I don’t get no respect, to quote a well-known comedian. Have I made a difference in spite of that?
I’ve been reflecting on the success of my book, which I hoped some colleges would use as an instructional text in basic HTML classes. I’m running with some very big name competition in my effort to gain a foothold in this field. There are highly successful people writing about the same thing I’m writing about–Liz Castro’s HTML book has been a best-seller for years, Eric Meyer has published umpteen books so valuable that he has reached deity status in the area of CSS, Molly Holzschlag has written 30 books on this topic, Lynda Weinman is a whole industry unto herself with books, movies, and CDs that top the charts.
All that makes me one little no-name author with a single book, not so much about a technology, but about how that technology should be taught. As a writer, it feels like being in a bike race with Lance Armstrong.
And yet…and yet.
I see changes in the publications coming out in this field now. New books are moving the chapters teaching the deprecated HTML to the back of the book, instead of teaching it first. New books, in addition to mine, are appearing with both HTML and CSS in the title. Molly released one recently. The CSS Hands on Training book from lynda.com is being written by Eric Meyer. Hopefully, that means no more gawd-awful table structures, font tags mingled with inappropriate CSS, and other "Code View" horrors that were the hallmarks of the Dreamweaver Hands of Training books for quite a while. Liz Castro’s last book, a two chapter masterpiece in Peachpit’s Visual QuickProject series, taught HTML and CSS simultaneously.
Does anyone besides me remember that I was a voice in the wilderness saying that’s the way it ought to be done for a long time before things finally began to change? I don’t think so. I think people have decided that it is so obviously the right way to do things that everyone is doing it now because it is obviously right. Okay, I can accept that. I can live with the idea that I don’t get no respect. It is enough to hold on to the knowledge as a secret satisfaction that I made a small measure of difference in the pedagogy of teaching HTML and CSS. When you are as introverted as I am, secret satisfactions do just fine.