I have now been working as a web developer of one type or another since 1997. During this time I have witnessed many huge changes in the field I have chosen as a career. I have also developed my skills into areas I didn't know existed a few short years ago. And some didn't exist when I started working in this field.
My first experience of developing any <html> materials was using Notepad on a Windows PC to develop very simple web pages sometime around 1995. I felt at the time that using a text editor was too restrictive. I didn't want to spend all day typing stuff that didn't even appear on the screen! Why couldn't someone come up with a program like Word that did all the hard work for you.
In 1997 Macromedia produced Dreamweaver 1.0 and I acquired a copy. I thought it was wonderful. I didn't have to worry about all those pesky tags and code. I was free to create anything I wanted to.
Around about this time I had a job working for a company called VK Research developing large, CD based, collections of learning materials in <HTML> I was using Notepad to edit these as they were very simple indeed with hardly anything more complex than a <h1> or <p> tag to be seen. At the same time I produced a site for my local cricket club using Dreamweaver which was far more graphically involved.
On the back of this site I was offered a job at a local college to work on their websites and learning materials. I think one of the other main reasons I was offered the job was I said I didn't like using Front Page at the interview.
For the next three years I used Dreamweaver and nothing else to develop <html> materials. For a long time it was in my Windows start up group. For the majority of this time I did not look at one line of actual <html>. As the only browser the college allowed on its computers was Netscape 4.x I limited my output to work in this browser and nothing else. I trusted Dreamweaver to do all the hard work for me creating all the table based layouts I was working on at the time.
However as I was required to do more an more complex materials I began to find Dreamweaver limiting not liberating. I was forced to implement the interface to one project entirely in Flash as it was not possible to create the desired layouts in <html> that would work in Netscape 4.x. At almost the same time I was introduced to Mozilla by a colleague and began to explore the whole topic of CSS and web standards.
I realised that by using Dreamweaver to produce layouts I was limiting myself to only producing layouts that Dreamweaver could render. After a little hard work I managed to implement the problematical Flash based interface in standards compliant code that Netscape 4.x could render properly. This was my revelation. From that point I stopped using Dreamweaver for writing <html>. The only use I have for it now is it's "clean up MS <html>" feature but as I try to avoid using Word now even that is hardly used.
Also during this period I began to develop server side programming skills. At first I used JSP but when I moved to a new job with Pulse International Publishing as their entire IT department I decided to use PHP as I found it easier to work with.
All my PHP work is hand coded and all my <html> is therefore hand coded as well. The first PHP site I produced for Pulse passed all the relevant W3C and Bobby guidelines without a hitch. I produced a string of "Get Rich Quick" sites for Pulse as well. Most of these were what I termed "low rent". They had to be produced as quickly as possible with very simple designs. I actually used Photoshop to create a mock up page then sliced it in Photoshop to create a table layout and more or less left it at that. Not my best work and not something I am proud of.
Also during the last 3 years I have become a Linux convert (finally)! I use Linux exclusively for development. Another major aid in my technical development has been my choice of text editor. I exclusively us vim / vi on all platforms now. This has all the features any <html> developer would ever need and a great many more she would never even realise are there. The structure vi / vim imposes on a page when editing source code makes life that little bit more tolerable.