Tag Archives: school of webcraft

Challenge #3: Choose Your Weapon

29 Aug

For the third School of Webcraft challenge I was tasked with choosing a text editor. After a brief consultation with the remarkable tables in the Wikipedia article on the subject, I downloaded both Notepad++ and ConTEXT. After typing out a couple little html documents — from memory, thanks repetitive writing exercise! —  I ran both in Chrome.

hello world

I may have been a little preoccupied by cupcakes.

Below are the highlights of my observations about text editors. Keep in mind these are all provisional observations. If you’re more experienced with these programs, you might want to interject “well, that can all be changed in settings!” or “of course it does that, why wouldn’t it!” but I’m bringing the gift of ignorance here. I want to see how intuitive the programs are, how quickly I can figure out how to do stuff without looking it up.

  • ConTEXT highlights errors more intuitively
    • To my mind red = error, which seems true in ConTEXT
    • Notepad++ put “charset” in red, which I thought meant I’d done something wrong when i hadn’t
  • ConTEXT scrolled through my Items when I pressed backspace once
    • Going with the Harry Potter wand analogy, this is like sparks shooting out of my wand when I was trying to levitate a feather. I may someday want sparks, but having them happen unexpectedly is startling, and I don’t want to be startled
  • Notepad++ looks cleaner
  • Notepad++ made it clearer how to run my code in a browser
  • Notepad++ highlights tag pairs
  • Notepad++ lets you collapse text
    • This is a main advantage of Notepad++ according to Wikipedia. I can’t yet imagine personally having such a big chunk of code that I need to hide parts of it, but it does seem useful generally.

On the whole, i decided to stick with Notepad++, at least for now.

After reading through other students’ comments, I realized I wanted the option of a Live Preview. It’s been exciting to move beyond the What You See Is What You Get* kind of website creation that, say, WordPress usually provides me, but it was tedious to resave and reload my html document each time I wanted to see how I was changing things.  After a bit of quick searching, I found this Preview HTML plug-in that provides exactly that for Notepad++. It seems to work quite well.

All told, not bad for someone who started out thinking that “text editor” was synonymous with “word processor.” I rewarded myself with a delightful cupcake from Pushkin’s bakery. Mmm, learning is tasty.

Although it was vegan and gluten-free

Don’t worry, I did get my cupcake.

* All-knowing Wikipedia says the acronym WYSIWYG is pronounced whizzy-e-wig. Really?