to my “toolbox” every day. You never know when your Library Supervisor will need you to take on new responsibilities. Having these skills can only help. New technologies are growing and changing everyday. Personally, I believe All new Librarians should invest some time to learn HTML and other coding languages.

  8. Wow. Odd advice from an HTML How-To author. Heaven forbid something happens to your CMS site or WYSIWYG interface, which would force you to look at the code, which you wouldn’t be able to make any sense of. Hope this doesn’t happen to any new digital librarian types in front of a tech group, because that would be pretty embarrassing (and you would lose all respect from IT or whatever group you are working with). I don’t know…is learning HTML and CSS so hard, that you need to skip it all together? While basic they are both very powerful and important languages. I think the least a librarian (that is building webpages or online tools) should know is HTML and CSS, because then you can do something, rather than just using “dumbed down” webpages by the numbers CMS. Maybe the author is right? CMS is being implemented in Higher Ed at a very fast pace, but I think it is more a matter of control and getting those without web skills (HTML and CSS) to be content producers.

  9. Hey folks, didn’t you read this? “This isn’t to say that there aren’t some of you who should — most notably anyone writing software…” I get the fact that anyone working with the web should know it, but think about how many staff you have in your libraries and how many of them do serious web work? I mean, really? And then there’s this: “So does all of this mean I am taking back much of what I have said to young librarians just entering the profession? Not on your life. I continue to believe that the more skills you have, the better off you are.” So either what I said applies to you or it doesn’t, and I think we’re all adult enough to figure out which camp we’re in.

    • Touchy, touchy, touchy.

    • Maybe it was the “writing software” thing that threw me. Seems like a mighty high bar. I don’t write software by a long shot, but I’ve found that knowing just a smattering of HTML has come in handy for things like adding a popup link to detailed instructions in the middle of a SurveyMonkey survey, or adjusting the size of a plug-in Flickr slideshow in a wiki or on Weebly without having to go back and do the whole rigmarole in Flickr. I don’t consider what I do to be “writing software,” so maybe that’s just too high a standard?

  10. Knowing how to code a website and knowing basic html so that you can help diagnose issues when helping patrons or interacting with websites are very different things. A working knowledge is, I believe, essential. It is just like I tell my students. I don’t expect you to write all of your citations correctly from scratch, but you should be able to recognize when something looks wonky.

  11. As someone who is the main admin for libguides at my place of work, I beg librarians to learn some html. WYSIWYG editors don’t always (read: ever) work well, and no one heeds the sage advice to convert text to plain text before pasting. If I have to get called from my office one more freakin time because people can’t figure out why certain parts of the text are too big, or a different font, or grey, I will scream. You should at least be able to toggle to html view and delete random, extraneous tags. SRSLY.

    • I absolutely agree with this. WYSIWYG editors generate AWFUL HTML. I hate reading through that stuff, and I feel like it’s a big reason why people feel they can’t understand it — they look at all those inline styles they created when they changed the text to pink and they blanch.

      And I don’t agree that you need to “write software” to know enough HTML to format text properly. HTML is not a programming language, it’s a formatting language.

      Writing software = knowing a serious programming language that includes conditions, loops, and a whole host of other sometimes difficult concepts.
      Writing HTML = knowing a handful (logically named, understandable) tags in order to format some content.

      Saying you need to be able to write software in order to use HTML is like saying that you need to be a professional chef in order to read or write a recipe.

    • PS, for anybody who does want to learn HTML for text formatting, I tried to break it down here with a side-by-side comparison of the input and output here: keokee.com/html

      I am also a little hopeful about markdown or something like that. I realize that there are different varieties (wiki editors usually use a form of markdown) as the author notes, but markdown is more readable than HTML, and a lot more reliable than a WYSIWYG editor.

  12. I’m STILL looking for librarians who know basic html. We use LibGuides and get all reference staff involved in creating them. Yes, we train. Yes, we tell them if they don’t know basic html, DO NOT use the rich text box. They still use the rich text box — and if they don’t know basic html, they can sure mess up a LibGuide!

    These days content creation is paramount — and it’s web-based. All reference and teen librarians should have basic html under their belts.

    Just sayin’…

  13. You are correct when you say that librarians can get by without learning HTML. You are correct when you say that HTML can be generated from easy to use interfaces (though, to be honest, those often mess things up).

    You are also correct when you say that librarians as a whole have resisted learning HTML, even though it’s simple and is one of the most basic Internet-oriented languages. That, though, is just one basic symptom of a larger problem with the state of librarianship today.

