Notes on Codecademy “Learn HTML”

Almost seven years ago, I went through several Codecademy courses on web-related topics including their Learn HTML & CSS course, long since retired. The knowledge I learned back then were enough for me to build rudimentary web UI for projects including Sawppy Rover, but I was always aware they were very crude and basic. And my skill level was not enough to pull off many other project ideas I’ve had since. Web development being what they are, seven years is long enough for several generations of technologies to rise in prominence then fade into obscurity. Now I want to take another pass. Reviewing what I still remember and learn something new. And the most obvious place to start is their current Learn HTML course.

As the name made clear, this course focuses on HTML. Coverage of CSS has been split off to its own separate course, which I plan to take later, but first things first. I’m glad to see that basics of HTML haven’t changed very much. Basic HTML elements and how to structure them are still fundamental. The course then moves on to tables, which I had learned for their original purpose and also as a way to hack page layout in HTML. Thankfully, there are now better ways to perform page layout with CSS so <table> can revert to its intended purpose of showing tabulated data. Forms is another beneficiary of such evolution. I had learned them for their original purpose and also as a way to hack client/server communication. (Sawppy rover web UI is actually a form that repeatedly and rapidly submits information to the server.) And again, technologies like web sockets now exist for client/server communication and <form> can go back to just being forms for user-entered data.

The final section “Semantic HTML” had no old course counterpart that I could remember. HTML tags like <article> and <figure> are new to me. They add semantic information to information on the page, which is helpful for machine parsing of data and especially useful for web accessibility. This course covers a few elements, the full list can be found at other resources like W3Schools. I’m not sure my own projects would benefit much from sematic HTML but it’s something I want to make a natural habit. Learning about semantic HTML was a fun new addition to my review of HTML basics. I had originally planned to proceed to a review of CSS, but I put that on hold in favor of reviewing JavaScript.

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