On the EDTECH mailing list, I recently offered the following advice to someone asking for a free hosting service for teachers:

Any chance wikispaces or any of the free blogging sites would work? Unless the point is learning HTML, I find that either of these free options are excellent choices. They let the site builder focus on getting a product done rather than the process of producing a site.

That’s because I don’t think you should have to speak HTML to publish to the web.

Not that I always felt this way

I distinctly remember my first website, written about the time inline graphics were all the rage and Mosaic was the web browser. Websites were something for people who wanted to share information. There wasn’t a lot to HTML in those days, so putting a page up was fairly simple. You mostly could create paragraphs, headings, and links.

The early 90s were a lot like today — the learning curve to publishing on the web was relatively flat. I thought you needed to speak HTML, but — and this is important — there was far less to learn.

Somewhere in the late 90s, coding HTML became difficult. CSS styling is way cool, but it makes publishing a nice looking web page something a relative few people can do.

I continued to run my own web server at home and write all my HTML by hand in a text editor. I spent way too much time making the site look nice instead of publishing.

That’s when I gave it up and learned to love the hosted blog.

I realized recently that the point was what I was publishing, not how it was done. (And chances were that someone else could do a better looking job than me, anyhow.)

The problem now is that…

I merely fiddle with different technologies

Technorati tags, RSS readers, and blogrolls are my new HTML, CSS, and div.

So it seems I’ve come full circle, only the acronyms have changed 🙂