    Librarians as a whole ceased to be true information professionals when they refused to learn the underlying technologies that make up the Internet and refused to adapt library data storage formats (ex. MARC) to post-mainframe modern computing. We seriously damaged our own relevance by continuing to complain about having to learn new technologies, and never bringing our field into the 21st century.

    You can get by as a commercial artist without knowing how to make digital versions of your paintings. You can get by as a mechanic without knowing how to work with the computers that most cars come with today. You just have to get other people to do those things for you. Will you be able to get by with not knowing how to do those things in 10 or 20 years? Probably not. Should you be paid as much as people who know how to do things you do AND have learned modern skills? Probably not. Are you the first person people will think of when they need answers in years to come? Probably not.

  14. I’m with Roy, here. I manage websites for a medium-large library system. I am not a librarian, but instead trained in web development.

    It’s definitely important for librarians to be totally comfortable using the web, but I don’t think that requires knowing html. And as a web developer, I have totally failed if the tools I build or implement for internal communication require our staff to know html or some other markup language.

  15. Wilhelmina says:

    I don’t think you made an about face on learning HTML. Learning HTML in 1996 took about two weekends to learn everything there was to know. Now, the standard is much more complex, so it takes far more time and training to really know HTML. The standard changed so much. My impression is that time commitment to nail HTML in 1996 is equivalent to the time commitment to learn just a little today. What’s a little scarey, is that you aren’t saying learn just a little. Oh, I wish people would learn just a little web architecture. It would let many more people effectively use CMSes, to know why the CMS is formatting stuff funny, being able to add links that aren’t broken the moment they are added, and to prevent tragic bottlenecks where 30 seconds to notice a simple error and 30 minutes of work lets a project proceed that’s been stalled for months.

  16. The sentiment that “others do it better, so why bother?” is perhaps the most disappointing part of this article. Naturally (most) computer programmers and professional web developers can “do HTML better,” but librarians offer a unique perspective and set of skills. Not only is it the case that many (most?) libraries cannot afford to have a full-time (part-time? any time?) programmer on staff, it is also true that librarians are better at anticipating user needs, understanding library-specific resources, and implementing effective solutions within the library context.

    You are correct that librarians can get by without learning HTML, but it is not for the reasons you stated. They can get by without learning HTML for the same reason they can get by without learning MARC…because there are OTHER LIBRARIANS who do know it.

    Not because there are computer professionals who do it better.
    Not because there is software that does it better.
    And not because it’s a passe skill.

  17. Allison says:

    I’m going to have to agree on all points of this article. Why are librarians learning HTML? Why are librarians currently being encouraged to learn how to code? Why should I learn how to code when I’m not going to get paid to be a programmer or when it has nothing to do with my day to day job functions? We don’t ask programmers to learn how to be librarians when they work in the library…why? Because it’s not the job of a programmer to be a librarian. It’s not the job of a librarian to be a programmer or web developer. I didn’t have to learn how to be an author to be a librarian even though I work with books. I shouldn’t have to learn how to be a web developer just because I work with websites.

  18. Sheryl Eldridge says:

    I learned HTML back in the late 90′s, and my skills are still at that level, though I’ve learned to copy and paste cool javascript functions. BUT, as the webmaster for my library, and a volunteer webmaster for several organizations, I don’t think I could do the work to my satisfaction without an understanding of HTML. If a font won’t do what I want when I highlight text and select the desired font, or when a table row or column won’t change when I try to drag the border, what do I do? I go to a text editor and find the problem and fix it. One of the pages I work on is built in GoDaddy, which inserts new tags whenever a change is made, and they do not nest properly. It’s hard work deleting all the junk, but at least the page ends up looking the way I want.

  19. Just for the sake of clarity, HTML isn’t programming. It’s a markup language that is used to format a web page. To add conditional logic and such requires adding in JavaScript, a server based script, etc. Comparing HTML to actual programming is like comparing library jargon to English – one is extremely limited and for use in particular situations (and can be learned quickly), while the other is a full language that takes much longer to master.

  20. >We don’t ask programmers to learn how
    >to be librarians when they work in the library…why?

    All of my staff – including my IT guy – do a lot of the same work as my librarians. They may answer reference questions, recommend books, etc. Everyone spends time working at the circulation desk. I am a big fan of cross-training.

    When I have open positions, an applicant who has IT skills above that of a standard “power user” is going to get a second look. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will get hired over someone without those skills, but it will generally get them an interview. I consider solid customer service skills and IT knowledge to be valuable for any library worker to have, no matter what their position in the library. IT skills build on themselves, and people who have made the effort to learn them generally have the easiest time learning new technologies quickly.

