Monday, 7 December 2009

A steam driven geek ...

For some reason, a lot of people seem to think I know what I'm doing on the end of a laptop. A friend of mine even refers to me as her 'tame geek'. Now I can see it may look as though I'm technologically savvy - and I suppose to a limited degree I am. (I certainly am compared to John, who honestly believes he's going to 'break' the computer if he so much as touches it. Hmm. Very convenient ...). But ... although I can put on a fairly convincing show, I'm like the language teacher who's only ever one lesson ahead of her pupils, and what knowledge I have garnered over the years is well past its use by date.

And now my chickens are fast coming home to roost. Over the last eight or nine years, I guess I've created and run some fifteen websites for different purposes, including sites for our restaurant with rooms, a community site to encourage environmental tourism in our old village in north Norfolk, a site for a Ban the (plastic) Bag campaign, a couple devoted to workshops, retreats and therapy, and a networking site for English speakers here in Ariège. Mostly, I've used various versions of Front Page - Microsoft's WYSIWYG web editor which allowed you to create sites without knowing a word of code. Which I didn't, really (see, I told you I was a sham). But to be honest I've been getting more and more dissatisfied with the end result - a kind of 'Front Page' look which while functional can by no stretch of the imagination be described as inspiring. More important even than that, I've slowly realised just how Microsoft-centric the code created by Front Page is - view a FP web site in Firefox or Google Chrome and unless the author has painstakingly hand-edited the code it's usually gobbledegook. W3C compliant it isn't. [Goodness. That almost sounds as though I know what I'm talking about. But don't be fooled ...].

But now the time has come - actually it came a while back, though I ignored it and hoped it might go away - to start putting together some new sites for Grillou. And I have some decisions to make. Like - er - how to go about it. Carrying on with Front Page is a no-no, so do I use an online WYSIWYG website builder? Many of them are distinctly naff; too often their sites have that tell-tale look. And me, follow the crowd? Nah. Too egotistical for that. I could use a Wordpress platform as a base - lots of holiday accommodation owners are doing that now, with good results. That's on the 'possible' list. Or I could pay someone else to do the whole thing for me. That's not on the possible list.

Or (or rather and) I could get down to it and learn to code properly. There. I've said it. I don't want to get into this. I really don't. I've got better things to do - or at least I'd like to have - late at night, which at the moment is usually the only time I have to devote to geeky type pursuits. My heart sinks at the idea. "Why me???" it cries, as it stamps its foot in true drama queen fashion. Trouble is, I've moved from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence, which is not a comfortable place to be, for me at least. And so - deep sigh - there really is no alternative.

I thought, tonight, that if I blogged about this, it might just help my intention along a bit. So here it is. Coding here I come: I've committed myself to following a whole load of online tutorials at the W3Schools, until I know what I'm doing.

That may take some time. I'll be back.

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