This Web design course I’m taking at school doesn’t have much in the way of accuracy. In this second workshop, for example, there is a “Spotlight On: Default Pages” sidebar that states (my emphasis in italics):
The Default page is the first page of your Web site that visitors see. This page will most likely contain links to other pages in your site.
Every Web site has a Default or Index page. When you type a Web site address in a browser, it automatically looks for a file called Default or Index. It is important to make sure that the very first page in your Web site has this title, otherwise user’s browsers will not know what page to show first, and your page will not work.
Pay special attention to the italicized phrase, and the sentences surrounding it. Bad grammar aside, it contains a big mistake. The users’ browsers won’t know which page to show first? More like the server won’t know which page to send first. The browser doesn’t care what the default or index page is named; it just wants the file that corresponds to the request. The server’s responsible for telling the browser what to display, not the other way around. The browser just takes what it’s sent and displays it.
Another sidebar in the same section, titled “Spotlight On: Working and Published Files” states (again with my emphasis):
Working and Published Files
In this course you will create and use both working and published files. Let’s make sure you know the difference.
- Working files are Web Dwarf files that are stored in your Working folder. You will use these files to build your pages and make changes later. These are not the files people will see when they visit your site.
- Published files are HTML documents stored in your Published folder. These files will go on a server for people to view through a browser. These files can’t be edited. If you want to make changes, you’ll have to edit your working files and then republish them.
WHAT?!?!?! HTML files can’t be edited without going through that idiotic Web Dwarf program?! What are they teaching?! The files generated by Web Dwarf (or, as I’ve dubbed it, Web Dumbo) may be highly complex, utilizing paragraphs of inline CSS and absolute positioning, but they can be edited with any text editor on the planet. This crazy notion that HTML files can only be created and edited by programs is an absurd thing to teach. I’ve written entire websites in Notepad++, without ever touching a WYSIWYG editor. And the pages were smaller for it.
The code Web Dwarf generates is monolithic. An “Invitation” page that was supposed to contain an image, a title, and a short info section, all about 1 kb of markup, turned out to be more than twice that, with two images. Why? The program converts the title elements into images. Which makes it even harder to edit the page.