I've written before about Noah's interest in Lugaru and his ability to get himself taken seriously by fellow geeks on game development message boards. Earlier this week someone he knows on the Lugaru message board suggested he create a FanSite for the game. He took the suggestion to heart -- his wheels began turning.
Noah is no stranger to websites. For a couple of years he's been doing rudimentary website work using PostNuke's content management system that I set up for him and his siblings for their Euwy World website. He also started a blog a couple of months ago. But that type of web publishing relies on a user interface which makes the process awfully user-friendly. There are ready-made templates and you just insert your content and click a few things. When it came to actually understanding the code that was behind the formatting and templates, Noah was as much in the dark as most of the rest of internet users.
So two days ago he told me that he thought he would like to run with his buddy's suggestion and create a Lugaru FanSite from scratch, "not like a blog -- building it the way I want, from nothing." And I was suddenly really grateful for all the HTML-based web-publishing I've done over the past decade and a bit. I knew that working with the HTML code would come easily to Noah, and I knew I'd be able to help him over most stumbling blocks.
We looked for a simple HTML editor with a built-in browser preview and downloaded EasyHMTL, a piece of bare-bones freeware. I took about 5 minutes to explain to him basic coding of tables and to type in a generic image tag and parameters. I showed him a couple of tricks (eg. temporarily setting a table border of 1, so you can see your cells outlined) and headed off to make supper.
By this morning he had a functional website called Rocky Hall ("Rocky Hall is sort of the White House of Lugaru" he tells me). He's cribbed some of the text content from elsewhere, but still... I'm amazed. He had absolutely no help on the graphics, or on the menu organization, and only 15 or 20 minutes of help, total, with the HTML and file management. If he could only have seen my first attempts at HTML-based website publishing!