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Getting started with HTML

All web pages are written in Hyper Text Markup Language. There just isn't any other option. In the long run, you will probably want to learn at least some HTML; But to begin with, you will probably find it easier to use one of the many HTML Editors available. They come in two basic flavors. No, not chocolate and vanilla. <wink>

Most beginners prefer WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors. These are almost as easy as using your word processor. You design your page in a standard browser screen, and the program saves it as HTML. Straight HTML editors use tabs or buttons to insert the tags and syntax that convert plain text to a web page. A few programs are hybrids that combine some features of each.

You may already have an HTML editor on your computer. Many desktop publishing programs contain web creation software. Browsers such as Netscape and Internet Explorer sometimes include a lite version of their respective WYSIWYG editors: Netscape Composer and FrontPage, or a program such as Trellix. Do a little browsing on your own hard drive. You may be pleasantly surprised. If nothing turns up, here are some other options:

FreePages Online File Manager and Editor - If you have a FreePages account, you can use the Online Editor to create a either a basic page or create more complex designs using WYSIWYG Edit. The Basic Page template is a quick and easy way to create your first web page. As a bonus, this editor will automatically upload your page to your Freepages account  when you save it.

Arachnophilia - CareWare (free). This HTML editor has a built-in browser that will display real time changes to the HTML; or you may change the view to any browser installed on your computer. Includes a beautify/analyze html feature that helps to find missing or out-of-sequence tags. If you're not quite ready to start writing your own HTML, but want to learn more about it, this program can help. I happily used version 4.0 for several years. I have not tested v5.x, but the author says it is now Java based and will run on all platforms.

Frontpage Express - A lite version of Microsoft's WYSIWYG editor..

NoteTab Light - Freeware. A slimmed down version of NoteTab Pro. This is a NotePad replacement and a capable HTML editor. You select tags from a menu of icons, much as you would in a word processor. Its Find and Replace feature is great for making site-wide changes.

KompoZer - an open source web development tool created with the aim of eliminating bugs and writing valid code which will display uniformly in any standards-compliant browser.  Includes a Cascading Style Sheet Editor and access to the W3C Validator.  While not as intuitive as some of the basic editors, if you are thinking about upgrading your site to use CSS, this stand-alone tool can take much of the pain out of the process.

WYSIWYG editors write HTML code as they have been programmed to do.  If you open an existing page using a WYSIWYG editor, your carefully hand-crafted code may be rewritten to conform to the programmer's idea of what the code should be.

Me, Learn HTML??

You don't have to learn HTML to create a web page, but it sure helps. WYSIWYG editors are marvelous tools that will create a web page quickly and easily. Eventually, however, you'll find you want more control over your website design and content than they allow. Just a little knowledge of HTML will give you that additional control. Each of these tutorials takes a slightly different approach. Some are more complete than others and some include additional references you may find useful.

VERY Basic HTML - I have to recommend my own page, don't I? Limited to the fundamentals of HTML, it's a good place to start, especially if you only want to do a little tweaking to pages created by your WYSIWYG editor.

Writing HTML - written by teachers, for teachers. Elsi's favorite.

So, you want to make a Web Page! - A humorous approach to writing HTML.

Create it~101, Step by Step Home Page Creation - includes a color chart, and links to graphics libraries.

HTML Tutorials for the Complete Idiot - This one is recommended as very easy to understand.

The Bare Bones Guide to HTML - all the tags that current browsers are likely to recognize. Handy to print out and keep near your keyboard while editing your pages.

Odds and Ends

Color Picker - Joe Barta's tool for selecting background and font colors.

HYPE's Color Specifier for Netscape v.3 - another background color picker. Some nice pastel colors here.

ColorMaker - Choose colors for background, text and links, and see how your choices will appear on a web page. Creates a BODY tag using your selections to paste into your HTML.

Where did my files go? - Can't find those files that your program created? Read this.

Pat's Web Page Tutorials
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