"We can't help but wonder sometimes if maybe the make-it-look-hard school hasn't played a major role in the steady deterioration of the American diet. "Convenience" foods rule the marketplace and once Madison Avenue has you convinced that they are indeed convenient, what does that make the other foods? Inconvenient, of course..."
The quote above is from The Ultimate Soup Book, by Mary and Mike Spencer.
The concept behind HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is that documents ought to be written in a format that everybody can read. That format ought to be simple, and it ought to work on any machine and OS. The implication of a lot of web development software out there is that web development and the HTML language are difficult, and that there is no way you can do it without assistance, and/or without hundreds of dollars worth of software.
Writing HTML with a text editor actually is easy. Writing with a text editor makes it fairly easy to conform to standards such as XHTML 1. On a PC, Microsoft Notepad is a small, fast, convenient text editor. On Linux, there are almost too many text editors to choose from. Most of them feature syntax highlighting, and automatic code indenting.
The original HTML specification was based on something called SGML, for Standardized General Markup Language. XML, eXtended Markup Language, is a development of SGML.
The concept behind SGML is that you ought to be able to write documents in a portable format. When someone wants to read the document, they run a piece of software called a user agent, which renders it into a form the user can understand.
An SGML document consists of a bunch of functional objects like titles, headings, paragraphs and lists. The author of the document does not worry about formatting. They merely define the functionality of the pieces of document text.
For example, I could write an SGML press release for a variety of user agents. Once of them could display the document on a computer screen in an attractive, rich text format. Another user agent could be a script that runs within Microsoft Word, which prints the document out again in a rich text format, with a company logo. Yet another user agent could render the document into a plain text email. Finally, I can have a user agent that reads the text, and converts it to audio for blind people.
I have created a simple template for new HTML files.