    To me, the biggest issue is not whether to learn HTML or not. It’s having the willingness and desire to learn new skills that allow you to better serve your patrons. Since we live in a world that is more and more computerized, anyone claiming to be an “information professional” will necessarily have to possess basic computer skills that patrons may not have. Computers, cell phones, and other “connected devices” are an important part of life for a large part of the populace. They are becoming the primary means of access to information these days. “Information professionals” who aren’t comfortable with them can’t really lay claim to that title.

  21. I’m not sure if LJ’s website will let me put a link in a comment, but if so: This, Roy Tennant, THIS. :) (also noting that if I didn’t know basic HTML, I would not have been able to put a link there. If LJ doesn’t strip it out. See below if it does.)

    Particularly: “Some librarians need to learn how to code and pick up one or more programming languages, but most librarians don’t. And while most librarians might not need to learn how to code, all librarians should understand the basic principles and foundations of coding, if only so that they can better communicate with those who do learn and apply programming languages.”

    If that link doesn’t stick, look up the post titled “Is coding an essential library skill?” on Lane Wilkinson’s blog “Sense and Reference,” at senseandreference at wordpress dot com.

    • Cindi, Lane Wilkinson and I agree. But (software) coding and HTML are two different things, as Jesse pointed out. I am talking about HTML, and I can explain the “basic principles and foundations” of HTML and CSS in about an hour, whereas not so much with writing software.

  22. Allison says:

    I clearly understand that programming and web development are two different things. I distinguished the two clearly, by using the terms “programmer” and “web developer” in my response. I know HTML and CSS, as well as have a graphic design background. I also am in a college level course learning C at the moment. The point I was trying to get across was that learning either is not essential for a librarian because librarians are not trained professionals in those fields. Not to mention, HTML is rarely ever used by itself anymore when creating webpages. So should librarians learn CSS as well? PHP? Javascript? Where does it end? When do I ever need to learn HTML to serve my patron better? If a patron is looking at a website and it is full of errors, I can’t correct that webpage anyway. I would say to the patron the same thing as my colleagues with no HTML understanding. When would I ever need to use programming skills to help serve a patron? I couldn’t possibly troubleshoot a program with my limited understanding of C. Learning the basics is just that, the basics. This is not the job of the librarian. We hire our IT people, who have probably gone through just as much schooling as we have to learn these languages and technologies, for that very reason.

    I’m clearly willing to learn new technologies, but not because I use it on the job daily or even monthly, but because I enjoy it. I argued the points about the programmers as well because there seems to be no end in sight to what librarians are being asked to do that is technically outside of the field. Learn to code. Learn to market ourselves. Learn to create webpages. I understand the necessity of learning to use e-book readers, learning about e-book technology, and learning how to navigate the web. There are some technologies that are essential for librarians to learn because they will ACTUALLY use them on the job. But honestly, I think learning HTML (or programming languages) is a step too far and unnecessary in most instances unless it is part of your job description and was a condition of hire.

  23. I think is great that this post generated so many comments. Most of my posts do not, so it’s good to every once in a while strike a nerve. It’s clear there are a lot of opinions on this subject, and many of them strongly held. I wonder how much are opinions are colored by our own learning journey? My guess is quite a bit.

  24. >Not to mention, HTML is rarely ever used by
    >itself anymore when creating webpages. So
    >should librarians learn CSS as well?

    Yes. HTML can be taught in a few hours. Someone who knows HTML can learn the essentials of CSS in even less time.

    >PHP?

    Not necessarily. Languages (script or compiled) take a lot more time to learn, and aren’t needed as much as HTML (when it comes to most librarians).

    >Javascript?

    It wouldn’t hurt, especially when you consider how many web pages are driven by it.

    >Where does it end?

    That depends on the individual and changes in technology. Knowledge and skill acquisition should be an ongoing pursuit for librarians (and any other professionals). There should never be a point in any professional career where you no longer need to work on acquiring new skills.

    >When do I ever need to learn HTML
    >to serve my patron better?

    Understanding the underlying structure of web pages can be useful in many ways. For example, there have been numerous times when I have popped open the HTML on a web page when helping patrons with printing issues or to help them locate the real source of text/images that are being dynamically pulled into a page.

    >I argued the points about the programmers
    >as well because there seems to be no end in sight
    >to what librarians are being asked to do that is
    >technically outside of the field.

