HTML: Handwriting or Book Printing?

Is HTML like handwriting or like book printing? I can’t decide.

If it’s like book printing, then writers complete their manuscript and, after it’s edited and polished, send it off to be “published.”

But this seems wrong to me because not being able to layout pages or make links as casually as I jot notes on paper for a post like this one makes me feel like my students trying to handwrite an exam.

My students haven’t really learned how to write efficiently by hand. They keyboard. So anytime they have to write by hand, they are handicapped, and what they write in these situations expresses not what they know or can figure out or can imagine, but instead, what they can write down in the available time.

So here’s the question: if HTML is like handwriting, how do you “learn to write” when you have a real job and real work to do?

What is the book you turn to to learn something more than syntax or to find something more than a dictionary of available commands? Which book says “To make workable, modern pages, you should know this and think of your page (or site) in this way?”

Or is the answer just “Learn DreamWeaver or Flux”?