Practicing the progressive steps will result in an independent craftsman, able to make ‘things’ out of ‘nothing’ in his simple shop. excerpt from Alexander G. Weygers’ book, The Modern Blacksmith

My career as a software engineer started as a sophomore in high school, being fascinated with the idea that I could create a program to run on a computer using Visual Basic 6. I had been programming on the TI-83+ for quite some time, but it had not quite settled in that what I was really doing was making “something out of nothing.”

During my junior year of high school, I learned I was able to create my very own website with Yahoo! GeoCities which simply blew my mind; I thought websites could only be had by large corporations!

As time went on, I played with Netscape Communicator, learning how to build and link web pages on an offline computer and eventually discovered My Personal Web Server on a Windows 98 installation CD. It somehow included a help file containing a basic rundown of Classic ASP which I could relate to because it was essentially Visual Basic for your web browser.


To illustrate my overall experience, take a look at the following file:






Um, okay...

Pretty straightforward, right? It's empty! That's what Windows Notepad (my then primary code editor) looks like when you open it for the first time.


Now, start typing into this blank document:

<html>
    <head>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h1>My First Web Page</h1>
    </body>
</html>

I have no idea what I'm doing...

Nothing too crazy. But here's where the magic happens.

If you save this plain text file using any valid HTML filename extension (i.e. my-first-page.html), it changes the way your computer behaves when opening it.


Next, find this file and open it (i.e. double-click):

Screenshot of "My First Web Page"

Wait, what just happened? Where's my editor? Hey, that's my web browser! Is this a web page?!? No way!!!

There you have it. You've just made something (a web page) out of nothing (an empty file).


Soon, I learned I could change background and foreground colors:

<html>
    <head>
    </head>
    <body style="background-color: blue; color: #fff;">
        <h1>My First Web Page</h1>
    </body>
</html>

My First Web Page


…add images:

<html>
    <head>
    </head>
    <body style="background-color: blue; color: #fff;">
        <h1>My First Web Page</h1>
        <p>
        This is my dog, Rufus:<br />
        <img src="images/rufus.png" alt="Picture of my dog Rufus" />
        </p>
    </body>
</html>

My First Web Page

This is my dog, Rufus:
Picture of my dog Rufus


…and eventually build forms (which became my segue into server-side languages):

<html>
    <head>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h1>Contact Form</h1>
        <form action="contact.asp" method="POST">
          <p><input type="text" name="Name" placeholder="Name" /></p>
          <p><input type="email" name="E-mail Address" placeholder="E-mail Address" /></p>
          <p><textarea rows="5" cols="40" name="message" placeholder="Your message..."></textarea></p>
          <p><button type="submit">Send Message</button></p>
        </form>
    </body>
</html>

Contact Form


Well, before you know it, you’re on your way to navigating the labyrinth of technology and methodologies that contribute to profitable web application development. And it all starts with a blank sheet of paper (Windows Notepad)!

Genesis 1:1-4 reads:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

As his workmanship, created in the image of God, I believe the innate desire to create things comes from God himself. It’s evident in so many areas of even modern life with the advent of Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, the game industry, and endless resources and man hours invested in trying to understand, replicate and even harness (for our selfish gain) the world around us.

I don’t know about you, but when I grow up, I want to be just like my Heavenly Father, the ultimate craftsman.