    I would argue that it should not be outside the field. It should have been part of librarianship for a few decades now. That’s why we’re so far behind.

    >Learn to market ourselves.

    Marketing is an essential part of most professions. Libraries have just done a really poor job of it in the past. It’s not hard to learn. Small to mid-size libraries generally don’t have enough money to hire a marketing professional, so there’s a good chance that any librarian might eventually need those skills.

    Drawing isn’t an essential skill, but I took a class the other day to help me figure out how to build a good children’s program around it. I had to learn basic construction/architecture terminology and concepts when they expanded our library. I learned basic sound editing (not my favorite thing to do) so I could more effectively create pre-recorded soundtracks and noises for puppet shows. If the librarian who runs the sewing/quilting program in our library ever retired or left, I would learn how to do that so I could keep the club going.

    There are a lot of people out there who think that a degree and a few years working in a library are all that is needed. You can get by that way, but there are all sorts of opportunities and new ways to serve patrons that require additional skills to obtain. I rarely hear librarians complain about needing to learn skills for children’s programs. I think a lot of this boils down to librarians (in general) simply not liking technology very much. That’s not a good reason to avoid acquiring some new skills, particularly since HTML and CSS are so incredibly simple.

  25. Jesse said:
    “Yes. HTML can be taught in a few hours. Someone who knows HTML can learn the essentials of CSS in even less time.” …”particularly since HTML and CSS are so incredibly simple.”

    Absolute bogus. Semantic HTML cannot be learned in a few hours-especially HTML 5 which will be the absolute standard soon. CSS takes years to master. Even web designers after years of using CSS know there is still more to learn. Web design is an art. It cannot be learned in a few hours or even through one course. Anyone who tells you differently does not know what they are talking about.

    As it pertains to Libraries. Look how many job postings are for Emerging Technologies Librarians or Systems Librarians. So many job postings ask a Librarian to have some web coding skills. Our profession has rapidly changed. Do us as Librarians necessarily agree with having to learn these new skills? Maybe yes/Maybe no. But Why do you think most LIS programs incoporate Information Sciences courses. A Librarian does not have to learn web design. This I agree with. But it can really be a plus for adding new skills and expanding your career options in a volatile job market.

    • I’m not sure I agree with your statement that HTML and CSS take years to learn. I learned HTML and CSS in 2004-2005 as a college student. CSS was over my head at first because my instructor was not able to explain it. However, now I can break the basics down for ordinary patrons in two hours on HTML and CSS. Sure, I then point them to resources, but at the end of the session, they’re able to build a web page, change the text, add images, and link to other pages.

      After that point, I think it’s a matter of getting familiar with what’s out there design-wise, plan out what you want to do, and then hit the ground several times as you learn to fix HTML/CSS issues. I enjoy fussing with code, but I acknowledge that it takes someone detailed oriented who enjoys tinkering to code.

  26. >Absolute bogus. Semantic HTML cannot be
    >learned in a few hours-especially HTML 5 which
    >will be the absolute standard soon.

    My understanding is that we were talking about basic HTML, which can easily be taught in a few hours. I have taught a lot of HTML and CSS classes before, and the vast majority of students were able to understand the essence of it within a relatively short time.

    HTML 5 will take most people a bit longer to learn, but it’s still not as complex as actual programming.

    >CSS takes years to master.

    No, it doesn’t. You can be up and running with functional CSS after a couple of hours of study. If you have some HTML and web design experience, you can delve pretty deep into it with a few days of study and practice. Nobody here is saying that you have to know every single little thing in HTML or CSS.

    >Even web designers after years of using
    >CSS know there is still more to learn.
    >Web design is an art. It cannot be learned
    >in a few hours or even through one course.
    >Anyone who tells you differently does not
    >know what they are talking about.

    I was a corporate programmer/database administrator/web designer for 10 years. I have done work on the Cartoon Network website, JCPenneys, The Dallas Stars, The Texas Rangers, Whole Foods Market, and probably a good hundred more over the years. I have taught many, many dozens of classes on HTML, CSS, and web design to raw beginners over the years. It’s not difficult to get someone to a basic level of competency within a few days. That doesn’t mean they will be professionals and not need to keep a book next to them, but they can at least do the basics. If they continue to learn new things here and there, they can pick up a lot in a very short period of time.

    • Mike said “CSS takes years to MASTER”. He did not say it takes years to “grasp the basics”.

      Being able to understand a foreign language that’s being spoken slowly by a compassionate friend is much different than being able to speak it fluently.

