Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) authoring is not programming, and HTML is not a programming language. No specific previous knowledge is required for learning HTML.

An HTML "page" is a plain text document with descriptive codes (markup) inserted into it. This markup includes codes for forming hypertext links which allow you to connect to other sources of information such as other documents, images, sound files and video clips. HTML is platform-independent. This means that HTML documents are portable from one computer system to another.

Once an HTML document has been marked up, many different User Agents can process the document based on its structure. The most common User Agents are, of course, web browsers (Netscape, Explorer, Mosaic, Lynx etc.). But there are other User Agents such as speech devices for the blind, various search engines and spiders, and scripts which create tables of contents or outlines. Each browser determines how a document will be displayed; and they do not each display documents in precisely the same way.

The basic elements of a simple HTML file are:

<TITLE> The title of the document </TITLE>
..the document body consists of text and links to image files
(.gif or .jpg) and to other web documents.


Naming the files of your web site:

Your html (plain text) file-names must end in .html (Macintosh) or .htm (PC). The file name must be without spaces. Browsers are case sensitive in respect to file names and so you must refer accurately to your file names when linking to them from your document. For example, if you are linking to a file named boston.html but type Boston.html by mistake, a browser will not find it.

Note: on your own hard drive when you are testing your pages the browser is sometimes forgiving and will recognize file names even if they are not properly cited. However, once your file is on an Internet Server it will only be recognised when the precisely accurate file name is used.

While browsers are very fussy about file names they are not fussy about the tags used within the html file which can be upper or lower case - or even a mixture!

1. The "front page" of your web site should be named homepage.htm or index.htm

(Mac users use homepage.html or index.html)

2. You should name your files with simple, explanatory names using no spaces and no symbols, just letters and numbers. Hyphens and underscores can be used to separate parts of the file name.
eg. file-name.htm or file_name.htm or filename.htm or filename2.htm etc.

Where should you keep your html files while working on them?

You should keep them in their own folder (directory) on your hard drive. You might call this folder WebSite and keep in it ONLY html and gif files that you plan to use for your online web site.

You should routinely should back your files up onto a floppy disk (or Zip Drive.).

What should you put at the end of each html file?

It is good style to include the date the document was created and/or last updated, and an email address for the author:

Last updated 23 July 1998 by
<A HREF=""> (User's name) </A>

How can you incoporate color on your web pages?

Images have color that is an integral part of the image. You can only control image colors by using special software (applications) designed to accomplish image processing. However, you can color the words of your text or the background of your page.

To color text: the code is placed before and after the words to be colored.

Perhaps you want to have some words in red to draw attention to them. In order to code the word WARNING in your html document so that any browser will display it in red you would code it like this:

<FONT color="red"> WARNING</font> and it will appear like this: WARNING

To color the background of your page: the code is simply inserted into the opening <BODY> tag of your document:

<BODY bgcolor="#FFFFFF">

This will give your page a white background instead of the current browser default which is a light silvery grey

There are sixteen colors that a browser can translate by their actual names:

aqua black blue fuchsia gray green lime maroon
navy olive purple red silver teal white yellow

others must be described with their RGB number where:

"#FFFFFF" = white "#000000" = black "#FF0000" =red
"#0000FF"= bright blue "#ABCDEF" = pale blue "#99CCCC" = light teal

There is an almost infinite number of colors that can be achieved using RGB numbers. This system uses combinations ot the six letters a, b, c, d, e, and f with the ten numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 in sequences of six symbols (a combination of the 6 digits and 10 numerals).

HTML Exercise 1a - text view, ... HTML Exercise 1b - text view

Exercise 1a - browser view, ... Exercise 1b. browser view