  27. Well, as a librarian who learned html in library school I would agree it’s not necessary. Most librarians I know don’t know html. But every time I work with some application that is using html, (i.e. WordPress, MailChimp, etc.) I’m sure glad I understand how to tweak it.

  28. I did not study HTML in school but I have a basic understanding so that I can tweak my site when the html program doesn’t generate code properly and an apostrophe instead appears as if I decided to do a symbol curse mid-word. Or the HTML decides that my one line break should be twenty.

    A basic understanding of HTML is very helpful.

  29. Ashleigh Faith says:

    Acknowledging that most information specialists can use pre-programmed software and tools to aid in the HTML and CSS landscape I believe that in order to be fully cognizant of your platforms and the inner workings of content it is within a professionals best interest to have a cursory understanding. Too often do I speak with fellow professionals who believe that the codification work is “messy” or “not their problem” -essentially working in blissful ignorance to what is going on around them.
    Take the initiative. Understanding all the pieces of the whole will enable you to find better solutions to problems, where enhancements can be made, and most importantly how to work smart and not hard and bring those lessons to the rest of your working relationships.
    This not only addresses learning HTML and CSS but also to learning any number of “messy” topics that are associated with information management.

  30. I’m glad that you’ve come around a bit more to my point of view! Though I suspect that part of your post here may be tongue-in-cheek with that graphic.

    I think Amy’s post about it sums it up:

    “Most librarians I know don’t know html. But every time I work with some application that is using html, (i.e. WordPress, MailChimp, etc.) I’m sure glad I understand how to tweak it.”

  31. if you however still want to learn about how HTML elements work in real-life Web pages, check out webdeconstructor.com – it’s an web-app that let’s you analyse what websites are made from..

  32. Not knowing how to code or not trying to learn is the folly of the 21st Century library and Information Scientist

  33. Scott Steensma says:

    I can see why many Librarians wouldn’t need HTML- but I imagine they rely on other staff in their institutions who know it. I’ve had to learn a little and it’s come in handy making minor edits to online docs- I haven’t needed to call an IT staffer over to spend time on what were minor issues. Maybe a little HTML, rather than a lot would be the sweet spot for most Library staff?

  34. >Mike said “CSS takes years to MASTER”. He
    >did not say it takes years to “grasp the basics”.

    It doesn’t take YEARS to MASTER, either. It’s really not that complex at all, even when you get into the less-used areas of it. HTML5 isn’t really that difficult, either, particularly if you already know basic HTML and have some scripting experience.

  35. Ted drangus says:

    you are an idiot. html isn’t going anywhere. it’s just evolving. This article is discouraging to young kids who might be reading it and thinking they shouldn’t get into it. Sorry your websites blew but you shouldnt go publishing articles discouraging people from learning html. html5 is revolutionizing web interactivity right now. goddamnit you suck

    • I’m puzzled. Did I say HTML was going away? Most assuredly I did not. Did I say that *no one* should learn HTML? Of course not. Did I claim that I do not suck? I am not nearly so arrogant as that. So if you think I have claimed any of those things please go back and re-read this piece. And this time pay attention.

  36. Learn HTML if you want to be a web designer — and especially CSS. However, speaking from a web designer’s point of view, I can say unless you have some necessity to learn design, color schemes, layout, and everything that goes with designing a website, forget trying to do it yourself. Almost every attempt I have seen by a do-it-yourself website program like, WIX, Webbly, GoDaddy website tonight, etc — the results were very amateur — terrible. If all your taste is in your mouth then let a professional design your website.

    Having said that I have on occasion seen a few DIY website that were passable.

    Learning HTML is not necessary but it really helps if you want to sculpt your website like a masterpiece, refine it like a master musician and not like an idiot whistling some ditty from an empty, little head.

    I am tired of people trying to diminish the years of training which true webmaster have invested, and suggesting that anyone can build a website. It’s true, anyone can build a website — that sucks.

    • After reading all these comments, my takeaway is that learning the basics of html is a good idea. Let me ask you this, what would you suggest are the most essential skills for a future library student to be proficient in- Microsoft Office (if so, which programs?), WordPress (?), etc. I am planning on attending a grad program in the Fall and have sometime to start developing skills. I have been reading so much about how librarians really need to be tech savy and I’m curious did these librarians know these skills before going to library school is there anyone out there that had to learn this stuff while on the job? Any advice on what skills I should be building or what blog or website I should be following, please let me know. Your advice on what skills I can be learning know is much appreciated!!!!

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